Happy (Paleo) Pi Day!


It’s 3/14, a.k.a., Pi Day, a.k.a, an excuse to eat pie. But we’re not eating any pie. Oh, no! We’re eating paleo-approved, protein-packed pie. Or should I say π?

Here are three recipes that will cure your craving for pie and won’t leave you feeling remorseful tomorrow, in a pie-induced hangover, filled with gluten regret. Instead, you’ll feel powerful, positive, proficient, peachy, prime, and peerless — all thanks to pi(e).


Paleo π Day: Shepherd’s Pie


You know the old joke: Pi are not round, pi r squared?

No, you don’t know that one? Huh; that’s weird.

Anyway, here’s my favorite square pie: Shepherd’s Pie.

Shepherd’s Pie is a traditionally British or Irish dish made from lamb, and it’s a kissin’ cousin to cottage pie, which is made with beef. The term ‘cottage pie’ has been around since 1791, when potatoes were introduced as an edible food for the poor. Back then, cottage pie was topped not with mashed spuds, but with slices that mimicked the tiles on a rustic cottage roof, hence the name.

Meat topped with potatoes isn’t only found in the U.K. Natives of Quebec enjoy “pâté chinois;” the French eat “hachis Parmentier;” in the  Middle East, it’s “Siniyet Batata,” and in the Dominican Republic, they add cheese and call it “pastelón de papa.”

In this paleo-ized version, I replaced the potatoes with cauliflower, eliminated the green peas, used coconut products instead of dairy, and replaced the Worcestershire – made with high-fructose corn syrup… boo! – with coconut aminos. This recipe can easily be doubled and frozen, and it’s pretty quick to make – perfect for a weeknight when you want to crawl into something warm and toasty. (Whole30 approved.)

Get the recipe here.


Paleo π Day: Chicken Bastila


Chicken Bastila is a traditional Moroccan dish usually prepared for holidays and weddings. It’s a sweet-savory pie made from layers of phyllo dough stuffed with spice-infused chicken, cinnamon-scented almonds, and soft scrambled eggs. When the pie is done baking, it’s sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar (!) and cinnamon. I made it in its original form twice in my life and both times, it was transcendent. Seriously. Like nothing else in the world.

When I gave the traditional recipe a makeover, I figured that since the original included crushed almonds with cinnamon, an almond flour crust wouldn’t stray too far from the real deal. And if I “cheated” a little bit and used a few dates instead of sugar as a sweetener, I could make a pie that’s technically paleo. [Insert my rant about how “treats are treats, no matter what they’re made from” here.] I suspect Moroccan cooks would say this doesn’t measure up because it’s less sweet than the traditional recipe, but I’m very pleased with the result – especially because it means I haven’t had to bid Chicken Bastila adieu. The pie is crispy, has just the right touch of sweetness, and is very filling and rich. The perfect celebration of family and food. (Not Whole30 approved.)

Get the recipe here.


Paleo π Day: Meatza Pie


This recipe is included in my cookbook Well Fed, and it’s wildly versatile. The Meatza pictured here is topped with traditional sauce, broccoli, red peppers, and black olives – but you could also give it a Mexican spin with salsa and avocado (see recipe). (Whole30 approved.)

Get the recipe here.


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  • Sarah Bullock says:

    Love your twists on making paleo recipes that tastes YUM! I like using mashed Celery Root with Susie Q seasoning and grassfed butter on Shepherds Pie in place of potatoes. And in honor of 3.14 I shared your meatza pie recipe on my blog…I have been looking forward to making it and I thought why not today, and after looking at it I thought this is great it takes the same amount of time as if someone actually placed an order with pizza delivery. Thank you for being an inspiration!!!

  • Jocelyn says:

    are both of these yummy recipes Whole30 approved??

    • Mel says:

      The Shepherd’s Pie and the Meatza Pie are Whole30 approved; the Basila is not because of the swett-savory thing that can tempt out the sugar demons.

  • noblepower says:

    Sunset magazine did a version of Shepherd’s Pie topped with mashed sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. I didn’t follow their recipe, I just mashed up some baked sweet potatoes with ghee and it was delicious.

  • JJ St Clair says:


    Just wanted to say “THANK YOU!!!” for Well Fed. It was clutch in my Whole30 which I totally rocked. After trying “normal” foods for a week I decided to go full Paleo since I just plain felt amazing eating this way.

    Things like this help keep us folks on the straight and narrow when tempted on days like today.

    I’ll be trying the Chicken Bastila soon, so please please PLEASE!!! publish more Middle Eastern recipes. I grew up in Dearborn, MI and I thought it was going to be impossible to live without hummus and pita. I’d totally buy a Paleo Middle Eastern cookbook if you ever published one!

    Thanks again,


  • Stompy says:

    Chicken bastila sounds phenomenal. I’ll be adding that to my list of your recipes I have to make.

  • Tanya says:

    I keep telling my husband that I’m going to make the Chicken Bastila. It really looks amazing! I also know that my daughters would love to have pie for dinner so I don’t have any reason not to. Do you think boneless, skinless chicken breasts would work okay?

    • Mel says:

      Boneless breasts will work, but you should quick-poach them instead of following the longer instructions for the bone-in chicken. Brown the breasts, add 2 cups water, bring to boil, then simmer covered 15 minutes. Turn off the heat but keep covered and let the chicken continue to cook for 20 minutes.

      • Tanya says:

        Thank you for the reply 🙂 Once I make it and feature it on my blog, I’ll be sure to link it back to you. BTW, I truly love every single recipe of yours that I’ve tried. They have such a depth of flavor. Can’t wait for Well Fed 2!

  • Chris says:

    These recipes look really yummy, epecially the Chicken Bastilla. This is my next meal!
    Keep up the good work.

  • derryanne says:

    What the heck are coconut aminos?
    I have looked everywhere for them

  • Marnie says:

    3/14 Albert’s Birthday!

  • Elaine L says:

    I made the Meatza Pie this week from Well Fed to take to work for lunch. It totally rocked! The best part was after 4 days of eating it for lunch, I still liked it.