July 11, 2014

Healthy Carb-Loading Meal: Nicoise-Inspired Salad

Tomorrow, I’m going to be hiking my very first 14er (mountain with a summit that is 14,000 feet or higher). But when my friend Mike and I went hiking yesterday on a much smaller peak for about 90 minutes, I was completely wiped out. Hiking can be pretty intense!

Mt Sanitas Summit
Worth it for views like this though!

When Mike mentioned that it would probably be about a four hour hike to the top on Saturday, I realized it would probably be just about as strenuous as a full marathon. Time to carb load!

Carb loading is something that a lot of runners don’t do properly – and admittedly, me loading up today is probably not going to have a big impact on my hike tomorrow since I didn’t first go through a low-carb depletion period, and I’m starting a bit late in the game. I wrote a post last fall on secrets to carb-loading like a pro; if you weren’t aware of the low-carb part of carb loading, I’d definitely suggest you check it out.

As I mentioned in my previous post, one thing a lot of runners don’t consider is how much they are carb loading – and whether that amount of food is actually necessary. In my first dozen or so marathons, I wasn’t losing weight at all (and was actually probably gaining weight) because of how much I ate before and after a race. 26 miles sounds like a long way to run, but when you get into a “food-entitled” mindset, it’s easy to overindulge and completely negate anything you burned. “Oh, I can totally have a milkshake and a double bacon cheeseburger and fries; I just ran 26 miles!” Actually, that combo is more than what you just burned, and especially if you ate extra to fuel for the race beforehand, you’ll find yourself packing on the pounds pretty fast. (This is not at all to say that you need to burn off everything you eat, but for those runners who are trying to lose weight, it’s an important consideration.)

I was really craving a salad for lunch today, but also knew it was important to get a decent dose of carbs into my system. I decided to make a Nicoise-inspired salad with a lot of potatoes and not a ton of protein (I kept the egg in but skipped the traditional tuna). It came out delicious, and I decided halfway through eating it that I would take a quick pic and share the recipe with all of you 🙂 Even if you’re not carb-loading, it’s super filling and yet very good for you!

Healthy Carb Loading Nicoise Salad
Note: this is about 1/3 of the salad, since I ate most of it before thinking to take a picture. It’s HUGE!


-12 oz (or about three medium-sized) red potatoes
-1/2 large onion
-1 heart of Romaine lettuce
-1 cup frozen green beans
-1 hard boiled egg
-2 tsp yellow mustard
-1 tsp lemon juice
-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
-1/2 tsp dried dill
-Salt and pepper to taste


1. Put a small pot of water on to boil, and while it’s heating up, chop your potatoes with about a 1 inch dice. (The smaller you make the dice, the faster it will cook, so you can go smaller if you’re short on time.) Add the potatoes to the pot and cover – these will cook for about ten minutes, though since cooking times vary, you’ll probably want to just keep checking/tasting when it gets close.

2. Put a pan on another burner and spray it with a bit of olive oil. While that heats up, chop the onion, then dump it into the pan to brown.

3. Now, rough chop the rest of the salad ingredients: lettuce, green beans (thaw these first in either a colander or the microwave), and hard boiled egg. When your onions are finished sauteeing, transfer them to your cutting board to cool.

4. Mix the dressing of mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, and dill by shaking it in a small tupperware container. Something like this works well.

5. Finally, put it all together: drain the pot of potatoes, place the colander in a bowl of ice water to cool, then drain once more and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put all ingredients into a big bowl, and drizzle with the dressing. (It’s thin enough that it distributes pretty easily without needing to toss it.) Dig in!

Nicoise Nutrition Stats

This is nearly double the carbs in a single serving of pasta, and also contains half your fiber for the day. While that cholesterol number may look scary, it all comes from the egg, and it’s not bad for you! This salad is perfect for a lunchtime meal where you want to get some carbs in without falling asleep at your desk afterward, and it will keep you full for hours.




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