We thought it’d be fun to give you a peek into how we plan menus as private chefs. Whether you are curious about what our recipes look like or are a current client and want to know what other clients are eating, we’ve got some tasty ideas for you here.
Whenever we start working with a new private chef client, we always find out as much about their dietary likes, dislikes and preferences as we can. The most common things we see are gluten free, dairy free, grain free, nightshade free, sugar free, dairy free (vegan), nut free (any so many other unique nutritional needs).
We also like to know what’s going on with our clients' health, so that we can focus on ingredients that are going to help them the most. We’ll alter our favourite recipes or come up with new recipes for anyone that has food allergies, sensitivities, or a long list of foods that they are trying to omit from their diet. Yes, this means, you can usually find us with our heads buried in cookbooks (and food blogs) to find new ideas and inspiration!
While everyone's menu is unique and different every week, we have found that there are many recipes that are really popular and repeated on menus more often than other recipes, because everyone loves them so much.
We’ll let you in on some of our most popular private chef recipes for omnivores, vegans, and everyone in between. And, we’ll even give you one of the recipes, so read through to the end! And, if you love the sound of everything, but need some help with cooking, let us know.
The Top 5 Most Popular Recipes:
1. Kale and Romaine “Caesar” Salad
We love creating interesting salads, especially when using local, in season ingredients to inspire the combination of veggies (sometimes they are raw and sometimes we roast veggies in the colder months to make more comforting salads). But, no matter how many interesting salads we’ve made, this classic “Caesar” salad is well loved by all.
We make this creamy salad dressing with cashews as the base, so it's completely dairy free. But, we also have many variations that don’t use cashews, in case you can’t eat them (hempseeds and macadamia nuts make a wonderful dressing).
We love adding some other special ingredients into this salad, such as homemade croutons (made from gluten free bread of sprouted bread), coconut crisps, or “cheese” made out of hempseeds and nutritional yeast.
2. Tahini Lemon Roasted Cauliflower with Pinenuts and Fresh Herbs
Hands down, this is one of our favourite all time dishes. Cauliflower and tahini, two of our most loved ingredients. We love tahini so much that we use it in everything from breakfast recipes to dessert recipes and everything in between. Have no fear, if you don’t like tahini, we would never put it on your menu!
Roasted cauliflower is absolutely delicious, slightly crisp on the outside, soft inside and infused with the flavours of olive oil, garlic, and sea salt. The tahini lemon sauce is vegan and makes this dish more substantial, especially with the addition of toasted pinenuts.
3. Black Bean and Rice Bowl w/ Roasted Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes and Avocado
This is one of the most popular vegan meals that we prepare, packed with flavour and yet flexible (so we can always swap out veggies that you don’t like and add in different vegetable options).
One of the things that we keep in mind when planning vegan or vegetarian menus is the importance of including a wide array of plant based sources of proteins on the menu. We know this can be a challenge and it can take time to prepare interesting vegetarian meals, especially if you get tired of eating boring salads and don’t want to depend on tofu as your protein.
Because we love this recipe so much, we are going to share it with you below! And, an important note if you don’t eat beans or grains. You can use our recipe-modifying skills and change this recipe to work for you. Omit the brown rice and black beans. Instead, use some chicken as your protein and add in finely chopped cauliflower “rice.”
4. Fresh Herb Salmon Grain-Free Burgers
We have found that many of our clients feel better when they eat a grain-free diet (we also work with lots of people who still eat grains and love them). If you’ve ever struggled with figuring out how to prepare a plethora of grain free meals, the secret is to focus on vegetables. There are so many wonderful and varied veggies, so it becomes a lot easier to plan a grain-free menu when you think about amping up the veggies and focus on complex, interesting vegetable side dishes instead of thinking about how to replace grain based dishes. So many of the main dishes that we prepare are inherently grain free, so we focus on creating more interesting mains that highlight beautiful ingredients instead of relying on things like pasta and rice based mains.
These salmon burgers are loved by adults and kids. We use almond flour in them instead of a grain. We also use mashed sweet potato to help keep the burgers together. However, we also have versions of this recipe that are almond-free and sweet potato-free, in case you can’t eat those ingredients!
5. Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
Although many of our clients follow a low-sugar diet, everyone loves dessert. Some of our clients get more dessert and snack items prepared than others. Since everyone’s menu is personalized, we usually focus on preparing lots of main and side dishes, but sometimes we make more snack, dessert and even breakfast items on a menu.
These chocolate chip cookies are grain free and refined sugar-free, sweetened with maple syrup. They can be made with eggs or absolutely no eggs, depending on what you’re able to eat. We even have a variation of this recipe that incorporates in oats. And, we have cookie recipes that are made with tahini instead of almond flour (those are quickly becoming one of the most popular recipes).
And, now for the recipe:
Black Bean and Rice Bowl with Roasted Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado and Organic Corn
Let us know if you end up making it or make your own variation of the recipe. We’d love to hear from you and see a photo of your meal if you post it on social media platforms, be sure to tag us @livingkitchenco so we can see it!
And, if you need help with cooking, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
1 small can black beans, drained and rinsed off
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp garlic powder
Dash of tamari
½ cup brown rice
1 bunch asparagus
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small box cherry tomatoes
1 ear of organic corn
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 avocado, sliced
Cook the brown rice with 1 cup water in a small pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer, cover and cook on low for 35 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy.
Chop garlic and white ends off of the asparagus. Place asparagus, cherry tomatoes, garlic and olive oil on baking sheet (leave asparagus on one side of the baking sheet and the cherry tomatoes on the other side)- roast at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until cooked.
Steam the corn in a pot with a little bit of water for 5 minutes. Cool down under cold water. Then cut off the cob.
Drain and rinse the black beans. Saute the black beans in a pan with the spices, olive oil and dash of tamari.
Chop the cilantro.
Toss cilantro together with corn and the cooked cherry tomatoes and lime juice.
In a bowl: place the cooked rice and beans. Add corn and cherry tomato mixture. Add the asparagus.
Add avocado on top along with with a handful of fresh cilantro. Yum!