It’s a holiday in the UK today and I’m relaxing at home, contemplating what I want to cook for dinner. After so many indulgences throughout the holidays, I want to make sure I eat a healthy, nutrient-dense meal to prepare my body for a big training week ahead!

So what’s on the menu? Quinoa salad!

Most of you have probably heard of quinoa by now. It’s the ultimate grain (technically it’s a seed) in that it is a complete protein source and is also packed with carbohydrates, dietary fiber, minerals including iron and vitamins. In other words, a great food for runners! It’s also, in my opinion at least, delicious, versatile, and relatively easy to prepare. I like to mix red and white varieties to give a bit more color to my recipes, although it doesn’t seem to change the flavor dramatically.

One of my favorite quinoa recipes is my Quinoa Herb Pomegranate Salad with Poached Shredded Chicken, which I have adapted from BBC Good Food, as well as the NY Times Recipes for Health (for the added shredded chicken). This recipe is delicious and extremely healthy, filled with vitamins, protein, healthy fats and anti-oxidants. It’s also a great opportunity to get creative, and is flexible enough to suit all dietary needs and preferences. You can use turkey, beef, tofu or shelled edamame rather than chicken, chop and add whatever additional vegetables you fancy, place a smaller portion of the quinoa salad atop a bed of lettuce for a lighter meal – it’s up to you!

I was in a massive veggie mood, so I went a bit nuts in the supermarket with my vegetable ingredients – cavolo nero (a type of kale), baby courgette, and chestnut mushrooms (which I sliced and steamed in the microwave); yellow and red bell peppers, celery, and cucumber (which I diced); carrots (which I peeled and shredded); and dried cranberries to add to the pomegranate seeds. I had some turkey breast in the freezer, so I swapped that for the chicken, and I grabbed some baby lettuce leaves to add even more green to my plate.

Here’s the end result – I’m not sure it can get any more nutrient packed than this, and it was absolutely delicious! This salad always tastes great as leftovers for a couple of days too.

I also love these Quinoa Pecan Muffins (another New York Times recipe), which are slightly labor intensive to make because you have to grind your own quinoa flour. However, they are worth the effort – slightly sweet, nutty and simply delicious, not to mention very healthy! I made them last week and they were a huge hit. There weren’t that many left after my flatmates and I attacked them fresh from the oven, but the ones that did remain were stored in the freezer and ended up being the perfect pre- and post-run snack and breakfast on the go!

Enjoy!

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