Quinoa and Protein

I have really enjoyed living in St. Paul so far because there have been many new places to explore by running or sharing experiences with other people. I don’t live very far from the Mississippi River so I can run on a path along there if I feel like it, and on long run days I don’t have to go too far to run around a lake. I have Thursdays off so I have been doing my long runs on those days, today being one of them! I ran to Lake Nokomis and around it, which was nice because there weren’t many people there like there can be during the summer and on weekends. There’s nothing like being afraid of running over someone’s Grandma as she strolls leisurely around the lake… After running around the lake I found a new path that lead me somewhat in the direction that I needed to go so I decided to explore that too. Do you like to do that? Elysia likes getting lost on runs and I think it can be kind of fun because you never know what you’re going to see, and you forget that you’re running because you’re concentrating on how to find your destination. It may not be ideal if you end up miles out of your way, but since that hasn’t happened to me yet it’s still pretty fun.

As we’ve discussed in the past, one of the questions that we usually get because we’re vegans and athletes, is; ‘Where do you get your protein?’. My friend Tali messaged me about transitioning to a vegan lifestyle but her trainers told her that it would be too hard to plan a nutrition plan for her. AKA they don’t think she can get enough protein on a vegan diet. AKA they’re too lazy. Protein is easy! As long as you eat a diet with a variety of real foods, you’re pretty much good to go. Tempeh, tofu, beans, nuts and seeds all contain protein. Want a quick pick-me-up after working out? Throw together a vegan smoothie with spinach, frozen fruit, almond milk and some silken tofu or vegan protein powder. We eat green smoothies daily for breakfast or especially after a hard workout.

Additionally, as we’ve said before, quinoa is excellent because it is close to being a complete protein, and is very easy to make. Pair it with some beans and you are definitely getting a good source of protein and a delicious meal (I mean, you could throw some veggies in there too…). Tali, this recipe is for you.

As a quick note, I call for red wine OR veggie broth in this recipe. If you use a red wine, use something you like because it really adds a lot of flavor!

Italian-Style Quinoa
[Serves 4-6 as a side dish]

  • 1 cup Uncooked Quinoa, rinsed
  • 1, 15-ounce can Italian-Style Diced Tomatoes (I used Muir Glen)
  • 2 tsp. Dried Basil
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth or red wine
  • 1 – 1 ½ tsp. Garlic Salt
  • 1 tsp. chopped Garlic
  • 1, 15-ounce can beans (I used butter beans but cannellini or garbanzos would be good too)
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped Basil
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped Oregano
  • Marinara Sauce, optional

– Add all ingredients, except the beans and fresh herbs, to a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa has soaked up most of the liquid.
– Add the beans and heat thoroughly, then stir in the fresh herbs right before serving.
– If desired, top with marinara sauce and enjoy!

Mix tomatoes and quinoa.

Add herbs right before serving (and marinara too!)


What discoveries have you made while running? We think that it’s one of the best ways to get to know an area and learn what’s around you!


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