The Paleo Approach + Plantain Crackers

The first person who explained the concept of “autoimmune disease” to me was Megan Mcgrane. Megan was the first Paleo success story interview I did that didn’t involve weight loss, but rather switched to a Paleo diet after being diagnosed with her third autoimmune condition. Before her interview, “autoimmune” was this term I read and heard about, but never fully understood. After speaking with Megan, I finally “got” it: “There is no known cause for autoimmune conditions,” she told me, “And if you don’t know the cause of something, you cannot cure it. All you can do is manage the symptoms.” 

Those three sentences give you the most fundamental reasoning behind elimination diets. It is also the entire concept behind The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne. In order to find out what works for you and your body, you first need to strip everything away, and slowly reintroduce things back into your diet.

The Paleo Approach cover

The Paleo Approach is very extensive, and might seem overwhelming to some people. However, if it looks like a textbook, then hey – treat it like a textbook! Feel free to jump around, browse the guides, or use the index to find the sections most applicable to you. If you simply want a snapshot of what foods to avoid, which foods to include, and general nutritional information, her “Summary Guides” section at the back of the book would be most beneficial to you. Other sections I found useful include:

  • Summary of Foods to Avoid (Chapter 2)
  • Hunger Hormones (Chapter 3)
  • The Paleo Approach Diet (all of Chapter 5)
  • How to Reintroduce Foods (Chapter 9)

If you are looking for recipes to follow, Sarah has also written the Paleo Approach Cookbook to be used in conjunction with The Paleo Approach. I actually made two recipes from her book: Plantain Crackers and Smoked Salmon and Roe Endive Boats. I eliminated the endive boats from the salmon recipe, and chose to serve it as a “smoked salmon spread” alongside the crackers. 

Plantain crackers and salmon spread

The crackers could not possibly have been easier to make, requiring a mere three ingredients and a handy food processor. Sarah includes a “Tips” section with each recipe, and suggests making “Herb Crackers” by adding 2 Tbsp of your favorite seasoning mix. I tried mixing Primal Palate’s BBQ Spice Mix in with half the crackers, but could barely taste a difference in the end product. If I make these again, I’ll follow Sarah’s suggestion and add in garlic and rosemary. When I took the crackers out of the oven, the outermost crackers had the “crunch” we all crave, but those in the center were still chewy. I removed the outer crackers, and returned those in the center to the oven for ten minutes.

Paleo Plantain crackers

The Smoked Salmon and Roe recipe was equally effortless, and paired perfectly with the crackers. I could not find roe/cavier of any kind, so I simply left it out altogether. As I’ve said before, don’t sweat it if you can’t find it. If you can’t find an obscure ingredient, look for Sarah’s “Variations” section at the bottom of each recipe for substitution ideas. 

Plantain crackers and salmon spread

Now, many of you may be wondering, “Do I need to buy both books?” The simple answer to that is, it all depends on what you’re looking for. If you have a reasonable grasp on Paleo, the cookbook contains enough bonus material to get you through (meaning, it’s not just a cookbook). On the other hand, if you are one who has struggled with autoimmune conditions or other health issues, The Paleo Approach might be a better option. And one lucky person reading this is going to win BOTH!

For your chance to win The Paleo Approach AND The Paleo Approach Cookbook, tell us how you found Paleo [whether it be through a friend, blog, Crossfit gym, etc.] in the comments below! One lucky winner will be chosen at random. We will announce the winner Thursday, September 18th at 9 p.m. Until then, go snack on some plantain crackers! 

Plantain Crackers from the Paleo Approach Cookbook

Serves: 6

Serves: 6decrease 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 the oven to 300F. Line a 13x18 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Make sure that the parchment goes right up to each edge of the pan.
  2. Peel the plantains and place in a food processor with the coconut oil and salt. Process until a completely smooth puree forms, 3-5 minutes, turning off the process and scaring down the sides at least once. You should have about 2 cups of puree.
  3. Pour the batter (it should look like hummus) onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a rubber spatula to smooth it out and cover the entire sheet uniformly. The batter should be about 1/8 inch thick.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and score the batter with a pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or pastry scraper. You can make whatever size crackers you like. The crackers will pull away from each other slightly while cooking and will shrink up a bit, but not much.
  5. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 50-70 minutes, until the crackers are dark brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly in the pan. Move to a cooling rack (you will probably be moving fairly big pieces of several crackers stuck together). Once completely cool, you can break apart any crackers that are stuck together.
  7. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!


To view variations of this recipe, go check out The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne.

Want more Paleo recipes and tips? Check out our 30 Day Guide to Paleo ebook!

Want more tips on budgeting, shopping, and meal prepping for the Paleo diet? Get our extensive (and popular) 30 Day Guide to Paleo program! You will receive weekly tips delivered to your inbox – for free!

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    1. paulke
      September 16, 2014

      I first heard of primal from my family doctor

    2. sikegami14
      September 16, 2014

      I heard of paleo after I searched the Internet for links between eating sugary cereal and mood disorders!

    3. bitsyroy
      September 16, 2014

      I read food blogs all the time. Paleo kept coming up, so I’m committing!

    4. catties
      September 17, 2014

      i was fat and covered in eczema – found it online

    5. lucy1225
      September 17, 2014

      I heard about it from a neighbor after asking what she’d been doing. She looked fabulous!

    6. nkiefer
      September 17, 2014

      I came across Juli Bauer’s blog one day!

    7. Vagirl
      September 17, 2014

      I first heard about Paleo from one of the AS Autoimmune groups on FB that I belong to. Many kept mentioning how it was helping them, so after researching for many months to prepare, we took the plunge and my husband’s pain is doing much better because of it. Thanks for the giveaway…I really would love to win her books and her cookbook. Thats on my list next!

    8. jcm1227
      September 17, 2014

      Robb Wolf’s podcast.

    9. September 17, 2014

      I found Paleo through searching for almond flour treats on the Internet. I found Against All Grain (Danielle Walker) on Facebook and starting following her plus bought her cookbook. Then found many other blogs through her.

    10. James Burnette
      September 17, 2014

      I found paleo one day by thinking that out cavemen ancestors must have been eating the right foods to have lived long enough for modern society to come about. I started googling caveman diet and found Paleo. At first I just read a short post on it and was like yeah I got this. I ate a ton of fruits and nuts. A ton! It didn’t work and I quit. Later on I grabbed Robb’s book after finding his podcast. Been paleo since then a few years ago.

    11. courtney_mae01
      September 18, 2014

      I found paleo at the beginning of my battle with Candida and leaky gut. Eliminating grains has helped me a ton as I fight to get back to 100%. PS–I love these crackers!

    12. lisalisabol
      September 18, 2014

      I found paleo when I was searching and reading about gluten free and gluten intolerance. I wanted to get healthy and help myself. These two books are on my wish list on amazon. They look awesome!

    13. sarahanddavidb
      September 18, 2014

      I learned about Paleo when I googled the term grain free.

    14. adrioliva
      September 18, 2014

      I heard about Paleo from a former boss that has celiac disease. Then I began searching for the right combination of foods that would give me the energy my body needed, but the taste my buds desired and ta-da! Paleo did it for me. After researching different kinds of cookbooks, I found the 30 day guide and have never looked back!

    15. Lynn_I
      September 18, 2014

      I was finally diagnosed with gluten sensitivity and discovered Paleo. It has been wonderful!

    16. BlessedBlogger
      September 18, 2014

      I was wasting time on Reddit and someone mentioned the Paleo and Primal diet which sounded intriguing to me because I have such difficulty losing weight with Hashimoto’s and PCOS. Eating a Primal diet has really helped my family to feel healthier and it’s been interesting trying new recipes together.

    17. Joanna Gray
      September 18, 2014

      I was having horrible nausea and grogginess throughout the day. I was eating grains with every meal. I heard of the Whole 30 through my sister in law. But what really sank it in was watching “Hungry for Change”. It all clicked. Almost 2 years now and never gonna go back!

    18. shelbyfonley
      September 18, 2014

      I found paleo when looking into barefoot running online

    19. sayhellokarena
      September 18, 2014

      My best friend spent 2 years convincing me to try paleo

    20. kemicat
      September 18, 2014

      I was looking into Nerd Fitness and the plan recommends paleo !

    21. ernie990
      September 19, 2014

      I was looking on Amazon at books about gluten free, and came across Paleo. I then started doing my own research, and ordered my first (of many) Paleo cookbooks, “Make It Paleo” by Bill and Haley, and “it went on from there.

    22. samcgowan11
      September 19, 2014

      I first heard of paleo on pinterest. It kept showing up everywhere so I went to the local bookstore and bought a couple books.

    23. September 23, 2014

      Definitely check these crackers waaaaay earlier than the instructions list. I still had 15 minutes to go of the shortest cooking time, when I suddenly smelt BURNT. Not salvageable, but I’ll try again another day, they look delicious.

      1. Kara McCartney
        Kara McCartney
        October 20, 2014

        That’s interesting – mine actually needed additional time when I reviewed this book. I guess it depends upon the oven. Also, added a lining of tin foil along the sides will keep them from getting burned. -Kara

    24. alicia8
      September 23, 2014

      I first heard of paleo from a friend who was trying it out — can’t wait to try this crackers! 😉

    25. Annfairfax
      September 29, 2014

      I have received the diagnosis of gluten-intolerant and while looking for great things to eat I can across Paleo. Your crackers look good enough to eat straight off the page….can’t wait to try! Thank you for sharing therecipe!

    26. Kara McCartney
      Kara McCartney
      September 29, 2014

      The giveaway is now closed. The winner has been sent an e-mail to the address provided to Primal Palate. Thank you to all who participated! -Kara

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