During a visit to Garfield High School last week in anticipation of the Washington State Meet, one of the cross country runners asked us what our favorite part of running is. And I must say my teammate Angela Bizzarri absolutely nailed it with her answer. Her reply was that the best part of running is the accomplished feeling runners get when they've woken up early (which means 9:30 on our team) to do a hard workout that leaves one's body in a state of half-drunken stupor with screaming muscles. I know, I know... at first this may seem like a masochistic answer, but bear with me on this one as I clarify.
The completion of such a workout not only makes your feel like a certified rock star, but also gives you a license to be a bum the rest of the day all in the name of "recovery." No one can berate you for being lazy because a simple reply of "I ran 13 miles this morning" will shut up just about anyone. Well unless you're talking to Cam Levins, who will likely ask when you're going to do your other two runs for the day. But if there's one thing I've learned from years of overtraining is that recovery is just as important as putting in the hard work. Lucky for runners, nomming down on some good food is a huge part of said recovery. And since we're in the season of pumpkin, sweet potatoes and squash I figured I'd share one of my favorite fall meals for "recovery" but more importantly tummy happiness.
This is the Sweet and Spicy Squash Bowl from Pinch of Yum and it will change your life. It's not only Gluten-free, but also vegan. But feel free to change that by adding some chicken for all you Paleo fiends out there.
Here's what you'll need to make 4 bowls:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups spinach or kale
1 bunch fresh cilantro
2 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup toasted nuts
4 tablespoons hummus
Lucky for runners' tired legs, there are only 3 short steps:
Cook quinoa according to directions, adding 2 teaspoons curry and brown sugar to the pot before cooking.
Coat squash with olive oil, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon curry, and salt to taste. Roast in a 400 degree oven or in skillet until golden brown and fork-tender.
Add squash, cilantro and spinach to the cooked quinoa and toss to combine. Top each bowl with nuts and hummus.
And Wa-la! Enjoy the deliciousness that is the combination of spicy and sweet! You'll also be getting all kinds of nutrients that will put your sore muscles on the way to recovering and keep you running happy.