Red Mountain Resort is an uncommon destination in every sense. Luxurious, yet adventure-oriented. Engaging, yet relaxing. So it makes sense that their approach to dining is quite uncommon, too. The on-site restaurants offer cuisine befitting a fine resort, yet it’s exceptionally healthy at the same time. A stay at Red Mountain leaves you feeling great in every other way, so the food shouldn’t be an exception.
“Nourishing yet delicious food fits in with the overall model of the resort,” explains Executive Chef Chad Luethje. “People come here for an active kind of vacation. Many of them have already been putting in the work to be healthy or are gearing up for a path of greater health and well-being. Here, guests can go kayaking or rock climbing or hiking, and then they’re able to come into the restaurant and—instead of negating all the effort they just made—they can sit down and have a meal that’s really satisfying and doesn’t make them feel guilty.”
In fact, the culinary staff takes such pride in the healthfulness of their dishes that they explicitly list every menu item’s key nutrition stats: calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber.
The resort loves to leave guests with a lasting taste of the cuisine, too—their signature cookbook, entitled “Inspired Eating,” is available for purchase, and you can sign up for intimate cooking demonstrations in which they learn to craft a favorite Red Mountain dish.
Canyon Breeze Restaurant: The Cornerstone of Red Mountain Dining
The main restaurant at the resort, Canyon Breeze, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. A buffet complements the menu staples, many of which offer a modern Southwestern twist on classic favorites. Open-air patio dining provides the perfect way to start or finish a day of adventure on the trail, keeping guests connected to the resort’s natural surroundings.
For breakfast, sample the resort’s famous muesli or perhaps mesquite flour pancakes with prickly pear syrup. Or dig into a hearty breakfast burrito served with homemade roasted-tomato salsa—or even a savory organic quinoa breakfast bowl with baby kale, lentils, yams, red onion, a poached egg or tofu, and tahini Sriracha sauce on top.
A daily lunch buffet offers a little something different every day, but look to taste the avocado chipotle macaroni salad, Southwest corn bisque, or turmeric citrus chicken breast. All are light yet satisfying and will top off your energy levels for an afternoon among the red rocks (or resting by the pool).
Dinner at Canyon Breeze is the restaurant’s hallmark triumph, best enjoyed as the sun is dipping low, a chilled bottle of wine sits in a tableside bucket, and water misters take the edge off the desert heat. Supper is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. The menu changes weekly as the chef infuses new seasonal creations into the mix, taking the fullest advantage of the freshest ingredients.
Traditional staples are often found, like a strip steak (or tofu steak if that’s more your taste) with vegetables, or something more creative, like a lemon spinach pepita pesto risotto (try to say that five times fast!) with perfectly cooked Arborio rice and asparagus. There’s really something for everyone and the chef honestly doesn’t mind substitutions to accommodate dietary needs.
“At least 95 percent of the items on the menu are easily customizable to become vegetarian or vegan,” explains Chef Luethje. “Many are gluten-free. But the consistent thread is: We believe ‘healthy’ and ‘good’ can be synonymous. Whether you’re talking about fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, raw nuts, seeds, pasture-raised meats, alternate vegetarian protein sources, herbs…it all comes together if you do it right. It’s delicious, it’s beautiful, and it’s good for you.”
Even for desserts, Red Mountain’s bakers often find a creative way to make them healthier than you’d think—whether that means they “secretly” include silken tofu or even applesauce or beets. They look and taste as an elegant dessert should, yet they’re often far lower in fat and calories. Recently the executive sous chef crafted a dark chocolate angel food cake that happens to be gluten-free and remarkably low-calorie while retaining the classic sweet fluffiness you’d hope for.
“Not to suggest that we never use any bacon or butter, but everything is thoughtfully made from scratch, and we use healthy substitutions whenever possible,” Chef Luethje says. “Everything is made in-house: stocks, dressings, side dishes. There’s much care and thought in the process.” And it shows.
Canyon Counter: The Quick Stop for a Light Lunch, Coffee, or Pastry
Resort guests are often on the go—as they well should be, with the menu of activities available for them every single day. However, before they go canyoneering or mountain biking, visitors can snag a quick latte and boxed lunch or sandwich to fuel their adventures.
There’s a seasonal flatbread every day, as well as a hearty salad or tasty mozzarella melt sandwich. Visitors can even order their food for poolside delivery after the day’s wanderings. The Canyon Counter’s menu makes for perfect “recovery food.”
“I think the majority of our guests are health conscious and interested in staying in shape, or they’re really interested in getting healthier,” Chef Luethje says. “They tend to be savvy diners who know what’s good for them and what makes them feel wonderful. We think people should leave their vacation feeling better than they did when they arrive. And by thoughtfully preparing their culinary options, we know we’re doing our part to make that happen.”