The Zenbelly Cookbook Review + Paleo Apple Cider Donut Holes!

August 21, 2014

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The Zenbelly Cookbook by Simone Miller is so aptly named.  Her approach to clean, whole food paleo cooking makes you feel just that:  Zen.  If the name alone doesn’t pull you in than the beautiful cover art will.  Both written and photographed by Simone herself, The Zenbelly Cookbook will have you ready to get in the kitchen!

                Simone Miller started out her gluten free and paleo catering business, Zenbelly and later the Zenbelly Blog, after years of struggling with food intolerances, specifically to gluten.  She knew that by making great food with quality ingredients no one she was cooking for would even miss the gluten, much less realize they were eating paleo.  This cookbook takes Paleo cuisine and elevates it to gourmet status, while somehow managing not to intimidate a Paleo newbie.  It gives the reader easy to follow step by step instructions as well as ingredient photos, so you can actually see what you’ll need.  No more guessing what exactly a “medium sized onion” actually means!

                This book contains paleo versions of classic dishes we all know and love such as a Perfect Roast Chicken and Twice Cooked Pork Belly to some dishes we may not all be familiar with, but should be, like Roasted Rabbit and BBQ Pork Pho.  I am most excited to try the Apple Cider Donut Holes because fall will be here in upstate New York before we know it, and nothing says fall around here like apple cider and donuts!  Besides, everyone knows how I feel about desserts!

                The Zenbelly Cookbook is a great reference for anyone looking to create delicious meals using high quality ingredients, for the people they love.  Whether you are a paleo pro, or just beginning to experiment with gluten free or paleo cuisine, this book is the right choice.  Its simple and easy approach to paleo cooking will leave you feeling excited to cook up something new every night of the week!

                Simone was kind enough to share her recipe for her Apple Cider Donut Holes with us!  Once I saw this recipe I knew it had to be the first one I tried!  If this recipe does not turn you into a gluten free or paleo convert, I’m not sure what will!  Enjoy!


Apple Cider Donut Holes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 25 to 30 Donut Holes


  • 1½ to 2 cups coconut or light olive
  • oil, for frying
  • 2/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar or organic
  • granulated sugar (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil to 360°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the arrowroot, coconut flour, bak- ing soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, beat to combine the eggs, honey, and apple cider.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and beat to combine.
  5. Let rest for 1 minute. It will thicken a bit.
  6. Once the oil is hot, carefully drop in a tablespoon of the dough at a time, trying to get the dough into the oil in one smooth motion. A disher is highly recommended for this, or use two spoons. Work in batches, frying 8 to 10 at a time.
  7. With a long-handled slotted spoon, gently roll the donut holes once or twice until they’re brown on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Remove with the slotted spoon to a wire rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet to drain.
  9. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  10. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Shortly be- fore you’re ready to serve them, roll the donuts to coat


Regular old cane sugar is the only thing that will provide that signature crunch that defines the apple cider donut, which is why I chose to include it as an option in this recipe—the only time you'll see it in this book. If you’d rather not use it, coconut sugar will still taste great, but it will have a different texture.

Brittany Angell
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