Throwing a Fab Paleo Dinner Party for Non-Paleo Friends

The Table Setting: Fun Linens, Tealights, and White Hydrangea Blooms in Short Water Glasses

I LOVE a good dinner party.  Seriously.  I honestly can’t imagine what I enjoy more on a weekend night than having friends in our home, eating food we’ve prepared, drinking good wine, and having a great time. Pre-Paleo, this was a pretty regular occurrence: whether it was hors d’oeuvres for 30 for my husband’s birthday or an intimate multi-course meal, I reveled in cooking for others. (We’ll just ignore the fact that my typical menus included bread-and-cheese trays, fried risotto balls, Italian pasta with cream sauce, and loads of gluten-rich baked goods. No one needs to know… it’s our little secret.)

In fact, one of my original reasons for resisting the change to a Paleo lifestyle was that I wasn’t sure I could still create delicious, gourmet food that was both Paleo and appetizing to our guests.  I couldn’t have been more off-base!  The Paleo lifestyle has such an incredible range of possibilities for creating incredible food, and I’m beyond excited to keep experimenting.

This weekend, we made a last-minute decision to have several of our friends over for dinner to celebrate the homecoming of one of the couples from a six-month stay in Munich, Germany.  The plan for Saturday was to hit the Downtown Farmers Market and Central Market in the morning, go check out the final installment of Harry Potter in the early afternoon (yep, I cried!), and then serve dinner for 7 adults and 2 young kiddos by around 7:30/8:00pm.

EEK!! As an uber-planner and bit of a control freak, this was going to be a bit of a challenge – normally when feeding this many folks, I prep quite a bit of the meal ahead of time. That wasn’t happening this time around, so I pulled together a quick prep/cook schedule when we got home from the movie to keep me on track… and it actually went pretty much according to plan!

Spicy Oven-Roasted Pecans with Cinnamon (These puppies are addictive!)

Roasted Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs

Let’s talk menu… I really wanted to experiment with some new things, so all six dishes were ones I’d never tried.  Not something I would usually do for a dinner party (especially one on a tight schedule!), but heck, sometimes you’ve got to live a little. The menu starts off with some snack-y foods that folks could munch on while I prepped and cooked dinner.  For the main meal, I tried to balance some light, summery flavors with the heartier flavor of the pork.  All these recipes are gluten-free and dairy free with the exception of the salad… we add some shaved Parmesan, but this could certainly be excluded if desired.

All the recipes will be posted this week… here’s the final menu!

We enjoyed the meal with an assortment of German beers in honor of our friends’ return from Munich.  Yep, DEFINITELY not Paleo, but a really special part of the evening just the same.  I am really shooting to eat Paleo 90% of the time, with about 10% of wiggle-room built in for special occasions where it just makes sense to have a German beer, a lush dessert, or even (gasp!) a piece of pizza.  Generally speaking, I feel cruddy after indulging, but you know what, sometimes it’s just plain worth it.  For me, it’s all about learning to make good decisions the vast majority of the time and recognizing that life is short, and sometimes you need to eat dessert. 😉

Watermelon and Arugula Salad... Perfect for Summer!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Thyme

Steamed Broccolini with Lemon

The Piece de Resistance: A Towering Stack of Pan-Seared, Bone-In Pork Chops

The original plan was to also do a Paleo-friendly flourless chocolate cake with a banana sauce, but alas, I just ran out of time… I’m going to make it this week and let you know how it goes…

All in all, we had a great time with our friends, and I feel like I can confidently say that no one felt deprived by the Paleo menu!  Success!  Keep an eye out this week for all the recipes, and let me know if you have any questions/comments!

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Categories: Apps, Snacks, & Sides, Mains, Paleo Party, Soups and Salads

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11 Comments on “Throwing a Fab Paleo Dinner Party for Non-Paleo Friends”

  1. Jessica
    July 17, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Nicole!! I’m so sorry I missed out on this AMAZING feast! Jamie could not stop raving about how fabulous it was. Yummy yummy. Lovin’ the blog!



    • July 17, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      We missed you, too! 🙂 Hope you’ve had a great trip! We’ll do it again soon!

  2. Ana
    July 17, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    Yum!! Got all my fixings for shrimp ceviche and the egg frittata! Can’t wait to make them!

    • July 18, 2011 at 6:56 am #

      Yay! Can’t wait to hear how they go!

  3. May 4, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    Thank you so much! I’m just getting into Paleo and did this whole dinner tonight for non-Paleo friends…. Every single dish, from the nuts to the flourless chocolate cake, was a hit. Nobody missed the glutens, and we had a fabulous time…. Plus it was really easy to manage the timing by prepping everything in advance and having the squash in the stove while I steamed the broccolini and seared the pork chops. The only thing I would change is to do about half the amount of nuts. Anyway, thank you for this amazing menu and your easy-to-follow recipes. I’m a certified Paleo Betty fan from here on!

    • May 13, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

      Hi Candace! I’m so glad you enjoyed the food! The choco cake is one of my fave go-to’s as well… no one can tell the difference. 🙂 So happy to have you as a reader! Keep it up!

  4. May 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    I cant see if my comment went through… I wanted to thank you for putting this together. I did this entire menu – nuts to cake – for a large party of non-Paleo friends tonight, and it was a huge success. I really appreciated your easy-to-follow instructions and how well it all fit together. I was able to prep most things ahead of time and easily managed the squash in the oven with the pork chops and broccolini on the stovetop just before serving. The only thing I would do is cut the pecans recipe in half. Anyway, I’m just trying Paleo and am incredibly pleased with how this turned out – especially because my guests were, too! Thanks again!


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