Amanda Torres is the founder of the food and health blog, The Curious Coconut. In 2010, Amanda was diagnosed with health issues including obesity, prediabetes, hypertension, and an autoimmune skin condition. After adopting the Paleo Diet, she achieved life-changing results and lost 80 pounds in one year.
In her new cookbook, “Latin American Paleo Cooking,” a collaboration with her mother-in-law Milagros Torres, Amanda shares an adventurous side of Paleo that embraces authentic Latin American comfort foods completely free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar.
“The hardest things in restaurants to avoid are bad oils. Most still cook everything in unhealthy soybean/corn/vegetable/canola oils and hydrogenated trans-fat oils to fry. But some cook only with extra virgin olive oil or even butter. I just have to accept that I’m eating some bad oils when I dine out at most places.
“Since I am seven years into Paleo and making it a sustainable lifestyle, I follow the 80/20 approach. I follow it about 80% of the time and use dining out to allow things like corn and beans in that 20%. I often enjoy a gluten-free bun with my burgers and will eat rice, beans, and corn. Arepas are one of my favorite foods!”
Favorite Local Flavor
“At Beauty Shop I order the Ancho Garlic Charred Beef Carpaccio (hold the cheese) and Maple Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Steak Frites. At Lyfe Kitchen I like the grass-fed burger (lettuce wrapped or with a gluten-free bun) or the Turkey Meatball Martini (hold the cheese) with a side of the sweet potato fries. I dump the meatballs right on top and eat it like pasta.”
“You can have all of the traditional Southern Thanksgiving fixings while following strict Paleo. I’ll be cooking a pastured turkey from Renaissance Farms, giblet gravy (thickened with cassava flour), gluten- and dairy-free green bean casserole (complete with Paleo fried onions on top), sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil and seasoned with cinnamon, and maple bacon roasted Brussels sprouts (on my blog). For dessert, I’ll make the crustless Puerto Rican pumpkin pie from my cookbook and my adaptation of my Grandma’s coconut pie with cassava flour crust.”
Pumpkin Boniato Crustless Pie
Recipe courtesy of Amanda Torres, author of “Latin American Paleo Cooking.”
- 1¾ cups (394 g) mashed boniato, or white or yellow sweet potatoes (use about 1 lb peeled and cubed)
- 1¾ cups (394 g) mashed calabaza squash (from about 1 lb peeled and seeded squash), or a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
- 1½ cups (355 ml) coconut milk
- 4 Tbsp (60 g) unflavored gelatin
- ½ to ²/³ cup (115 to 150 g) coconut sugar
- 1 tsp (2 g) ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp aniseeds
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp fine Himalayan salt
1. Place the peeled and cubed boniato and calabaza in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until all the pieces are fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, place in a mixing bowl, and mash into a smooth consistency. If the boniato is particularly stringy, puree the mixture in a food processor or with an immersion blender until very smooth.
2. Pour the coconut milk in a small pot and gradually sprinkle in the gelatin, whisking frequently until wetted. Do not allow clumps to form. Once all the gelatin is incorporated, heat over medium heat, whisking often, until all the gelatin dissolves smoothly.
3. Combine all the remaining ingredients with the boniato mixture and pour in the coconut milk mixture. Add the sugar gradually and taste the batter until it reaches your desired sweetness. Pour the batter into an 8-inch (20.5-cm) square glass dish. Cover and refrigerate for several hours until set. Serve chilled.
Omit the aniseeds and optionally replace with ½ tsp of ground mace for Autoimmune Paleo.