A new gluten-free Italian cookbook delivers healthy eating with a slice of la dolce vita. 

For national bestselling cookbook author Sarah Fragoso and her family of five, Paleo isn’t just a way of eating, it’s a way of thinking.  

A Paleo diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, lean/grass-fed meats, seafood, nuts, seeds and healthy fats, while avoiding dairy, grains, processed foods and sugar, legumes and vegetable oils. It is also totally gluten-free.

“Living a Paleo lifestyle is more than just food, though. It’s about a healthier perspective on life,” says Fragoso, which is what inspired her family’s month-long culinary adventure in Italy while researching her third cookbook, Everyday Paleo Around the World – Italian Cuisine: Authentic Recipes Made Gluten-Free.

“Americans are always on the go and prideful about the four hours of sleep they got last night. Italians are still busy like us, but have a more relaxed perspective on living, which is the healthier cultural perspective I wanted to draw from for this cookbook,” she explains.

The 30-day culinary journey began in Northern Italy in Milan, and stops were made in Bologna, the Marche region, Abruzzo, Rome, and Sardinia to experience and include a broad range of regional cuisines. But of all the regions, it was Sardinia that stole Fragoso’s heart. “The food was out of this world—very rustic, authentic, and a blend of cultural influences, including French, Spanish, Roman, and Venetian. It was hard for us to leave.”

Part travelogue, the cookbook includes anecdotes that sweep you along on the family’s journey of discovery as well as advice about traveling or living full-time on a gluten-free or Paleo diet.

Though her last name might have you think otherwise, Fragoso is not actually Italian (she’s Native American, registered on the Cherokee side), and she doesn’t claim a deep understanding of Italian food. “I wrote this cookbook from my unique experiences, and to honor the chefs we worked with,” she says.

The book features a diverse array of gastronomies, from Bologna’s classic calamari and spinach sauce to Sardinia’s signature lamb with lemon and eggs, with carefully noted and researched Paleo modifications. Each recipe emphasizes quality ingredients, and also simplicity — Fragoso is a busy mom, too, after all.

Next up on her international gluten-free bucket list: Thailand. First no-pasta Italian and now Asian cuisine sans rice? A global foodie indeed.


Artichoke Bruschetta

1 cup artichoke hearts from a jar or can, drained and finely diced 

1 tablespoon red onion, minced ¼ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped 

2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced 

1 garlic clove, minced 

2 egg yolks 

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 

1 teaspoon salt 

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 

2 cups light-tasting olive oil

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add egg yolks, vinegar, mustard, salt and cayenne pepper. Using a handheld mixer on medium, beat together the contents for five seconds. Without stopping the mixer, slowly drizzle in the olive oil as it thickens, and continue mixing to your desired consistency for mayonnaise. In a large bowl, mix three tablespoons of the homemade mayo with artichoke hearts, red onion, bell pepper, garlic and fresh basil, and serve on top of hard salami or cucumber slices. Serves 4-5.