Y’all have inspired me to make this reference page for Down South Paleo so that you can see all the ingredients I use, where I get them from, and what brands I typically purchase. I will also notate substitutions as I have received them from readers, even if I have not tried them myself. Please please please, if you have any questions about ingredients, sources, or brands – reach out to me. I answer every email, every blog comment, FB comment, and IG comment daily. I will help you get what you are seeking!
Water Chestnut Flour: I get asked the most about this one. It is actually NOT an uncommon ingredient as it is used frequently in Chinese (and Indian) cooking, but it is less commonly used in American cuisine, so it appears to be “hard to find.” In fact, it can typically be found in your local Asian market for very inexpensive. You can alternatively find it on Amazon, the Upvas brand is considered to be gluten free (also grain free of course) and I have used it in addition to my local store’s brand which looks like THIS and is a fine powder.
Substitutions: I have received feedback that both almond flour and cassava flour work well as a substitution for water chestnut flour in Down South Paleo, especially when used as the crust such as for the Fried Chicken + Chicken Fried Steak, or in the Biscuits and Gravy recipe. One reader also doubled the tapioca in the Fried Chicken recipe in lieu of the water chestnut flour.
Yuca: I find yuca in my local Giant (mainstream) grocery store in both the fresh and frozen sections. The frozen brand is Goya. IF YOU CANNOT FIND IT AT YOUR MAINSTREAM GROCERY STORE, ASK YOUR PRODUCE MANAGER OR CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER. Even military commissaries on base are willing to order things that they may not stock. Their job is to make customers happy, let them help you. Alternatively, your local Asian or Latin market will likely carry fresh yuca. Yuca, like water chestnut flour, is actually NOT an uncommon ingredient. It is a staple in Latin America and in warmer Southern states like Florida and is abundant. It can be harder to find in the Pacific Northwest for example, but still can easily be ordered, just ask!
Substitutions: You can experiment with cassava flour in making some of the yuca recipes. There are several cassava flour tortilla recipes out there for example, and those could then be made into other things as called for in Down South Paleo. You can also read my post here about working with cassava flour dough as compared to the entire yuca root. As a side note, cassava flour had not hit the paleo community when I wrote this book and therefore you will not find it anywhere in its pages, although you will find plenty of recipes on my blog which include it as well as in The New Yiddish Kitchen.
Potato Starch: Potato starch is carried in many mainstream groceries and almost all natural grocery stores. Bob’s Red Mill is the easiest to find typically and is usually grouped with the other flours of this brand. It is a nightshade so is not suitable for AIP however, is considered paleo enough for me to use occasionally as in baked goods. You can also find it HERE on Amazon.
Substitutions: I do not have an exact sub for potato starch as texturally speaking it is very unique. If you are AIP you could try sweet potato flour, available on Amazon and Barefoot Provisions, but flour and starch are different and it will likely change both the taste and the texture.
Coconut Flour: There are lots of coconut flour brands on the market, and honestly they are very different in quality and texture. I use Coconut Secret the most and trust it for it’s quality and texture. Some brands will be extra “thirsty” so you just have to experiment sometimes. I find it on Amazon, Whole Foods, and other natural grocery stores, some mainstream ones too.
Substitutions: I do not have an exact sub for coconut flour but consider using cassava flour as it is AIP friendly and very adaptable for many recipes.
Almond Flour: I have tried to keep almond flour to a minimum in Down South Paleo because I find that it is often overused in the paleo community in baked goods. Therefore I offer a variety of other flours to offset building intolerances. When I do use almond flour I prefer Wellbee’s brand which I buy off Amazon.
Substitutions: Consider grinding another nut such as cashews or if you are completely nut sensitive, you can try using cassava flour which is AIP friendly and very versatile.
Tapioca Starch: Tapioca is a great gut friendly starch I use often in my flour blends in Down South Paleo.I do not have a favorite brand but Bob’s Red Mill is the easiest to find in mainstream grocery stores and on Amazon. It is worth mentioning that tapioca can also be found in your local Asian market for about $1 a pound so it is much cheaper if you can find it there. It can often be found in Big Lots stores as well with the other Bob’s Red Mill flours.
Substitutions: The closest substitution for tapioca is arrowroot flour which is very close in texture and consistency but also harder to find than tapioca. You can find it in your local natural grocery or on Amazon. Do not buy a small jar of it in the spice section, it is overpriced and nothing special. Stick to the 1 pound bags (or bigger) you will save money that way!
Coconut Milk: My preferred brand is Native Forest which can be found in your mainstream grocery, natural grocery, or HERE on Amazon. If gums or carageenan are problematic, Natural Value brand can be found HERE on Amazon and is a better choice for sensitive individuals.
Substitutions: In Down South Paleo, coconut milk can typically be exchanged out for any dairy free milk. I choose coconut milk in some recipes because of the full fat and thickness. When using it as part of an egg wash for pre-dredging (as in my fried recipes), any milk will do. Other milks will not work for whipped cream.
Flax Milk: I use flax milk regularly because I like the flavor in terms of its neutrality and it is also easy to make at home if you prefer homemade. I have a recipe HERE for homemade. Otherwise I use Good Karma brand which can be found in many grocery stores in the refrigerated section.
Substitutions: Any dairy free milk can be substituted in lieu of flax milk. Simply use whatever is preferred or tolerated best.
Maple Sugar: I love the taste of maple sugar and it is perfect when you don’t need the extra moisture that maple syrup adds. I use Coombs Family Farm brand and often just buy it on Amazon but they also carry it in health food stores as well.
Substitutions: You may substitute coconut sugar for maple sugar. It will change the flavor but the texture should be the same.
Coconut Sugar: There are lots of brands of acceptable coconut sugar brands, I don’t really have a favorite or any that are really awful either. They can all be found on Amazon, Trader Joe’s, or Barefoot Provisions.
Substitutions: You can sub maple sugar for coconut sugar and sometimes honey, but typically granulated sugars like coconut and maple work best in certain recipes where as honey and maple syrup are more interchangeable when the wet element is needed.
Maple Syrup: I use 100% maple syrup frequently to sweeten things as I love the flavor (more than coconut sugar in some recipes). I am not super picky about brands of maple syrup so I buy it from Trader Joe’s, Amazon, or Costco. I mostly look for competitive pricing and large containers. I have used THIS brand off Amazon and am very happy with it.
Gelatin (Dissolving): I use a gelatin in my Lemonade recipe in Down South Paleo and typically use Great Lakes or Vital Proteins and buy both on Amazon (links provided where brands listed). I always order mine online as I have not had luck finding these brands in stores.
Substitutions: I am not familiar with other gelatin brands so I cannot recommend substitutions. Instead I would recommend omitting from the lemonade.
Gelatin (Congealing): I use gelatin in my Key Lime Pie recipe to help it congeal. You do not want the same gelatin type as listed above in the Lemonade. Instead you would want THIS one or THIS one, both found on Amazon. I always order mine online as I have not had luck finding these brands in stores.
Substitutions: I am not familiar with other gelatin brands so I cannot recommend substitutions.
Avocado Oil: I only ever use Chosen Foods brand of avocado oil. I buy it on Amazon or at Costco. It is my favorite cooking fat EVER and prefer it over most other cooking oils.
Substitutions: You can use whatever preferred cooking fat you like. If you are using it for one of the fried recipes, consider ghee from Tin Star Foods (my preferred brand, their Brown Butter is also to die for) or Coconut Oil for high temps. Naturally you can use lard or schmaltz as well.
I hope this helps y’all! If there are other products I have missed, just message me and I will get them added!
What else can I use instead of dried mulberries for the Key Lime Pie? My husband’s favorite – very excited to make this!
Paleo List says
We run a website called The Paleo List (http://www.thepaleolist.com) and would love to be included on your resource page. We help people figure out which foods are Paleo and which aren’t.
My resource page is in reference only to my book Down South Paleo. Thanks for reaching out.
Monica Gilliam says
Thank you, Jennifer!
After a W30 last year, my husband and I made the transition from gluten-free to a “predominantly” paleo diet. Before all of this, I was of the school of thought that dinner ALWAYS consisted of a brick of Velveeta and a Cream of Something soup mixed up with a whole bunch of wheat-filled goodness. Writing off Mexican food– namely queso (did you know that Chili con Queso could have been/should have been/was a food group?) was probably the most depressing part of the whole thing. When I found your enchilada recipe, I thought I was in heaven. I very soon ordered your Down South Paleo book, slightly weary of getting some sad excuses for yummy food, but you have yet to disappoint!!
Last night I made your Chicken Fried Steak, which made my heart sing and I ate ENTIRELY too much. Tonight, I am going for your chicken spaghetti, something I have missed for SO long!
Thank you for pulling me out of the hum drum paleo boredom and for creating recipes that rival the original. I am finally TRULY excited about cooking again. Our tummies are indebted to your brilliance!
P.S. I am so excited to try your queso recipe! 🙂
Wonderful Monica!!! Thanks for all your heartfelt feedback! I understand the Cream of Something soup dilemma – it’s a major one! Hope you love the queso!