Chinese Five-Spice Ribs with Roasted Garlic & Herb Cauliflower

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The other day, Hayley and I were walking through Whole Foods (one of our favorite places), and were brainstorming different dishes we could make for dinner. In all honesty, we rely heavily on a few dishes we love and are quick to make. That seems to be the norm for most home cooks, though. As we passed the meat counter, we spied some baby back ribs that looked amazing, so we picked them up with the intention of making them the next day.

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When it came time to make them, we decided to use our Instant Pot*, which we love so much. It’s like a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and culinary computer, all rolled up into one device. We already knew that the Instant Pot can make ribs just fall off the bone, so it was a no brainer to use it. Hayley suggested that we make our Chinese 5-Spice Ribs, which we originally included in our first cookbook, Make It Paleo. (<– Click to get it on Amazon for the lowest price anywhere!)

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We made this recipe during the summer of 2011, and surprisingly did not blog about it, which is sort of sad in a way. Sure, it’s really nice that it’s in our first cookbook, but the format of a book is somewhat limiting in terms of space. I like revisiting old posts to read what was going on in our lives at that time.

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Speaking of what’s going on in our lives, we’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of our very first nephew, which should happen any day now. There will be some fun opportunities to share the big meals we make to share with the new parents, and probably some newborn baby pics on our instagram, too. Plenty more on that later, I’m sure.

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We’re also celebrating high season for our spring garden: lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, snap peas, spring onions, herbs, and more are all in full swing. As I gathered eggs from our chicken coop this morning, it occurred to me that we could make an entire meal from ingredients we grow right here on our little suburban plot. Perhaps it will be the topic of a future post. I’ve also promised a post on our gutter-grown strawberries, so look for that, too!

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe-1

Along with the ribs in the Instant Pot, we also made roasted cauliflower with our Garlic and Herb blend (so it’s totally AIP friendly). These recipes are both really easy, so it’s possible to make them at the same time (without burning down your kitchen). Hope you guys enjoy them!

Bill & Hayley

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Chinese Five-Spice Ribs (Instant Pot Recipe)

This recipe has been a family favorite for years, though we recently streamlined it to use our amazing new Instant Pot. If you like sweet and savory fall-off-the-bone ribs, then this recipe is for you! It's super easy to make, and super delicious.

Serves: 2

Serves: 2decrease servingsincrease servings



Note, these instructions are written assuming the standard serving size, since you have modified the number of servings, these steps may need to be modified for best results
  1. Heat the lard over medium high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Cut the rack of baby back ribs into three sections. When it comes up to temperature, sear the ribs (top side down) for approximately 4 minutes, repositioning them to sear them across the top.
  2. While the ribs are searing, place the Instant Pot rack into the pot, along with 2 cups of water (keep the lid off). Press the "Saute" button to begin heating up the water.
  3. After the tops of the ribs have seared, season them with the Chinese 5-spice blend, paprika, coriander, and curry powder.
  4. Place the ribs into the Instant Pot, close the lid, set the valve to hold pressure, and press the "Manual" button. This will set it to high pressure for 30 minutes.
  5. While the ribs are cooking, you can prepare your choice of side dish. We serve this with roasted cauliflower.
  6. Bring together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together the coconut aminos, the toasted sesame oil, the ginger and garlic. Stir to combine.
  7. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. When the ribs are finished in the instant pot, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and brush them with the glaze. Sprinkle with the pink himalayan salt after basting with the glaze. Bake them for 10 minutes, brushing them with more glaze after the first 5 minutes.
  8. Cut into ribs, and serve!


If you don't have an Instant Pot, you can cook your ribs in a slow cooker, or other brand or pressure cooker. If you don't have either of those, you can follow the previous recipe for Chinese Spiced Ribs here: https://www.primalpalate.com/paleo-recipe/chinese-spiced-ribs/

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

This quick and easy side dish is a nice pairing for pork or chicken recipes. With just 3 ingredients, it's a snap to make while other food is cooking. We like it with our Chinese Five-Spice Ribs.

Serves: 2

Serves: 2decrease servingsincrease servings



Note, these instructions are written assuming the standard serving size, since you have modified the number of servings, these steps may need to be modified for best results
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the head of cauliflower and cut off any extra stem or leaves, if needed.
  3. Cut the cauliflower into approximately 1-2" florets, and toss with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle the cauliflower with our organic Garlic & Herb blend. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes. The cauliflower should get golden edges, but not burn. Toss and rearrange about halfway through cooking.
  5. Serve immediately.


* This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. Don’t worry, you don’t pay any extra. But we receive a commission and it helps support all the free recipes and features here at Primal Palate. And we only create affiliate links for things we love! (duh)

Primal Palate Spice Blends

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