This article will provide GAPS diet recipes, along with my 6 favorite GAPS friendly foods. My family first started the GAPS diet in July of 2013 with the intent of recovering my son Aaron from autism. It was absolutely worth it, but getting started was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. In case you need a primer on GAPS, start with my article What is the GAPS Diet.
Why? Because you have to question and control the origin, quality, and digestibility of every single thing you put in your child’s mouth. Ahhh!!!!!
GAPS Approved Foods
Let me break this down a little further for you. There is a list of GAPS approved foods, but that doesn’t mean that all GAPS kids can eat them. The term GAPS describes a person whose gut is malfunctioning resulting in damage and disruption to the normal neurological, physiological, and psychological development of a human being. (i.e. autism)
The longer this malfunction is allowed to go on, the more damage is caused and the more difficult the recovery process becomes. This is why intervention with young children is so important… but this is also why a person of any age can still heal. Young children are likely to have less damage and because they are young, the tend to heal faster. An older child or adult has to go through the same process, but they will have more extensive damage to heal and their bodies will almost always take longer to do it.
Controlling Ingredients for GAPS Diet
Back to GAPS foods, its not always enough just to stick to the approved foods list and think you’re going to get results. Remember its about controlling the origin, the quality, and the DIGESTIBILITY of the food that matters. So, to eat a GAPS diet means the following:
- You cook everything at home from scratch.
- The produce ingredients you buy to make your homemade food must be organic and low starch (no potatoes!)
- The poultry and dairy foods you buy must come from pastured animals, fed non-GMO supplements and no soy.
- The meat you buy must come from grass-fed, pastured cows, with non-GMO and no soy supplementation during winter months.
- The daily meals in a GAPS diet consist of gelatin-rich broth bases, proteins, and vegetables
- Fermented food is eaten at every meal – without fail.
Dairy, Fruit, Nuts, Seeds, and Raw Cacao Powder
Beyond these guidelines, you have to look a bit further into the areas of dairy, fruit, nuts and seeds, and raw cacao powder. These items fall into a gray area that is specific to your child and may change depending on how quickly they recover. These foods, although technically GAPS approved should not be eaten in the introductory phase of the diet. Even in the full GAPS diet, these things have to be introduced slowly to determine digestibility which will vary from person to person. Some people will not be able to eat them, period.
Even with my own son, I had to back peddle frequently because if you’re not careful you can find yourself unintentionally basing the diet on dairy, fruit, and nuts and seeds instead of the staples of broth, protein, vegetables, and fermented foods.
Can GAPS Kids Eat Dairy?
Having said this, there is one more specific note to make. Not all GAPS people can eat dairy, even fermented dairy, so be careful. My son Aaron reacted to dairy for 2 years into the recovery process. After 2 years, he could drink raw milk but he still reacted negatively to cheese.
Aaron graduated from GAPS diet in January of 2015. His diet is still basically GAPS based, though. Even if I cook rice or make homemade french fries for dinner, the recipes below are still regular in our weekly menu. For example, my kids are required to eat soups made with broth every day and to eat fermented foods every day. I prioritize cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, and kale in their diets and make desserts without the use of refined sugar or dairy.
My 6 Favorite GAPS Diet Recipes
So here are my top 6 GAPS go to recipes in my house, enjoy!
1. GAPS Chicken Soup
- 4 cups homemade chicken broth
- 1 cup chopped vegetables (carrots, green beans, green peas, kale, cauliflower florets)
- 1 egg yolk (adhering to GAPS guidelines)
- 1/2 cup cooked, shredded chicken
Bring broth and vegetables to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender. Stir in shredded chicken. Crack your egg and separate the the yolk from the white. Discard the egg white. Put the soup into bowls and stir in the egg yolk. Serve and enjoy!
2. GAPS Classic Sauerkraut
- 2 – 3 heads green cabbage
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon celtic sea salt
- 1 package vegetable starter
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2, half gallon mason jars
Shred your cabbage in the food processor and place in a large bowl. Add your salt and caraway seeds. Stir to combine, then let sit. Come back to it every 10 – 20 minutes and stir until the cabbage begins to release its juice and stirs easily. Pack the cabbage equally into the mason jars until you get 3 inches from the top. Press the cabbage hard to start the juice coming to the top and covering the vegetables. Don’t overfill, you can use any left over cabbage to make a salad base later.
Pour the filtered water in a bowl and stir in 1 packet of vegetable starter. I use Caldwells. Let sit for about 5 minutes to activate, then pour the starter equally into the two jars of cabbage. Screw the lids on loosely, place them on a baking sheet and cover with a towel. Set them someplace warm and draft free. The back corner of my kitchen counter works well in my house.
After 24 hours you will begin to see the cabbage expanding in the jar. It will climb all the way to the top of the jar and may even overflow. This is good. It just means you have a very active ferment. After 5 days, tighten the lids, wipe down the jars and place them in the refrigerator. The cabbage will collapse and the juice will get sucked back into the sauerkraut leaving it looking dry. At this point, you need to open the jars and repack the sauerkraut into pint jars, pressing the cabbage firmly to keep the juice covering the vegetables. You can pack the sauerkraut all the way to the top of these jars, it won’t expand or contract anymore. Keep it covered with its juice, though.
Sauerkraut will last years in the refrigerator as long as its covered in its juice and protected from air. That’s way I portion it out into pint jars. Once I open one, I want to go through it quickly without bothering the rest of the ferment. Those closed jars will continue getting more and more potent and deliciously sour with each passing week. A good sauerkraut will taste clean, crunchy, sour, and refreshing.
3. GAPS Spiced Lentils
- 1 lb green lentils
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Filtered water
- 3 cups broth
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 3 teaspoons Celtic sea salt
- Juice of 1 – 2 lemons
Wash and sort the lentils. Cover with 3 inches of water and add lemon juice. Let soak 8 hours or overnight. Rinse well. Cook lentils in remaining ingredients for about an hour, stirring often. Add lemon juice at the end of cooking. From here, you can eat the lentils as they are or season them to your taste.
4. GAPS Hamburgers
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Heat a cast iron skillet and place large spoonfuls of meat mixture in the pan. Wetting your spoon with filtered water, use the back of the wet spoon to press the meat into a hamburger shape. Use a spatula to turn. Cook until well browned on both sides. Serve with plates of large lettuce leafs, tomato slices, onion slices, and probiotic pickles.
5. GAPS Omelette
- one red pepper, sliced
- one onion, halved and sliced thin
- 1/4 cup chopped kale
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup raw milk
- celtic sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Saute the red pepper, onion, and kale in cast iron skillet with a little ghee. Add about a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Once the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown transfer them to a glass pie plate. In a bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Pour mixture over vegetables and bake until light and puffy. Be sure that the center is set before taking it out of the oven. It should take around 35 min. Serve topped salsa and with cheese and sour cream if dairy is tolerated.
(This dish can be made without milk, too. It just won’t rise as much in the oven. )
6. GAPS Cauliflower Rice
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
- fresh lemon juice
- large piece cheese cloth
Shred the cauliflower in a food processor into rice. Place in a pot, fill with 3 inches of water and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Cover and boil over high heat for 6 minutes until soft.
Line a colander with cheese cloth. Pour the steamed cauliflower rice into the colander and run cool water through it to release steam. Once cool enough to handle, wrap the edges of the cheese cloth around the rice and twist, squeezing as much water as possible out of the rice. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a cast iron skillet. Saute union until soft. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic or it will impart a bitter flavor into the dish. Stir in the rice and saute. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, stir in parsley and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Serve and enjoy!
What are Your Favorite Recipes?
I love to hear what other people are cooking. What are your favorite recipes and resources? And be sure to try my recipes and let me know what you think in the comments below!