Quinoa is widely regarded as the ultimate grain. This is perfect as a recovery meal or as a lunchtime meal ahead of an evening ride.
This dish delivers decent levels of protein and carbs, with interesting textures and flavour combinations. The balance of sweet and salty works so well, while the raw veg mixed with the quinoa livens up a pretty bland base grain. The beauty of this meal is that it can easily be put together in no time at all and can be made up in advance. There is not a cyclist I advise who hasn't had this meal and loved it.
250g pre-cooked quinoa
100g cucumber or courgettes, diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
50g green beans, chopped
50g mangetout, chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper
8-10 chicken mini fillets (about 150g chicken per person)
2tbs Cajun or barbecue spice mix
2tsp olive oil
25g chopped cashews
A pinch of black onion seeds
A handful of baby spinach
1 medium ripe mango, peeled and pitted
1 pack of pre-prepared pomegranate seeds (80g)
Small bunch of fresh mint
Small bunch of fresh coriander
1tbs Thai fish sauce
1tbs soy sauce
1tbs sweet chilli sauce
1tbs extra virgin olive oil
To make the dressing, whisk the Thai fish sauce, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and extra virgin olive oil in a large bowl. Combine the cooked quinoa with half the dressing. Add the diced cucumber or courgettes, tomatoes, green beans and mangetout. Adjust the seasoning and set aside.
Make the salsa by first dicing the mango. Transfer to a bowl and mix with the pomegranate seeds, mint and coriander. Stir into the remaining dressing.
To make the spiced chicken, dice the chicken and marinate with the Cajun or barbecue spice mix for five minutes (allow one teaspoon of mild spice and one teaspoon of olive oil per 150g chicken).
Grill under a medium heat or pan-fry for 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Arrange the quinoa salad, salsa and spiced chicken on plates. Sprinkle over the chopped cashews and black onion seeds. Serve warm or at room temperature with the baby spinach leaves for the perfect balanced meal.
Nutrition per serving Calories: 887; total carbohydrate: 97g; sugars: 42g; fat: 28g; protein: 65g; sodium: 590mg
• Taken from The Cycling Chef by Alan Murchison. Read the book review here
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