By Ali Lopez
As the spring racing season gets underway, I thought I would share one of my new favorite quick-and-easy, nutrient-dense meals–a creamy 3-ingredient vegan pasta. I created this one completely by accident based on a bag of broccoli slaw mix that I bought on a whim and decided to try with the idea of creating something besides slaw.
I took a look at what I had in my fridge and pantry and inspiration struck. Then I realized that it would be a perfect pre-race or recovery meal. It’s got some good whole grain carbs, lots of good veggies, some healthy fats and a dose of protein. Oh, and it tastes aaaaamazing!
So what makes a good pre- or post-run meal? It is important that you consume enough calories from a variety of different food sources. A balanced intake of carbs, proteins, and fats can provide proper proportions of nutrients to your body and help performance. Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for endurance and power. Proteins help build new body tissues, and fats provide energy when you are exercising at lower intensity.
So besides the broccoli slaw mix that I had in my fridge, I also found a container of my new favorite sauce: my cashew “cream” sauce. Cashews are pretty amazing for a number of reasons besides being a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
I’ve been making this sauce for the past few months and using it in a variety of ways. In my Oryana vegan cooking classes, I have used it with some variations as a sauce for veggies, as well as a great fake “mac and chez.” (Maybe I will share that recipe in a future post!) I also have made a variation of it as a dip for veggies and a spread for bread at the Full Moon Suppers at the Neahtawanta Inn last summer (get ready for season 2!)
Vegan Cashew Sauce
1/4 cup light yellow miso paste (chick pea or soybean)
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, then drained
2 TBS nutritional yeast (or to taste)
1 cup or so of warm water
Few squeezes of lemon (or to taste)
Garlic clove or two (optional, depending on what you are using the sauce for)
Use food processor to pulse cashews until they are a mealy texture. Add miso paste, yeast, lemon juice, garlic and blend again until it balls up. Add hot water, blend again. Add water as needed for desired thickness. Taste. Season again if needed. Keeps in the fridge for at least a week. (Unless you eat it all. Which you will.)
I also suggest that you give my quick-and-easy pasta dish a try. My favorite pasta is Jovial brand, which is organic whole wheat and higher in protein, and also uses Einkorn wheat (which according to the box is the “original wheat.”) You can certainly make it with your favorite pasta, and gluten free if you need that.
The “sort of recipe” for Healthy Chef Ali’s 3 Ingredient Pasta
Pasta (cooked according to package directions); save 1 cup of cooking water
1 bag broccoli slaw mix
1 batch of my Vegan Cashew Sauce
Olive oil, salt and pepper, as needed
Heat up your skillet, add a drizzle of olive oil then add your slaw mix. Stir fry the veggies until they soften a little. This won’t take long. Then add your cooked pasta, lower the heat and add your cashew sauce and half the reserved cooking water. Mix all together and add more water if you need to make it coat the pasta. Taste and adjust seasoning—more salt, lemon, whatever. That’s it. Now eat.
*If you want extra protein, feel free to add cooked chicken or cooked beans to this dish. And you can also top it with parmesan cheese if you like.
Have a fueling question for Ali? Post it below in the comments section or email MRG with your healthy-eating questions at heather [at] michiganrunnergirl [dot] com
Ali Lopez is a northern Michigan runner, chef and health coach. You can learn more about her at her web site Healthy Chef Ali. She’s also on Facebook here »
You can listen to a conversation about running and eating between Ali and Heather on this MRG podcast.