Quinoa & Roasted Salmon Salad for Runners

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


  • Leafy greens
  • Cooked quinoa (~1/2 to 3/4 cup per serving)
  • 1 cooked salmon filet (I used this recipe)
  • Diced apple
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing (I used this recipe, minus the garlic)

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?


  1. 1

    That looks like a gorgeous piece of salmon!!! Need to get hunting for some good quality wild salmon!

  2. 2

    Can you share the list? I would love to have that list of foods. I’m going to have to start trying quinoa in my salad.

  3. 3

    I love the addition of crunchy apple!

  4. 4

    Mmm wild salmon is my favorite! Looks like a super healthy meal

  5. 5

    I’ve always stuck with plain ol’ spaghetti and marinara (and breadsticks, of course) before a big race. Now that I’ve been eating Whole30, however, I’m going to have to rethink my carb-loading for long runs and races. Right now I’m thinking my main focus will be sweet potatoes, but I’ll have to do some major experimenting prior to the big day(s). The salmon looks delish!

  6. 6

    Apple and salmon – sounds like a great combo!

  7. 7

    I love salmon salads! Before a long run or race I usually do chicken or fish and a baked sweet potato. Maybe an apple with peanut butter for dessert.

  8. 8

    This looks yummy! I also love salmon with maple marinades… my favorite is GP’s sriracha salmon!

  9. 10

    This is one recipe I’m going to have to try. I only have a couple ways to cook salmon and I’ve been looking for new ways to cook it.

  10. 11

    Loving the bright colors and just in time for Summer! This seems like a perfect meal pre-race, I might have to try it before a long run. I usually go with an almond flax seed pizza crust and top it with some protein, veggies and cheese. I hit all the food groups and it is great fuel for the run!

  11. 12

    That salad looks so delicious! My usual pre-race dinner is pizza and salad.

  12. 13

    SALMON IS my life. If I don’t eat it one day… I feel like my day is just NOT complete! Seriously. I am going to turn into a salmon!

  13. 15

    This looks delicious! I am also a huge fan of maple+salmon. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    I always find it hard to figure out what kind of fish is the healthiest to buy (in terms of wild/where it’s from/etc). What do you usually buy? I came across this list of healthiest sources of salmon that is helpful, but there are still so many types!,,20478372,00.html

  14. 20

    That looks so pretty!

  15. 21
    Roadrunner says

    Looks like a very tasty, very healthy creation! Well done —

  16. 22

    This recipe looks like perfection! I tend to eat mainly carbs pre-race (I’m terrible and tend to go for the white stuff like soft pretzels, pasta or pancakes).
    But post race I love protein and greens. There was a mediterranean inspired dish I made once after a 20 miler that included chicken, feta, olives, spinach, cous cous and drizzled olive oil and lemon juice.

  17. 23

    That salad looks great. Not a combination of foods I would have thought of putting together myself. As always, you inspire me in the kitchen!

  18. 24

    Yum! I love how simple and easy Brooks made it for you to create a runner friendly meal by choosing one food group at a time. This helps me be sure I am creating a filling meal that won’t leave me snacking soon after. I often times forget the importance of carbs with a meal and end up snacking on them throughout the day instead.

  19. 25

    Hi Anne,
    Thanks for the lovely recipe – I’m not a runner, but my husband and I made this last night and loved it, our salad was kale, baby spinach, roast pumpkin, avocado, quinoa and that lovely dressing – your dressing even got him liking quinoa (which he has disliked for some time, maybe because I cooked it poorly the first time we tried it!) So thanks again!


  1. […] RECIPE: Quinoa & Roasted Salmon Salad […]

  2. […] generally stick with pasta the night before a race, although I have had success with quinoa + salmon in the […]

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