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A Recipe for Runners: Sweet-and-Salty Pistachio-Crusted Salmon

The following post is sponsored by Brooks Running. For our sponsored post policy, click here.
Remember how a few months back Kyle Pfaffenbach, a Performance Nutrition Consultant for the Brooks Beasts Track Club, shared his five best foods for runners with us? Well, he’s baaack! And he put us to challenge. A recipe challenge.

The Brooks Running Recipe Challenge: And Master Ingredients

Here was our mission (and, yes, we chose to accept it): Kyle challenged us to make a meal using at least one one his 10 master ingredients. Here are the ingredients with why they’re good for runners — and they’re yummy!

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Quinoa

Why Eat Those? The foods above are high in complex carbohydrates. They serve runners by filling muscle glycogen stores, which is a major energy source during high intensity workouts and races. A higher percentage of complex carbs are recommended in the days leading up to a competition, and this “carbo loading” can maximize glycogen stores and contribute to improved performance.

  • Salmon (also a source of polyunsaturated fats)
  • Eggs
  • Mixed Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios)

Why Eat Those? The foods above provide quality proteins. Salmon and eggs represent complete high-quality proteins, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids in ample amounts. Mixed nuts, particularly pistachios, can also be a good source of protein. Consuming enough protein is critical for recovery and providing muscles with “what they need” to recover from and adapt to training stress.

  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Mixed Greens (spinach, spring mix, arugula)

Why Eat Those? Every balanced diet requires a lot of fruits and vegetables. While there is nothing “performance-enhancing” per se about these foods (have you ever seen tomatoes offered at a race aid station?), they should be a critical part to every runner’s diet. They provide the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to keep the immune system strong and metabolic processes optimized.

Taking the Recipe Challenge

With all of that good info in mind — and so many yummy options to work with — I came up with the below recipe. I knew doing something with all 10 ingredients would be pretty hard (and maybe kind of weird tasting), so I picked a few of my fave ingredients and came up with something that I think is pretty darn tasty. Sweet-and-Salty Pistachio-Crusted Salmon. I’ve been super into pistachios lately, so this recipe kind of just popped into my brain. And I’m lucky it turned out tasty. In fact, my husband kind of flipped over how good it is — the pistachio topping is pretty dang addictive! And the best part is that it is ridiculously easy and quick to make!

Sweet-and-Salty Pistachio-Crusted Salmon Recipe

Serves: 2
1 pound salmon, divided into two fillets
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon agave
1/2 cup shelled pistachios (roasted and salted)
1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
salt and pepper
3 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup sliced radishes
drizzle of olive oil
1/2 lemon, just the juice
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place salmon on a large baking sheet that’s covered with foil. Pat dry with paper towels. (I used these!) Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place coconut oil, agave, pistachios and almond meal in a food processor or blender and mix until coarsely ground.
Top salmon with the pistachio mix. Roast the salmon in the oven for eight to 10 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork. While it’s cooking, mix the greens and radishes together. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over greens and toss to combine. Divide evenly into two bowls.
Serve salmon over your dressed greens and enjoy! (Radishes are hidden — fell to the bottom of the bowl!)
Oh, and if you have some of that pistachio-crust mix left, save it. We’ll have a special part-two dessert twist for it tomorrow!
I included four of the master ingredients. Woot! What would you make if you were given this recipe challenge? —Jenn

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