Hello, my friends! I’ve got an awesome new meal idea for you guys today – one that is perfect for my fellow runners! Introducing Quinoa & Roasted Salmon Salad. Move over, boring pre-race pasta: there’s a new kid in town.
The inspiration to create this recipe came from my friends at Brooks – as part of my Run Happy Ambassadorship, this month they challenged us to come up with a recipe that incorporated some of the foods from a master list of ingredients that Kyle Pfaffenbach, a Performance Nutrition Consultant for the Brooks Beasts Track Club, recommends to his runners. Kyle has a Ph.D. in nutrition and really knows his stuff – we had the opportunity to meet him when we were in NYC with Brooks last fall and I really enjoyed talking to him about all things sports nutrition.
Anyway! When I reviewed the list of foods, I immediately thought of the meal I had the night before the LA Marathon at True Food Kitchen – a mix of quinoa, veggies, greens, and topped with salmon. That pre-race fuel served me well, so I decided it would be fun to recreate it at home for this challenge, since many of those ingredients were on Kyle’s list!
First up on the list of ingredients Brooks sent over to choose from was a complex carb, specifically quinoa, sweet potatoes, or whole wheat pasta. These carbs are great for athletes because they will fill your glycogen stores that you will draw from during your runs! I decided on quinoa, as you already know.
Next up was to choose from a quality protein – the three he noted were salmon, eggs, and mixed nuts, although there are of course many more options for this category. Protein is crucial for recovery and providing your muscles with amino acids to repair after training or a race. Salmon is an especially awesome choice since it’s also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation – also helpful for runners!
I perused some recipes online to decide how to prepare the salmon, searching for something incorporating maple syrup, since I love that as a marinade for salmon. I ended up finding my friend Kath’s recipe for Baked Maple Salmon that I‘ve been meaning to try for ages. I had all the ingredients, so I went for it! It came out delicious, too – I’m definitely going to use this recipe again.
Next up on the list of foods to try to incorporate into our meal for this challenge was fruits and veggies, of course! Kyle specifically mentioned radishes, tomatoes, apples, and leafy greens, but it’s important to mix it up in this category (as in the others) to make sure you’re getting a nice variety of vitamins and minerals to keep your immune system and body strong.
I had some apples and kale on hand, so I used those! With my quinoa and salmon cooked and my other ingredients assembled, it was time to put together my power meal.
Quinoa & Roasted Salmon Salad for Runners
This recipe is really simple and can easily be modified with additions or substitutions, so get creative! I started with a bed of kale, then added the quinoa, then the salmon and chopped apples, and topped it off with the balsamic vinaigrette. I also ended up adding some unpictured avocado just for fun.
Delicious! This would make a perfect easy dinner some night, regardless of whether you are running the next morning or not, but if you are – rest assured that you will be well fueled.
What’s your favorite pre-race/run power meal?