Low-calorie tricks from Miraval

low calorie recipes Miraval

Miraval: my kind of spa.

My trip to the personal growth-pushing Miraval spa included a three-hour class that I sort of glazed over in an earlier post: cooking. Now, if you know me, then you’ve already guessed that this was about as out of my comfort zone as you can get. (I’ve always been way more into my career than anything domestic.) I also don’t take great food photos. After digging through my notes, however, I ran across so many low calorie recipes and tricks that Chef Chad Luethje uses to cut calories in his foods, that I really wanted to include one actual recipe. Plus, the class rocked for another reason: We made friends! After our class, we headed straight to the bar for the first of many fun times with the friendly Canadians. Girls, did you ever cook your husbands the five-course dinner you promised?!

45-calorie Caesar salad

I love a good Caesar salad but rarely order it because it’s so notoriously high in calories. If you’re willing to make it yourself, you can reduce that down to just 45 calories per serving!

And I assure you, it’s delicious.

I was skeptical when Chef said he uses tofu in his dressing to get a thicker consistency — but my hope was renewed when he said he doesn’t particularly like tofu but that it works wonderfully in this case. His second trick: Ditch calorie-heavy croutons for parmesan crisps and homemade tortilla strips to get crunch.


For 20 (!) servings (you’ll have to do the math to make a smaller batch!), puree the following ingredients in a blender or food processor:

1 1/2 T minced garlic, 2 T lemon juice, 2 T lime juice, 3 anchovy filets in olive oil, 1/2 chipotle in adobo canned pepper, 2 T Dijon mustard, 14 oz soft tofu, 1T parmesan cheese, 2 t Worchestershire sauce, pinch of toasted ground cumin, 2 t red wine vinegar.

Calorie count: 20 calories per 2 tablesoon serving.


Low-calorie parmesan crisps:

Preheat oven to 350F, and grab a nylon baking sheet. Take one teaspoon of finely grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle into a small pile on the pan. Press down in a circular motion to make a round about the size of “a 50 cent piece.” Bake for 6-8 minutes. Cool completely before removing from pan.

Calorie count: a whopping 5 per four crisps.


Tortilla strips:

Cut a 6 inch corn tortilla into strips, tossing the rounded edges. The width should be as thin as matchsticks. Toss in a bowl with 1/4 t (barely any, I know!) of olive oil. Spread on a sheet pan and bake (if you made the parmesan crisps, the oven should already be heated at 350F) for 3-4 minutes. Toss with a pinch of ground cumin.

Calorie count: twice as that of the Parmesan crisps (harhar). At only 10 per teaspoon, maybe it’s ok to double the serving size?


Click here for more of Chef’s healthy recipes.


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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. The salad looks good, but I think I’m more interested in that drink y’all are holding.

  2. Prickly pear!!

  3. Interesting thought to use the tofu for thickness – unbelievable calorie count!

  4. As a sailor, the trick is getting stuff that is healthy and simple enough to be made in a kitchen that can, at any given point, suddenly tilt to a 45+ degree angle. I was with you though, really, on that salad until I got to anchovies.

    No way, not uh. Not gonna put anchovies in the boat. Stinkbomb risk tolerance exceeded.

    in port though, this has potential.

  5. That salad looks super yum!

  6. His food was amazing — I don’t cook, but even I own a food processor. Maybe I should actually try this one lol.

  7. I’m not a huge fan of parm or anchovies, but, with a little tweaking, I would totally make this. Plus, it’s 45 calories!!

  8. My mind is seriously blown by how this guy makes “normal” food so low-cal!

  9. Heaven! A 45 Calorie Caesar… yum. Might have to plan a trip to Arizona. How were the spa treatments?

  10. 45 calorie Caesar salad? With those numbers I could have a double portion — or more! Love it.

  11. The spa was amazing! Every treatment done in a private cabana with the best products… I agree about double portions — no need to stop at one bowl! Of course in our case, we had a few more sources to go. 😉

  12. I don’t love Cesar salad dressing but i DO love cheese so those parmesean crisps look awesome!

  13. And here I thought any salad was low cal. This one looks yummy – so still hope, I suppose…

  14. This looks delicious and when it’s low-cal, I’m in 😉

  15. I never thought of “tofu” and “Caesar salad” together, but it looks delicious!

  16. Wow, that’s amazing, I don’t think I’ve ever had a 45 calorie ANYTHING, let alone a Cesar salad. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Plus, that dish seems so labor-intensive to make that you will burn extra calories while preparing it! Might end up being zero calories after all that work 🙂

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