Recipe: Strawberry “Shortcake,” Primal Style (gluten-free, no added sugar)

California summer strawberries and raspberries

Since I’ve been asked to refrain from making eggs for breakfast for a while, I decided to make an indulgent Sunday Brunch featuring some Paleo-ish Strawberry Shortcake instead. (Living in California has definite advantages in terms of lots of long-season local produce!)

This recipe features a big, sweet (naturally sweet, natch) glop of heavy cream, so it’s less Paleo and more Primal. Paleo isn’t so much into dairy; Primal says a-ok for some dairy, as long as it’s organic and not homogenized. I love dairy, so I suppose that puts me more in the Primal camp than the Paleo-oh. (Whichever, whatever, right? The basics of healthy eating in both camps are pretty darn similar).

In Paleo and Primal we don’t use refined sugar, and we tend not to add much in the way of natural sweeteners to food…especially not to fruit, since fruit’s already heavenly-sweet as it is. Sugar, as it’s used in most food today, just drowns out an array of perfectly balanced native flavors. Once I let my taste adjust back to normal from being pathologically pinned to eleven, I discovered that fruit isn’t just sweetness, it’s a complex arrangement of notes; it’s a melody being played out on your tongue with sweet subtle harmonies. You know: A party in your mouth, and everyone’s invited.

So in this recipe, everywhere you would expect to see sugar added, it’s simply omitted without replacement.  If you feel you need a bit more sweetness for palatability, honey or stevia would be good; it takes time to adjust to eating low-sugar foods, so transitioning with a little natural, minimally processed sweetener is fine.

Sugar-Free Primal Strawberry “Shortcake” (Gluten-Free, No Added Sugar)
Serves 2

  • 2 Lauren’s Healthy Bread Rolls
  • 8-10 whole fresh strawberries
  • 8-10 whole fresh raspberries, plus some to garnish
  • 1 to 2 ounces heavy whipping cream (2 to 4 Tbsp)

For the ‘shortcake’, I used one of my favorite gluten-free nut-based breads, Lauren’s Healthy Bread Rolls from her website Healthy Indulgences (lots of healthy sugar-free, grain-free nom nom over there for those with a sweet tooth), with my review here. Lauren uses honey and yeast in her rolls, but these can be omitted as the yeast doesn’t raise the bread and so the honey isn’t needed to feed the yeast. Yeast in quick breads smells good and homey while baking, but doesn’t do much in the way of leavening — there isn’t enough time. You can of course leave the honey and yeast in for the flavor; just be aware that will raise your overall carb count.

The bread rolls are made from coconut flour, flax meal, and home-ground sunflower seed flour. The sunflower flour is easy to make in a food processor or spice mill (I use my combination spice/coffee grinder) and gives the bread a fabulous nutty flavor. The nuttiness works gorgeously in this recipe in counterpoint to the berries — sort of a PB&J effect, yet not so much so that it doesn’t taste like Strawberry Shortcake. These rolls are that versatile! I make these in batches and freeze them by twos for easy meal access during the week. It’s not technically shortcake, of course, but it’s delicious and bready and serves perfectly in its stead.

Slice two rolls in half hamburger-bun-style and place them in separate dishes, open face.

On the stove top over medium heat, heat the berries until they are starting to bubble and break down, but not boil. (Or in the microwave on “High,” nuke the berries for a couple of minutes until warm and bubbly.) Keep an eye on them, as hot fruit can very suddenly boil over. Mash with a fork and stir it a bit to make a lumpy syrup, and set aside.

With a hand mixer or whisk, whip up the heavy cream in a bowl until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Over each of the bottom halves of the rolls, pour 1/4 of the berry mix. Place the top of the roll on that, and pour another 1/4 of the mix (one-half of the berry mix per dish). Over the berry mix, add a dollop of that lovely whipped cream. Top with a couple of fresh berries, serve with a side of nitrate-free bacon, and call it breakfast.

I like my shortcake warm (as if just out of the oven, mmm, just like my dad makes every Christmas), so I nuke my roll for about 30 seconds before adding the berries and cream. So very yum! A perfect breakfast for a perfect San Francisco Sunday, and still pretty low-carb in spite of all the nuts and berries.  Woo hoo!  Satisfying and comfort-licious. 🙂

Nutrition Information

Calories: 498
Fat: 41g (if you still fear fat, read this!)
Protein: 13g
Carbs: 24g
Fiber: 14g
Net Carbs: 10g

Sundays are special...Sunday breakfast should be special too.

All nutrition information on this site is estimated using and

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