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Pork With Almond Sauce (Cabezada con Salsa de Almendras)

By September 19, 2011November 3rd, 2013Food, Main Courses, Paleo, Recipes


In the past week, we’ve settled quite well into what I would consider a comfortable routine with Paleo. We’re particularly having a lot of fun experimenting with new flavors and sauces, that while possibly skirt the line of what Paleo advocates a wee bit, also keep meals we make with similar ingredients new and exciting. I feel like we’re finally taking the time to school ourselves on spices and herbs.


This traditional Spanish recipe originally calls for an entire loaf of French baguette and a full two cups of wine. I omitted the bread and cut the wine in half. I was initially worried how it would affect the final outcome, but Neil was insistent that it would still work. He was right, much to our enjoyment and hopefully yours, this recipe is definitely a keeper.


1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
5 to 6 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large tomato
1/3 pound blanched whole almonds
Water, if needed
2 pounds pork shoulder or steak, cut into cubes
1 cup white wine
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place almonds in a frying pan with olive oil. Fry for some time until the almonds are nice and brown. Add the peeled garlic and fry for an additional minute or two.
  2. Remove almonds and garlic from the pan and set aside on a plate, leaving oil in the pan.
  3. Cut the pork into large cubes, salt and pepper it and fry from all sides so the meat gets a nice color.
  4. Add the tomato, the peeled and quartered onion, bay leaves, paprika, white pepper and the wine. Cover and let it all cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
  5. Take the onion and the tomato out of the pan and place in a food processor. Add the almonds and the garlic and add some of the cooking liquid from the pan (around 1/2 cup). Puree the ingredients until you have a really fine sauce. Return the sauce to the pan with the pork and let it simmer uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.


The nights are getting cooler, but with comfort food like this, it’s a little easier to enjoy. The sauce has a warm nutty flavor with a hint of spice and while it is smooth, it still has bits of smokey almond intact. It would be wonderful over steamed or brown rice, roasted potatoes or with some toasted baguette to dip and spread over. We steamed fresh asparagus with garlic and sea salt with to serve with ours.


  • Elizabeth says:

    Does the paleo “lifestyle” not include alcohol?

    • Neil says:


      It depends on your goals. Obviously alcohol contains carbs and empty calories so if your goals are to lose weight, then you may go lighter on the alcohol to help you achieve that goal.

      That being said there are many Paleo alcohol beverages that are not derived from grains, potato, or sugar. Red wine (not dessert wine) is a good example. Also 100% Agave Tequila is made totally from the Agave plant.

      What you really have to watch out for is how many syrups and sugars are typically put in an average mixed drink or liqueur. The sugar and calorie count can be staggering.

      Here is a great Paleo margarita that I use that is very fresh!

      I think moderation is key here rather than a strict avoidance.

      • Jessica says:

        I echo Neil’s thoughts. As we’re still new, we’re still getting a sense of the Do’s and Don’ts. Alcohol is one of those weird wedge things that seem the overall community seems split on. I drink very little, so I haven’t given it much thought, but for Neil, who does enjoy a drink, he’s found some “lesser of two evil” solutions to enjoy his favorite beverages.

        Here’s a great post on Paleo and the consumption of alcohol. The comments illustrate the divide perfectly:

        In the end, it comes down to your goals, your lifestyle needs and desires, and what in the end you’re most okay with. The over-arching goal is to eat whole foods and eliminate as many processed items as possible.

  • Carol says:

    I was searching for a pork and almond recipe and came across another site where the bread was included. I’ve been paleo for over a year and wondered if anyone had paleoified it yet. Thanks for the modifications!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Carol — No problem! I’m considering a redux version made with Paleo Bread for a more authentic compilation, but this stands just as good without it in our opinion. I know people stand on both sides of Paleo breads vs. no breads at all.