A buffet pasta bar isn’t the first place anyone would think of for low-carb, gluten-free and Keto (very low-carb) diet-friendly fare. But some clubs are making their buffets destinations for members and guests with special dietary restrictions, or who just want to eat more healthfully.
At St. Clair Country Club in Upper St. Clair, Pa., the weekly pasta bar includes an action station where a chef uses a spiralizer to spin “noodles” from butternut squash in the fall or zucchini in the summer (often called “zoodles”), all made to order.
“This is the perfect way to provide gluten-free options to our members; that’s a big restriction now,” says Shawn Culp, St. Clair’s Executive Chef.
Diners go through a salad bar-like display of proteins and vegetables such as chicken, shrimp, mushrooms, peppers and broccoli. They then take their selections to the sauté station, where the chef offers a choice of pastas and sauces. After the chef finishes the dish, the diners continue down the line to add accents such as crushed red pepper and Parmesan cheese.
Zach Bell, Executive Chef at Addison Reserve Country Club in Delray Beach, Fla., offers zoodles and meatballs made of white-meat chicken on his buffets. His grain and vegetable bowls are also very popular—some with a protein and some without. For example, Bell’s hearty quinoa bowl, topped with teriyaki-glazed salmon, includes roasted sweet potato, shiitake mushrooms, sesame seeds, spinach, edamame, avocado, cucumber and ponzu dressing.
A Buddha Bowl, which Bell first had at a vegan restaurant in Vienna, combines beet hummus puree with grilled kale. For another healthful selection, he mixes cauliflower “rice” with avocado, cashews, tomato, pineapple and a lime-cilantro vinaigrette.
“Everybody’s Keto now,” he explains. “Healthy options are driving our operation; they’re the up-and-coming thing, probably because of Instagram, where every other photo is some Keto dish.”