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Krysten’s Joe’s Special | A Real San Francisco Treat - Whole 30, Gluten Free & Paleo

Have you ever heard of Joe’s Special? It’s a dish that consists of egg, ground beef, spinach and onions originating in my hometown of San Francisco in the 1920’s. It’s an odd scramble, but a favorite among native San Franciscans.

During World War II, it only cost 75 cents for a serving at the Italian-American restaurant, Original Joe’s, which made this dish famous.

I grew up eating at Original Joe’s, but mostly Joe’s of Westlake, my whole life. We celebrated countless birthdays there, ate there at least once a week as a family and even celebrated both my 8th grade and 12th grade graduations there. Plus their bread and butter is out of this world — oh, how I miss that San Francisco Sourdough Bread and butter! Anyway, let’s get back to Joe’s Special.

Once I introduced Jeff to this dish about 12 years ago, he was hooked and still orders it every time we visit family in SF. I have gotten very sensitive to different oils and ingredients used and, therefore, haven’t ordered it in many years because it didn’t sit well with me. So I decided to make my own version, and we’re hooked!

I made this recipe back in 2011, and we ate it often. I haven’t made it in at least 2 years now (why? I don’t know!), but I thought about it the other day and realized it’s the perfect WHOLE30 recipe! It has protein, greens and garlic — what more could you ask for? You can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can top it with avocado, ketchup or eat it plain like my hubby does. Consider adding mushrooms if you like (it’s just not my thing, unless it’s in my coffee), and enjoy this little piece of San Francisco hIstory.

Original Joe’s of Westlake opened in 1956 and remained open until 2014 when it closed for a 2 year renovation. They finally reopened their doors a few years ago, and their food is just as good as it was when I was a kiddo. Some menu items have changed, some walls were taken out and the booths are new, but one thing remains the same: Joe’s Special is always on the menu.

Here’s my recipe for Joe’s Special, which I am calling “Krysten’s Joe’s Special”. It’s paleo, gluten free, dairy free and Whole30!



1 yellow onion, diced

4-6 garlic cloves

1lb ground beef

2-3 handfulls spinach

6 eggs, beaten

Salt & Pepper to taste

2TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Toppings Optional:


Sauté onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons extra virgin all of oil. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Stir ground beef so that it crumbles into small pieces.

Add 2 to 3 handfuls of fresh spinach. Stir spinach in until combined with meat mixture. Do this until spinach is wilted.

Add the six scrambled eggs to the meat mixture and stir until combined and eggs are cooked. Top with Primal Kitchen Foods Paleo Whole30 Approved Ketchup or NutCrumbs Italian Crumbs.


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About Me

Hey! Welcome to Krysten's Kitchen... I guess I can say, "my kitchen." I am all about creating delicious recipes that are made with yummy, real ingredientsI love recreating old family favorites, sweets and everything in between. You'll find a touch of Disney, lots of amazing products and laughter along the way. I launched Krysten's Kitchen with the mission to share my years of research on healthy alternatives to everyday foods that most people can no longer eat due to dietary restrictions, food allergies or special eating lifestyles. 


In 2018, I received the Rising Star Award at ShiftCon & in May 2019 I lobbied on Capitol Hill with the Organic Trade Association and in October 2019 I received the Best Healthy Recipes Blogger at ShiftCon. You can learn more about me, my family and my story, here.

Welcome to Krysten's Kitchen. I hope you'll stay and eat awhile.

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