If you follow a paleo diet, a quick drive-thru dinner isn't an option when you're in a rush. Here are 4 protein-packed meals you can make in under 30 minutes!

It's 5:30 p.m. and you're finally heading out of the office after a long day. The rain is coming down, and the radio says there are two accidents on your route home. Looks like your normal 15-minute commute is about to become 45. This wasn't how you envisioned your night.

On top of that, you still have to make dinner. But since you follow a Paleo-style approach to eating, simply heating up a precooked meal or grabbing a processed bar is out of the question. You may as well take a detour left into the forest and begin hunting your next meal.

Fortunately, there are many Paleo-friendly meals that can be made in the blink of an eye. Here are four protein-packed options to get you (grass) fed in about 30 minutes!

1. Cajun Zucchini Noodle Stew With Shrimp And Sausage

This low-carb stew tastes like your favorite jambalaya, but with all the spicy flavor going on, you won't miss the usual accompanying rice!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 sliced andouille chicken sausage
  • 4 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, undrainded
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • parsley for garnish

Directions

  1. Spiralize zucchini using a spiralizer with a 3-millimiter blade.
  2. Place your zucchini noodles in a colander (set over a large bowl) and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss to coat and let stand so the noodles can release some water.
  3. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add in the Cajun seasoning and garlic and cook until garlic is golden brown and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add in the sliced pepper, onion, and celery, and cook until vegetables are lightly browned and tender, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Reduce the temperature to medium, and add in the sliced chicken sausage. Cook until the sausage is slightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Stir until the tomato sauce has broken down into the sauce. Raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
  7. Once boiling, reduce the heat back to medium and let simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about half, about 10 minutes.
  8. Add in the shrimp, cover the pan, and cook until the shrimp is opaque, about 2-3 minutes.
  9. Squeeze out as much moisture from the zucchini noodles as you can, and then pat dry on a paper towel.
  10. Divide the zucchini noodles between two bowls, then divide the stew on top of them. Garnish with fresh parsley, and devour.

Nutrition Facts

  • Serving size: 1 bowl
  • Recipe yields: 2 bowls
  • Calories: 285
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Carbs: 18 g
  • Protein: 22 g

2. Mason Jar Chicken Taco Salad

This healthy taco salad recipe is the perfect stress reliever after a long day of work. Prepping bigger batches takes almost no extra time, providing delicious dinners for days to come. Even made days ahead of time, these spicy salads won't get soggy!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small avocado
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup onions, roughly chopped
  • 2-4 cups fresh spinach
  • juice from 1 large lime
  • 1 cup salsa of choice
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp whole cummin seed
  • salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken breast until slightly browned and no longer pink on the inside. Set aside in a small bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and heat at medium-high heat. Cook the carrots until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium and add in the pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook until soft.
  4. While the veggies cook, place the cumin seeds in a small, dry pan over medium-high heat and toast them, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, about two minutes. Transfer them to a cutting board and crush. I use the bottom of a glass, which works really well.
  5. Add the crushed seeds into the pan with the veggies and season with salt. Mix well, and turn off the heat.
  6. Scoop avocado into a small food processor, add the lime juice, and blend until smooth and creamy. You can also just mash them together in a bowl.

Assembly Instructions

  1. Place 1/2 cup of salsa in the bottom of each jar, spreading evenly. Gently spread the avocado/lime mixture on top. Then, add in the cumin and roasted veggies, followed by the chicken. You may need to lightly press everything in to get it all to fit.
  2. After the chicken, add the chopped tomatoes, and then the cucumbers. Finish off by dividing the cilantro and then as much spinach as you can stuff in there!
  3. Seal and refrigerate until ready to devour.

Nutrition Facts

  • Serving size: 1 salad
  • Recipe yields: 2 salads
  • Calories: 464
  • Fat: 23 g
  • Carbs: 36 g
  • Protein: 34 g

3. Mango Chicken With Coconut Cauliflower Rice

This simple-to-make, low-carb mango chicken is served over coconut cauliflower rice. With a little fresh ginger and habanero, it packs a flavorful punch!

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2.5 tsp coconut oil
  • 1.5 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp habanero pepper, minced (optional)
  • 3/4 cup 100% orange mango juice
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp tapioca flour

Chicken Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 8 oz chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Cauliflower Rice Ingredients

  • 3 cups cauliflower
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

Garnish Ingredients

  • 1/2 large mango, cubed
  • cilantro to taste, roughly chopped
  • green onion to taste, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Sauce Directions

  1. Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add in the ginger, garlic, and habanero pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the juice and coconut aminos. Raise the temperature to high heat, and bring to a boil. While liquid is boiling, place the tapioca flour in a small bowl.
  3. Once the liquid comes to a boil, add 2 teaspoons of it to the bowl with the tapioca flour and whisk until smooth. While stirring constantly, pour the tapioca mixture into the sauce and boil for 2 minutes.
  4. After the sauce has boiled, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce reduces by about 1/4 and becomes shiny, about 6-7 minutes.
  5. Transfer sauce to a large bowl to let it cool and thicken while you make the chicken.

Chicken Instructions

  1. Place the tapioca flour in a large Ziploc bag. Cut the chicken into cubes, season it with salt and pepper and add it into the bag, shaking until evenly coated in the flour.
  2. In a medium pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Place half of the chicken into the pan, being careful not to crowd it, and cook until golden and browned, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and repeat.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a paper-towel-lined plate, and blot off any excess oil. Repeat with the remaining chicken. If the chicken starts cooking too quickly, turn the heat down slightly.
  4. While the chicken cooks, place the cauliflower in a large food processor and process until broken down and rice-like.
  5. Heat the 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and add the cauliflower and coconut flakes. Cook until lightly golden, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 2-4 minutes.
  7. Transfer the chicken and mango cubes into the bowl with the sauce and toss until evenly coated.
  8. Divide the chicken and cauliflower between two plates and garnish with cilantro, green onion and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

  • Serving size: 1 bowl
  • Recipe yields: 2 bowls
  • Calories: 591
  • Fat: 31 g
  • Carbs: 43 g
  • Protein: 36 g

4. Orange Beef Stir-Fry Sweet Potato Noodles And Kale

This orange beef stir-fry is packed with healthy carbs, green, and protein. And it can all be on your plate in under 30 minutes!

Stir-Fry Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2.5 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 0.5 lb top sirloin steak, cut into bite-sized pieces

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup 100% orange juice
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp honey
  • 6-8 cups kale
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Spiralize the sweet potato using the 3-millimeter-blade spiralizer.
  2. Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons of the coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add in the potato noodles and cook until they just begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes. Place into a bowl and cover to keep warm.
  3. Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in the pan over medium heat, and add in 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger. Cook until the ginger is lightly browned and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the steak and cook until it reaches desired doneness. Drain the fat and place into a bowl. Cover it to keep warm, and set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients except the kale and toss into the pan. Turn the heat up to high, and boil the sauce until it just begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Turn the heat down to medium and toss in the kale. Cook until the kale begins to wilt.
  7. Divide the noodles and steak between two dishes and top with the sauce and kale mixture. Devour!

Nutrition Facts

  • Serving size: 1/2 recipe
  • Recipe yields: 2 servings
  • Calories: 546
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Carbs: 65 g
  • Protein: 38 g

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