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It’s sometimes difficult to entertain family and friends when we are either following a PALEO OR WHOLE30 DIET or maintaining this philosophy as a lifestyle.  Cooking PALEO or WHOLE30 meals may not please your wheat-fettish friends. 

Until now.  I’ve put together a list of pasta and noodle recipes that are sure to please your family and friends and leave them feeling completely satisfied that they’ve enjoyed a bowl of pasta or noodles. They will experience that ‘al dente’ comfort food feeling at the end of the meal. I’ve included wine notes.  I’m sure they will want a glass or two with their meal. 

Here are some pasta and noodle dishes to keep you going on your PALEO or WHOLE30 regime:

This is a delicious Thai dish that tastes as though you’re not on a Paleo or Whole30 diet at all.  The noodles are dense and chewy like udon noodles. 

Wine Partner: While this Pad Thai is balanced in its taste sensations, the most predominant sensation that must be considered is sweetness if you are sipping wine.  That’s because any sweetness in a dish will clash even with the most lovely acidity, turning it into paint thinner.  The acidity becomes offensive.  So it’s important with this dish that you choose a wine partner with a hint of sweetness to match.  And make sure the wine is sweeter than the sweetness in this dish or the acid will change in flavour.  An off-dry rose or late harvest wine like Riesling or Gewurztraminer is ideal.   

This is a tasty and hearty cold salad with PALEO & WHOLE30 compliant ham and dense, chewy pasta noodles.  These noodles will give you that ‘al dente’ satisfaction with any cold pasta salad.

Wine Partner: Cold salads demand a chilled wine.  You can go with a white or light, fruity red meant to be chilled for an hour in the refrigerator before serving.  The tastes and flavours of this salad require a wine with a hint of sweetness to offset the bite of Dijon and saltiness of the ham.  Choose an off-dry rose.  This is a cold salad, so don’t spend a fortune on a bottle of wine.  An easy-drinking quaffer will work, as long as it has that hint of sweetness.  The hint of sweetness in the wine will also add some viscosity, and therefore weight, to the wine to pair nicely with the density of the grain-free pasta.

I love this PALEO & WHOLE30 recipe.  The sauce maintains its very fresh flavour like the tomatoes are right off the vine. The predominant taste sensations of this dish are tanginess (due to the tomatoes) and saltiness (from the capers).

Wine Partner: This recipe requires a wine with good acidity to match the tomatoes and lemon and to offset that lovely saltiness. Choose a crisp, dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc. The wine’s acidity will match the tanginess of tomatoes. This same acidity will also nicely offset the saltiness of capers. If you do desire red, choose a light, fruity red meant to be chilled for at least a half-hour in the refrigerator. Pinot Noir will do the trick.

I first tasted this salad at a Japanese restaurant and then replicated it at home using grain-free pasta noodles.  It’s delicious and satisfying.

Wine Partner:  The overriding flavour sensation here is heat due to the hot sauce.  This is important when finding a wine to match.  Hot sauce can make a perfectly beautiful wine taste nasty and acidic if you try to ignore that heat.  Just like character Alex Forrest (Glen Close) states in the movie “Fatal Attraction.”  She says, “I’m not going to be ignored!”  This hot sensation must be offset by sweetness in the wine to bring the palate to a neutral place so the other flavours in both the wine and food can shine through.  Choose an off-dry rose.  Roses are meant to be chilled in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  This nicely chilled wine will taste refreshing while enjoying your Japanese grain-free noodle salad with a barbecued protein.

I took this Martha Stewart recipe and made it PALEO & WHOLE30 compliant!  The fennel tastes different and lovely in this dish with its hint of black licqorish. 

Wine Partner:  The predominant sensation of this dish is fattiness due to the fattiness of salmon and coconut cream.  Therefore, this dish demands a full-bodied white wine to math.  Think barrel fermented and/or aged Chardonnay or choose a Chardonnay from a warm climate that offers high alcohol.  The higher the alcohol the greater the weight of the wine.

In first pursuing a PALEO & WHOLE30 lifestyle, spaghetti and meatballs became the comfort food I missed most.  I thought about it often.  I realized I could not live without this classic Italian dish in my life.  In being committed to my anti-inflammatory lifestyle,  I prepared several types of grain-free noodles, including the processed ones made from vegetables.  Too hard or too mush were those noodles.  They simply did not provide, for me, that al dente pasta satisfaction that I desperately missed.  I tried Bolognese over zucchini and butternut squash spiral noodles.  Let’s just say the dishes tasted….healthy. 

Wine Partner: This is a big dish with loads of weight and flavour. The dish demands a full-bodied weight to match with hefty alcohol (14% or higher). You need this wine weight to stand up to the density of the noodles plus the meatballs.

When writing my PALEO & WHOLE30 recipes for my columns and cookbooks, I often focus on the use of fresh and quality ingredients, organic if possible. But a recipe’s process is just as necessary. I love PALEO & WHOLE30 rustic, peasant Italian dishes for this reason. Traditional Italian cuisine uses fresh and few ingredients that are grown locally. The secret to this cuisine is that the cook prepares the local meals in a distinctive, time-honored way; preparations handed down from one generation to the next. It’s these preparations that transform an average dish into a spectacular one.

Wine Partner: Due to the lovely flavour of garlic and the density of the grain-free noodles, I highly recommend a full-bodied white wine to match, one with at least 13.5 % alcohol.  Choose a warm climate white with loads of alcohol to give the wine viscosity (ample weight and creamy texture) to stand up to the big flavours.  Full-bodied whites can be from a warm climate with higher alcohol and/or barrel fermented and aged, such as Chardonnay and Fume Blanc, Rhône Whites (Marsanne-Roussane).

Suffering without a bowl of pasta on this PALEO & WHOLE30 diet is now a thing of the past!

I remember the first time I ever tasted pasta smothered in pesto. It was 1988. I was managing a fitness center located in The Village in downtown Toronto. I had ordered this pesto dish from the menu of Ciao Restaurant. This little Italian café catered to Toronto’s gay community located in The Village at Church and Wellesley. The Village is an enclave for Toronto’s gay community. It has bustling cafes, eateries, and bars. This area is also known for its week-long, offbeat Halloween celebrations and buzzy club scene. In June, the neighbourhood celebrates Toronto Pride Month with concerts, parties, and parades.

Wine Partner: With the predominant sensations being fatty, nutty, herbaceous, and garlic, along with the density of grain-free noodles, this dish requires a bit, fat, white wine. Examples are barrel fermented and aged Chardonnay or Fume Blanc. We need a wine with higher alcohol (14%) which provides that extra viscosity. Viscosity occurs on the palate as creaminess or fattiness. A big, fat, white wine will be able to match the fattiness of this dish. We also want a wine with a good backbone of acidity to marry well with the lemon tanginess and herbaceous notes in this pesto.

I love this simple pasta dish on hot, summer days.  It’s so easy to make and brings so much colour and appetite to the table!  While most beans are not allowed on Paleo and Whole30 diets, French beans are an exception to the rule. 

A strict Whole30 and Paleo diet dictate that beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts are disallowed.  The reason is that these beans are legumes with a high content of lectins and phytic acid.  However, green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are included because they contain a small amount of potentially negative constituents found in most other legumes.

Wine Partner: The predominant taste sensation is this dish is saltiness due to the cheese or plant-based cheese.  The noodles are also thick and dense.  So we need a white wine that has lots of viscosity (thickness or body) to stand up to the texture of the noodles.  The wine also needs enough acidity to offset the saltiness of the cheese.  Choose a white from a warm climate like chile.  Warm climate whites possess more alcohol (13.5% or 14%) which gives the wine that viscosity.  A variety such as Sauvignon Blanc has enough acidity to meet our needs.  A Chilean Sauvignon Blanc would work well here.