10 Tips for Plant-Free and Carnivore Diets

Last Updated on July 10, 2023 by Keir Watson
Read Time: 5 min

If you are on a plant-free diet — whether for weight loss or medical reasons — it can be difficult to come up with a variety of dishes to keep your interest. For some, steak every night is enough, but for the rest of us a bit of variety is called for.

Here are ten ideas we came up with when we took part in January’s #worldcarnivoremonth

Depending on what you are trying to achieve you may want to go meat only, but in this post, we will interpret plant-free in the broadest sense: eating with zero (or minimal) plant-derived foods in the diet. We tried to stick to salt only as seasoning, but freshly ground black pepper snuck in, and then a few spices crept into the salami (tip 10)!

1. Steak

A 3/4 lb (350g) Organic rump steak from Goodwood Farm
Delicious: a 3/4 lb (350g) Organic rump steak from our local farm (Goodwood)

Steaks are one of the favourite foods for people on the carnivore diet. Proponents such as Shawn Baker and Mikhaila Peterson eat almost exclusively beef, salt and water, so steak is their most frequent meal.

We prefer ours succulent and rare

One of the great things about this diet is eating beef steak regularly. Ribeye is a favourite but rump, sirloin and other cuts are entirely wonderful too. For variety, mix it up and try some other meats: Pork steaks work well for breakfast and roast leg of lamb is always a big hit.

2. Roast Joints

Roasting a large joint of beef, mutton, lamb or pork can ensure you have a feast with plenty of left-overs for later in the week. Here is Forerib of beef that I bargained down from the meat counter at my local supermarket…

Raw fore rib of beef ready for the oven
After a classic hot roasting approach the joint has transformed into a delicious dinner!
Four servings were had by first carving meat from the outside, before dividing the ribs two-ways the next day

3. Game

There is such a wide variety of meat available today. Going carnivore can give you an opportunity to try cuts and varieties you might not otherwise get around to, and currently we are in game season, so getting into the game couldn’t be simpler.

Pheasant and partridge breast with prawns
Pheasant and partridge breast with prawns

These chunks of pheasant and partridge breast were stir-fried in goose fat, with a splash of homemade bone-broth added for moistness. The prawns were fried briefly in ghee. We popped some of the left-over chunks in the fridge and they made perfect snacks we could pick at when we got peckish.

  • A wide variety of game is available from Waitrose

4. Poultry

Two roast duck legs on a plate
Duck legs: one of my favourites

I really like duck: it has a rich flavour that is missing from chicken. I always roast poultry with the skin on; the skin contains more fat and collagen than the muscle meat, so it shouldn’t be removed. There is something very satisfying about gnawing meat off the bone, and these chunky legs make a very satisfying meal.

  • Chicken wings, thighs and drumsticks: Cook a batch, refrigerate and use for packed lunches or to add to a cold meal.

5. Eggs

After meat, eggs are your next best friend. They are so versatile: fried, soft or hard boiled, scrambled, omelettes….

Here is our recipe for plant-free egg custard desert!
  • Keep some hard-boile eggs in the fridge ready to add to lunches
  • Pickled quails eggs are expensive, but add variety to a cheese board

6. Ready-to-Eat Smoked Fish

Many supermarkets sell smoked herring, mackerel or salmon. They can be kept in the fridge for days as a go-to snack, but also help pep up a meal and add variety. Check the ingredients to avoid plant-based additives.

Smoked mackerel with cheese omelette
Smoked Fish with Omelette

Omelettes can be made in so many ways. Here I have served a sheep’s cheese omelette with smoked, peppered herring. It provides a great variety of flavours on one plate. Smoked mackerel is a good alternative. Packs of these ready-to-eat fish can be kept in the fridge and be used as snacks, part of a main meal and are very easy lunch box fare.

  • Smoked wild Alaskan salmon is a delicious (if expensive) luxury

7. Seafood

Wild Salmon Fillet with halloumi 'chips' on a plate
Salmon and with fried halloumi ‘chips’

Fish, particularly oily fish, are superb sources of omega-3 fatty acids as well as trace elements like selenium and iodine which may be missing in an all meat diet.

There are plenty of different varieties of fish to choose from. On its own fish can seem less filling than red-meat, but served with eggs, cheese or as here, with halloumi ‘chips’ it can make a much more interesting meal.

  • Try prawns, shrimp, crab or crayfish tails for variety
  • Tinned salmon, tuna and sardines can be convenient

8. Meatza

Top view of anchovy and prawn cheese meat-base 'pizza'
Anchovie and prawn meatza (or should that be mizza?)

What’s a meatza? Or should I spell it ‘mizza’? It’s a pizza with a base made of minced-beef! Press the minced beef into the base of a pyrex dish and bake at 160C for 20 minutes. (Note: the meat will shrink by at least 10%). Remove, drain the juices that will have come out and transfer the meat base to a clean dish. Top with cheese and your favourite toppings (ham, sliced salami, sardines etc), then return to the oven for a further 30-40 minutes until it looks done. Here we have a sheep cheese, anchovy and king prawn meatza, which was a total hit at a recent birthday dinner. (I made a meatza with veg for guests who were not partaking of #worldcarnivoremonth, but who nonetheless are low carbers and grain free. That post will follow)

9. Cheese

Cheese board with a variety of speciality Sheep and Goat's cheeses
A handsome variety of speciality Sheep and Goat’s cheeses

As long as you can tolerate dairy products, cheeses can make the plant-free diet much more interesting. Cheese is a great source of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K2) and is one of the least allergenic forms of dairy foods, especially if goat’s and sheep’s cheeses are selected, and aren’t we fortunate today to have a plethora of really high quality sheep and goat cheeses available in all decent supermarkets and delicatessens? There is even a cheese shop on the concourse of Victoria Station where I can nip in prior to my journey home, and buy a piece of superb sheep’s cheese to assuage hunger on the journey after a long day plackard waving in Whitehall (!).

Eaten in the evening, cheese can provide a pool of amino acids which can help muscle growth while you sleep and the K2 content helps steer calcium to the correct tissues, such as teeth and bone, rather than being deposited in arteries.

  • Pre-sliced cheeses can be used to create wraps around cold meats like pulled pork or ham hock
  • Parmesan can be used as a plant-free condiment: grated over eggs or sprinkled on fish, pungent and flavourful
  • Cottage cheese with chopped ham is a nice quick snack, and works as a swift lunch for me whilst working.

10. Cured meats

Cold Smoked Salami on Chopping Board

Salami and other cured meats can provide welcome variety: great eaten as a desert with some fine cheeses. The trouble is many of them contain added spices, garlic and other plant-based ingredients, but these are used in very small amounts so the products can be 99% plant-free. If you have a super reactive condition, like Mikhaela Peterson does, of course these miniscule amounts of plants will not be tolerable.

German Sausage and Manchego Cheese board
German Sausage with Manchego Cheese for desert?

The best quality Italian salami often has only pork and salt. The Italians recognise the gastronomic delights of pork-fat, and even enjoy cuts of ‘meat’ that are almost 100% fat, such as in this photo below!

Selection of cured meats from Wild Game Meats
WildGame Meats Ltd offer mail-order European delicacies some of which are 99% plant-free (often with just added garlic or spices)

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