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6 Versatile Paleo Staples that Should be On your Shopping List

Eggplant

When it comes to flexible grocery staples, we all know ground beef and eggs and onions and coconut milk. All those foods really do live up to their reputation as versatile staples that go well with almost anything, and you can do dozens of things with every one of them. But here are 6 lesser-known foods you might want to consider for their power to become anything you like.

1. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

Coconut flakes can be crunchy or chewy, and work in sweet or savory recipes. They’re good in everything from breaded chicken tenders to Paleo cookies, and they’re particularly noteworthy for adding some nut-free crunch to just about anything.

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2. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is white and reasonably mild-tasting, which makes it a Paleo stand-in for all kinds of other white and mild-tasting foods that might not be the very healthiest foods around (pizza crust? Bagels? Rice? You got it).

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3. Ground Not-Beef

Ground beef is a Paleo staple because you can make it into anything, but what about all the other ground meat? Ground chicken or pork can add something new to your recipes. Sick of chili? What about white chili? Done with meatballs? What about an Asian-inspired version with pork instead of beef? Ground anything-but-beef is an easy way to dramatically increase your recipe possibilities and keep the old favorites interesting.

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4. Cocoa Powder

It’s not everyone’s first thought when it comes to versatility, but if you know how to use it, cocoa powder is actually good for all kinds of cocoa powderrecipes, including the savory ones. Throw it into chili or a steak rub to add a deep, warm flavor (and no, your steak won’t taste like dessert). Or keep it on hand so you can always make an instant Paleo treat.

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5. Avocados

Avocados are another grocery staple that easily go from sweet to savory and back again. Cool avocado is great for temperature contrast on top of soups or chilis, and a few slices or cubes add some flavor (and nutrients!) to almost any salad. On the sweet side, try them in smoothies or even chocolate mousse.

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6. Eggplant

Stuff it! Slice it! Use it as a pasta substitute, or just cut it into cubes and roast it with curry powder and paprika. Eggplant is good for a lot more than just lasagna and grossing out children under 10. Because it’s both large and flexible, it gives you a lot of options for shapes and presentations, and it’s particularly good with anything Italian.

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What’s your most versatile pantry staple? Let us know on Facebook or Google+!