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Friday, July 19, 2024

Good Health Is At the Heart of Luncha Libre’s Menu

Emily Sant Amour makes sure her Luncha Libre menu is wholesome and healthy. Photo: Patricia Robert / Yucatán Magazine

Each week on WhatsApp, Emily Sant Amour posts at least three salad options accompanied by a list of proteins like shrimp or tofu. 

Emily also has organic grilled chicken and lamb patties with meat sourced from local Slow Food vendors. 

Emily was born in New York and lived in North Jersey. But after she and her husband Sean had their first child, she came upon a realization: “I really didn’t know what to do with myself.”

Then something sparked. A nutritionist asked her to develop a healthy snack bar for people on restrictive diets. It couldn’t have gluten, eggs, nuts, or sugar. It was a success. That led to a promising new venture.

Related: A private chef is coming to a kitchen near you

“Before the pandemic, I got pretty far along in starting a food company based on sunflower butter, which I had developed for the bar,” Emily says. “And that kind of took off. And so I started working with a consultant, and we turned it into a kind of snack pack with different flavors and dippers.”

“But right before their first production run, motherhood, the pandemic, and the move to Mexico all happened in succession. “And all that kind of fell away,” Emily says. But her love for the kitchen didn’t. 

Luncha Libre’s Mediterranean Grain Bowl is quinoa and brown rice topped with cumin-roasted carrots, beets, chic peas, Kalamata olives and fresh herbs, served with a lemon tahini dressing. Photo: Patricia Robert / Yucatán Magazine

“Food has always been my kind of my happy place,” says Emily. But the move to Yucatán presented challenges finding the quality and variety she was accustomed to. 

“I had a really hard time finding food that I wanted to eat. You know you could find salads up and down Montejo and all the restaurants have something but nothing was particularly interesting to me. Nothing was particularly nutritious. It was kind of all the same thing and all a little bit boring.”

From home, her salads became in demand among friends — especially from smaller households where the long list of ingredients and the food preparation process — chopping, grilling and roasting — made cooking at home impractical. Then, friends suggested she go into business to meet the demand for healthy, tasty meal options. 

She started with a small menu with a limited circle of friends as a client base. Now, she’s planning a breakfast menu and more delivery days. “I just need to figure out the logistics.”

She always includes seeds and nuts, avocado, and homemade herbed dressings. If there are proteins, they are well-seasoned. Her salad plates are composed with the notion: “The more colors, the better.”

Recipe: Crunchy Thai Salad With Shrimp

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  • 1 head baby romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/8 purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • half a red pepper, julienned
  • 1 Persian cucumber, sliced
  • half a large carrot, grated 
  • grilled cambray onions & scallions,  chopped
  • shallots, thinly sliced
  • salted roasted peanuts, chopped
  • basil
  • cilantro 
  • mint
  • 6 – 8 shrimp seasoned with salt & pepper

Dressing: Equal parts lime juice and fish sauce plus piloncillo or coconut sugar to taste.

Assembly: Grill shrimp until cooked through and opaque; set aside. 

Toss lettuce, cabbage, pepper, carrot, and cucumber in a large bowl, generously top with remaining ingredients and grilled shrimp. 

Serve with dressing to taste.

WhatsApp contact at IG: @Luncha_Libre

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Good Health Is At the Heart of Luncha Libre’s Menu

Emily Sant Amour makes sure her Luncha Libre menu is wholesome and healthy. Photo: Patricia Robert / Yucatán Magazine

Each week on WhatsApp, Emily Sant Amour posts at least three salad options accompanied by a list of proteins like shrimp or tofu. 

Emily also has organic grilled chicken and lamb patties with meat sourced from local Slow Food vendors. 

Emily was born in New York and lived in North Jersey. But after she and her husband Sean had their first child, she came upon a realization: “I really didn’t know what to do with myself.”

Then something sparked. A nutritionist asked her to develop a healthy snack bar for people on restrictive diets. It couldn’t have gluten, eggs, nuts, or sugar. It was a success. That led to a promising new venture.

Related: A private chef is coming to a kitchen near you

“Before the pandemic, I got pretty far along in starting a food company based on sunflower butter, which I had developed for the bar,” Emily says. “And that kind of took off. And so I started working with a consultant, and we turned it into a kind of snack pack with different flavors and dippers.”

“But right before their first production run, motherhood, the pandemic, and the move to Mexico all happened in succession. “And all that kind of fell away,” Emily says. But her love for the kitchen didn’t. 

Luncha Libre’s Mediterranean Grain Bowl is quinoa and brown rice topped with cumin-roasted carrots, beets, chic peas, Kalamata olives and fresh herbs, served with a lemon tahini dressing. Photo: Patricia Robert / Yucatán Magazine

“Food has always been my kind of my happy place,” says Emily. But the move to Yucatán presented challenges finding the quality and variety she was accustomed to. 

“I had a really hard time finding food that I wanted to eat. You know you could find salads up and down Montejo and all the restaurants have something but nothing was particularly interesting to me. Nothing was particularly nutritious. It was kind of all the same thing and all a little bit boring.”

From home, her salads became in demand among friends — especially from smaller households where the long list of ingredients and the food preparation process — chopping, grilling and roasting — made cooking at home impractical. Then, friends suggested she go into business to meet the demand for healthy, tasty meal options. 

She started with a small menu with a limited circle of friends as a client base. Now, she’s planning a breakfast menu and more delivery days. “I just need to figure out the logistics.”

She always includes seeds and nuts, avocado, and homemade herbed dressings. If there are proteins, they are well-seasoned. Her salad plates are composed with the notion: “The more colors, the better.”

Recipe: Crunchy Thai Salad With Shrimp

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  • 1 head baby romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/8 purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • half a red pepper, julienned
  • 1 Persian cucumber, sliced
  • half a large carrot, grated 
  • grilled cambray onions & scallions,  chopped
  • shallots, thinly sliced
  • salted roasted peanuts, chopped
  • basil
  • cilantro 
  • mint
  • 6 – 8 shrimp seasoned with salt & pepper

Dressing: Equal parts lime juice and fish sauce plus piloncillo or coconut sugar to taste.

Assembly: Grill shrimp until cooked through and opaque; set aside. 

Toss lettuce, cabbage, pepper, carrot, and cucumber in a large bowl, generously top with remaining ingredients and grilled shrimp. 

Serve with dressing to taste.

WhatsApp contact at IG: @Luncha_Libre

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