A Tour de France Chef Shares 7 Recipes Pro Cyclists Love

Meghan Rabbitt
by Meghan Rabbitt
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A Tour de France Chef Shares 7 Recipes Pro Cyclists Love

When Hannah Grant, the first female chef for the Tour de France, started cooking for professional cyclists, she was surprised by the lack of good-quality food they were eating — and how they seemed to love it.

“Seven years ago, food for professional riders was mostly pasta, grilled chicken, a basic salad buffet and ketchup on everything,” says Grant, author of The Grand Tour Cookbook and star of an as-yet untitled Amazon docuseries about her job as Team Orica-Scott’s chef. “It was conservative and not very nutrient dense.” Because pro cyclists have to eat a huge volume of food to replenish the roughly 7,000 calories a day they burn when they’re racing, Grant felt compelled to not only make her athletes’ meals healthier, but tastier, too.

“As a cyclist, what you eat needs to speed your recovery and lift your performance, but just as important as the actual nutrition you’re getting is the enjoyment factor,” she says. “I wanted my athletes to sit down after racing and have a good experience with the meal.”


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At first, it was a challenge breaking her cyclists of their chicken, pasta and iceberg lettuce ways. But eventually, Grant — a Danish chef who’s worked in world-renowned restaurants such as The Fat Duck and Noma — won them over with recipes like these:

Warm Potato Salad with Broccoli and Cranberries

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 2 cups (480 ml) new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) dried cranberries
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) orange vinaigrette

For the orange vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice
  • Zest of 2 organic lemons
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) cold-pressed olive oil
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions

For the orange vinaigrette

In a bowl, whisk together first six ingredients until well combined. While whisking, slowly add the cold-pressed olive oil, mixing until well emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt the coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add potatoes and season with salt, then pan roast. Remove the potatoes from the pan and add the broccoli, pan roasting with coconut oil until the florets are nicely browned but still have a bite and vibrant green color. Season with salt.

Mix the potatoes, broccoli, cranberries and lemon zest and toss with the dressing.

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1/4 salad recipe

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 219; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 289mg; Carbohydrate: 24g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 2g

Chicken with Peach, Capers and Tarragon

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (1.4-1.6 kg)
  • 4 peaches, quartered and pits removed
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) capers
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 bunch tarragon
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions

Clean the chicken and cut the wings and tail. Salt the skin, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 365ºF. Place the chicken in an ovenproof pan with the onions, garlic, peaches, capers, vinegar, honey, stock and star anise and cook until the chicken is done, about 40 minutes.

Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes, then strain the drippings into a saucepan, reduce by half and season with more salt, honey, vinegar and fresh tarragon. Serve the chicken with the peaches and onions and accompany with quinoa.

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1/4 recipe

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 364; Total Fat: 17g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 1mg; Sodium: 279mg; Carbohydrate: 20g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 13g; Protein: 31g

Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (480 ml) ground beef
  • 4 cups (960 ml) tomato sauce
  • 4 cups (960 ml) milk
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) corn flour
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (60 ml) shredded parmesan
  • 1 box no-boil lasagna sheets

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Brown the beef in a hot frying pan with olive oil and season with salt. Pour the tomato sauce into a saucepan and add the cooked meat. Simmer, about 30 minutes, over low heat. In another pot, bring the milk to a boil with the star anise, garlic and bay leaves. Whisk the corn flour with the water and then add to the milk mixture. Bring to a boil again, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then strain and add 1/2 cup parmesan.

Assemble the lasagna in an ovenproof dish in the following order: white sauce, lasagna noodles, meat sauce. Repeat until you run out of the meat sauce and lasagna. Top with a layer of white sauce and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan. Bake until the lasagna sheets are soft throughout, about 5060 minutes.

Serves: 6 | Serving Size: 1/6 recipe

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 315; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 32mg; Sodium: 130 mg; Carbohydrate: 34g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 22g; Protein: 16g

Flounder with Steamed Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh whole flounders, skinned, cleaned and heads removed
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lavender
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) rye or whole-grain flour (substitute rice flour for a gluten-free version)
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Separate the cauliflower into golf ball-size florets, rinse and steam until tender in a colander placed over boiling water with the lavender. Cool the cauliflower, halve the florets lengthwise and sear on the flat side.

Rinse the flounder and pat dry with a paper towel. Between and along the thickest part of both sides of the fillets, cut a slit 1/3 of the length of the fillet from the top toward the tail. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and press the flounder into the flour so it sticks to both sides.

In a frying pan set over medium heat, brown the fish on both sides in olive oil until golden. Turn only once, otherwise the fish will flake and fall to pieces. When the surfaces are golden, place the fish on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and bake until the meat can be lifted from the bone easily (about 6–7 minutes). Serve the fish with the roasted cauliflower.

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1/4 recipe

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 95; Total Fat: 1g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 24mg; Sodium: 209mg; Carbohydrate: 24g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 10g

White Bean Dip with Baby Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) white beans
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
  • 1 piece kombu seaweed
  • 3/4 cup (60 ml) mineral water
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/4 bunch tarragon
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml( olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Baby carrots
  • Celery sticks
  • Cucumber slices

Directions

Drain and rinse the beans and bring to a boil in unsalted water with the thyme, star anise, bay leaves, salt and kombu. Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are ready, about 40 minutes. Drain the beans and blend with the water, tahini, garlic and tarragon. While blending, slowly pour in the olive oil. Season with salt, honey and lemon juice. If necessary, adjust the consistency with water. Serve with carrots, celery, cucumber or other veggies.

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1/4 recipe

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 308; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 434mg; Carbohydrate: 25g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 6g

Date Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240 ml) pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) toasted hazelnuts
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

In a food processor, puree the dates. Add the hazelnuts, orange juice and zest, cocoa powder and salt. If the dates are too dry, add a little more orange juice. Press the brownie mixture into a tin and cool for at least 1 hour in the fridge before serving with fresh fruit.

Serves: 8 | Serving Size: 1 brownie

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 88; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 1mg; Carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 2g

Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups (420 ml) 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) egg white
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) light cane sugar, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) egg yolk
  • 2 cups (480 ml) whipping cream

Directions

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. In a mixer, whisk the egg whites and 1/4 cup of sugar at medium speed, adding sugar a little at a time until soft peaks form and it’s firm enough to stick to the bowl when turned upside down. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until white and fluffy. In a third bowl, lightly whisk the cream to a soft consistency. (The cream should not be straight out of the fridge.)

Fold the egg yolks into the melted chocolate with a rubber spatula, then fold in the egg whites and finally, gently fold in the cream. Folding the mousse needs care and attention: Use a rubber spatula to cut through the mixture, twisting the bowl around a quarter at a time, counter clockwise. Work fast and efficiently once you start folding or your mousse will split or set.

Chill for at least 3 hours before serving with fresh fruit.

Serves: 10 | Serving Size: 1/10 recipe

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 339; Total Fat: 27g; Saturated Fat: 16g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 198mg; Sodium: 89mg; Carbohydrate: 18g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 15g; Protein: 7g

Photo Credit: Hannah Grant

About the Author

Meghan Rabbitt
Meghan Rabbitt

Meghan is a freelance writer whose work is published in national magazines and websites, including Women’s Health, Dr. Oz The Good Life, Yoga Journal, Prevention, Runner’s World, Well + Good, Refinery29 and many more. When she’s not writing, she’s doing yoga, swimming or riding her bike in Boulder, Colorado.

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