Throughout my triathlon training, Saturdays have always been long ride days. My time on the bike (usually between 3.5 to 4.5 hours) is typically chased with a transition run (40-60ish mins) that starts within 10 minutes of finishing. The idea is to simulate what needs to be done in a race, and to get my legs used to the changeover from pedalling to running. By anyone’s standards, that’s a lot of riding and running, and I’m always very happy to remind myself that the 90km/56mi bike course I navigate around on race day shouldn’t take anywhere near 4.5 hours!
If you’ve ever done a long distance race or any sort of physical endeavour that lasts several hours, you know that nutrition can make it a great experience… or a terrible one. Having gone from being the half marathon runner who didn’t eat anything during a race to a newbie triathlete, eating while training is something that’s taken a lot of practice. Ideally, if I’ve done a good job of swallowing gels and swigging sports drink on the bike, the likelihood of blowing up and having a terrible run should be minimal on race day – in theory, at least. Saturday sessions have been perfect opportunities to practice all of this.
While practicing mid-workout nutrition has been important, eating well after hard sessions is too. Last week I shared a recipe for Ginger Peach Ice Cream (the totally healthy, banana-based kind) and told you guys that I’ve been focusing on making dishes that have lots of recovery-boosting benefits. That theme is still going strong, and over the weekend I saw evidence that it truly is making a difference.
Recently my legs – my quads in particular – have been crazy sore after Saturday bike/run sessions, and after longer runs on Sundays. Rather than deciding soreness was inevitable and that I should just foam roll it out, I wanted to see if eating meals full of anti-inflammatory ingredients shortly after these sessions would make a difference. My go-to immediately post-workout is always Vega Recovery Accelerator, but my next ‘proper food’ meal after Saturday’s workout was a Salmon and Ginger Teriyaki Stir Fry. I doubled the recipe so I could have leftovers the next day, and you know what? I wasn’t nearly as sore when I woke up on Monday morning.
So what was so special about it? What were the magic ingredients? There are a few.
First of all, let’s chat about this sauce. It’s definitely not what you’d typically expect teriyaki sauce to look like. The ingredients are similar to what you’d see on the back of a store-bought bottle – minus the preservatives, stabilizers, and stuff we just shouldn’t be eating. I wanted to make sure there was plenty of ginger blended in because it’s pretty much a cure-all for everything, especially muscle soreness. I also tossed in an entire peeled orange to add some sweetness and immunity-boosting vitamin C.
The next super ingredient is salmon, which many of you know is a major favourite in my kitchen. High-quality protein, anti-inflammatory omega-3 healthy fats, and above all else, just super YUM. I baked mine because I don’t have a barbecue (*she says as she sheds a tear*), but if you want to grill yours, go for it – and invite me over for dinner.
Aside from the sauce and the salmon, this stir fry is full of antioxidant-rich veggies to help combat the buildup of waste chemicals that accumulate during exercise. Underneath it all is brown rice, one of my favourite complex carbohydrate sources. Brown rice is a gluten-free whole grain, high in fibre, a source of magnesium (which we need for muscle contractions), and it helps to replenish muscle glycogen after workouts.
Did I lose you with all that nutrition geekery? Or perhaps you’re thinking, “But Angela, brown rice takes a bajillion years to cook and if you think I’ve got time for that, you cray.” If so, then don’t you worry. I used Minute Rice for this and it was done in (you guessed it) just a couple of minutes!
Salmon and Ginger Teriyaki Stir Fry
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Ingredients (1 serving)
For the sauce (makes about 1 cup – you will have leftovers):
- 1 orange, peeled
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup low sodium gluten-free tamari (or soy sauce if gluten isn’t a concern)
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 1 clove garlic
For the rest:
- 1 salmon fillet, raw, about 130g
- 1/3 cup uncooked rice
- 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 small carrot, julienne cut
- 1/2 tsp each rice vinegar and low-sodium tamari
- a few sprigs of cilantro, shredded (optional)
- lime wedges, to garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
- In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients for the orange teriyaki sauce until completely smooth and no lumps remain. Pour into a jar.
- In a pot, cook the rice in water according to package directions. (If using instant rice, you should need about 1/3 cup water and it should be ready in 3-5 minutes. If you’re using regular rice, you can begin cooking it before putting the salmon in the oven.) Drain any excess liquid and transfer to a bowl.
- Use a basting brush to coat the salmon fillet in some of the sauce. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until cooked throughout.
- Meanwhile, mist a wok with oil and begin stir frying the vegetables in about 3 tbsp orange teriyaki sauce. After a few minutes, the mushrooms should start to release water and the veggies should become tender crisp. Add a little more sauce if needed, then switch the heat off.
- Shred the cilantro with a knife or scissors and mix it into the rice with rice vinegar and tamari. Pour it onto a plate.
- Arrange the stir fried vegetables next to the rice.
- When the salmon is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and serve it on top of the rice. Garnish with lime wedges if desired and serve.
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Want to win some free Minute Rice for yourself? If so, enter by leaving a comment below and tell me what your favourite rice dish is. I’ll pick a winner this Friday, July 31st at 8pm PT and if you’ve won, you’ll receive an email from yours truly. 🙂