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When my family moved the US when I was 7, we didn’t have a whole lot in the beginning.  My super hard-working and amazing parents were building a better life for us from scratch, and that meant living pretty modestly in the meantime.

However, my parents always made it a priority for us to eat healthy.  Since fruits, veggies, and meats were always on the menu, it’s not surprising I grew up to be a big fan of paleo! And, to be honest, this is probably why I didn’t start having health problems until I was feeding myself in college…and doing so poorly.

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Nonetheless, the quality of our veggies at this time wasn’t the best…and it was important to waste as little as possible.  My brilliant cook of a mother ended up inventing this recipe out of odd bits of veggies hanging out in the fridge and some basic seasoning (ketchup, actually!).

It ain’t fancy but I think I can make a pretty good case for why it’s awesome:

The amazingness of this recipe comes from the fact that you can throw in pretty much any veggies to the mix…and it’s actually ok if they’re a little softer than you’d use for a salad since you’ll be cooking them anyways. The other thing is that you can eat it hot or cold…so that makes it great for travel lunches and thrown-together-at-the-last-minute dinners.  Lastly, this veggie medley is flavorful but no overpowering, so it makes for a fairly versatile side dish to meats (like this brisket or these meatballs).

So without further ado, here it is!


  • 1 zucchini
  • 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 4 big carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 large bell peppers (I like to get ones of different color to get a little nutrient variety)
  • 1/2 cup paleo-approved ketchup (see “ketchup options” below)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Ketchup Options:

  1. Make a paleo version at home. My favorite is a recipe from Balanced Bites: Homemade Ketchup Recipes.  This recipe is 21 Day Sugar Detox approved but you can always add in a bit of sweetener to it if you’re ok with some sugar.  I’ll be posting my homemade version soon!
  2. Buy an official paleo ketchup. This one, by Steve’s Paleo Goods, is pretty delicious.
  3. Buy a ketchup from your local store that has no high fructose corn syrup and uses ingredients you can pronounce.  I’ve used this one by Wild Harvest and I was pretty happy with it.  This is certainly the easiest version to get/find at the store though you’re sacrificing a little bit of quality…but I figure that if it helps me eat more veggies, it’s something I’m ok with!


1. Chop all your ingredients into small pieces.  I usually use a mandoline to get the job done quickly.  You can also use a food processor but make sure you don’t get pieces of veggies that are too small or you’ll turn the whole thing into a veggie mash (or mush, really).

2. Place your onion and carrots into a large pan. Turn on the stove to medium-high heat.

3. Simmer the onion and carrots until they’ve started to soften (about 3-5 minutes).

4. Add in the chopped zucchini, stir, and cook for another few minutes.

5. Add in the peppers and tomatoes, stir, and simmer the whole mixture for a few more minutes.

6.  Add in the ketchup and mix everything together well.

7. Turn down to low heat, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer for another 5-8 minutes.

8. At this point, you’ll want to taste the medley to see if you want to add some salt and pepper.  To get even more nutrients into the mix, you can add any other spices you want at this step.

Got any questions about the paleo diet, health, or all things DIY? Ask me anything over on the Submit A Question page?