Turn Your Pasta Into Performance Food


The pasta-based carbo load has a complicated repute. First, an crucial pre-race ritual, then a gut-bombing enemy of PRs, it’s now again within the mainstream as a beloved a part of the endurance athlete’s weight-reduction plan—as long as it’s executed proper.

We’re not speaking a few heaping plate of mother’s well-known lasagna or your grandma’s hen parm, which may nonetheless result in some severe GI misery the following day, due to excessive calorie and fats counts. But should you use pasta as a vessel for different nutrient-rich meals, it may possibly function a “source of slow-digesting, complex carbohydrates that’s high in fiber, B vitamins, and protein, depending on what kind of noodle you use,” says Maria Dalzot, a registered dietitian, USATF National Trail champion, and member of the La Sportiva Mountain Running workforce. Even old-school white noodles have a spot on the desk: the straightforward sugars supply a fast dose of easy-to-digest power, making them the proper selection for a pre-workout meal. 

To show the facility of pasta, we requested six athletes to share their go-to dish for powering their hardest exercises and races.

Ryan Atkins

Champion obstacle-course racer

So Fresh and So Clean Linguine

Why it really works: “I like that the sauce is mostly vegetables,” says Atkins. “It’s delicious, and the large amount of carbs is great for fueling long, hard runs.” Plus, as a result of these carbs are delivered with minimal fats and protein, they take much less time to digest. That makes the pasta dish an ideal pre-run meal, Dalzot says. As an added bonus, the herbs present a hearty sprint of polyphenols, protecting plant compounds with anti-inflammatory results.


  • 1/2 bundle linguine (complete wheat or white)
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 purple pepper
  • Avocado oil to style
  • 1 massive tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon recent floor pepper
  • 2 cups hen broth
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons goat cheese


Chop up the onion and purple pepper. In a pan, fry each in avocado oil for about ten minutes, or till the onion is translucent. Stir within the tomato, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. Fry for 4 extra minutes. Pour contents from pan into a big blender. Add the hen broth, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese. Blend till easy. Cook pasta in keeping with the directions on the field. While the pasta is cooking, reheat the sauce in a frying pan. Strain the cooked pasta and serve in bowls topped with the sauce. Makes sufficient sauce for 3 however could be stretched to serve 4. 

Suzi Swinehart

Ultrarunner and 12-hour treadmill world record holder

Savory Keto Noodles with Bacon

Why it really works: “I’ve been following a ketogenic diet for the past 15 months,” says Swinehart. “Yet sometimes I just miss things like noodles, so I’ll modify some of my favorite dishes.” To get her pasta repair whereas adhering to her low-carb, high-fat weight-reduction plan, Swinehart subs out whole-grain and refined pasta for conventional Japanese shirataki noodles, a skinny translucent noodle made out of the konjac yam. If you’re not keto, do that recipe with no matter noodles you like.  


  • 6 bacon slices
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • Garlic salt to style
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons hen broth
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • Chicken (elective)
  • Steamed broccoli (elective)
  • Better than Noodles Organic Konjac Noodles
  • Parsley or cilantro for garnish


Heat the bacon on the range till it’s cooked to your liking. Set apart. Use the bacon grease to sauté the onion, mushroom, and garlic salt. Remove from warmth and put aside with the bacon. Combine and cook dinner the whipping cream, hen broth, Parmesan cheese, and extra garlic salt in a saucepan, stirring continually for a couple of minutes. Once the cheese is melted, add to the bacon and greens. If you need, add cooked hen, too. Drain water from noodles bundle and rinse beneath chilly water. Add the noodles to the sauce combination and warmth to your required temperature and pasta texture. Plate on high of steamed broccoli, if desired. Top with parsley or cilantro. Makes 3 servings.

Alia Gray

Professional runner

Gnocchi with Beef Chuck Roast

Why it really works: Alia Gray’s go-to pasta dish is definitely potato-based gnocchi. “Potatoes are a carbohydrate, so this dish would provide ample energy for a runner,” Dalzot says. The beef, in the meantime, provides additional protein, iron, and zinc. “Zinc is important in the development of white blood cells, which help to maintain the integrity of your immune system and defend your body from infection,” Dalzot says.


  • Gnocchi, premade or selfmade (Gray recommends Smitten Kitchen’s step-by-step recipe, discovered here)
  • 3 kilos boneless beef chuck roast
  • 8-ounce can or field of diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper to style
  • Several splashes of purple wine


Preheat the oven to 300 levels. Tie the meat with some cotton butcher’s twine (you possibly can ask the butcher for some should you don’t have already got it) to assist it maintain its form. Place in a Dutch oven. Pour the tomatoes and juice over the meat and sprinkle in garlic cloves (you possibly can go away the paper casing on). Season with salt and pepper and add some beneficiant splashes of purple wine. Bake till very tender, normally between 3 and 4 hours. The meat ought to shred simply once you lower it. Place some cooked gnocchi in a bowl and spoon meat and purple sauce over it. Add a few garlic cloves as nicely[this reads a little bit awkward. I believe he means one thing like “top with minced garlic.” whichever kind, must be added to the substances (“plus TK reserved for topping”).]. Serves six hungry folks.

Stefanie Bishop

All-around endurance athlete

Lentil Penne with Butternut Squash and Heirloom Tomatoes

Why it really works: Stefanie Bishop’s favourite dish is a meat-free possibility that’s nonetheless hearty and excessive in protein, due to lentil pasta. “Lentils are a one-two carbohydrate-protein punch,” Dalzot says. Lentil noodles can have 2 to 3 instances extra protein than white noodles and twice as a lot fiber. As such, they’re splendidly filling, satisfying and a terrific staple in a vegetarian athlete’s weight-reduction plan. However, beware that should you don’t sometimes eat high-fiber meals proper earlier than a run, you would be headed proper again to the closest Porta-Potty. “I usually make the whole amount, share it with somebody, and have an additional serving for leftovers the following day,” Bishop says.


  • 1 small (1 to 1 1/2 pound) butternut squash, peeled and lower into half-inch items
  • 3 tablespoons additional virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
  • 8 ounces purple lentil penne
  • 2 to three cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound child heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • 8 to 10 sprigs recent thyme, stemmed
  • 1/4 cup recent basil leaves, thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 400 levels. In a bowl, toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes till calmly caramelized, stirring midway. While the squash is baking, cook dinner the penne in keeping with field instructions, or till al dente (about 5 minutes). While the penne is cooking, warmth 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a big pan. Lightly sauté the garlic over low to medium warmth, ensuring it doesn’t brown. Add the tomatoes, thyme, and salt and pepper to style. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, leaving the tomatoes agency. Toss the penne and squash right into a pan with the tomato sauce till blended. Serve sprinkled with the basil and an additional drizzle of olive oil. Serves 3 to 4.

Scott and Christin Panchik

CrossFit power couple

Chicken Parmesan with Meat Sauce

Why it really works: “This is one of our favorite meals to make after a long, high-volume training day,” says Christin Panchik. Dalzot agrees: this hen parm recipe is good for a post-workout meal, due to the massive quantities of energy, carbs, protein, and fats. “The protein and fat take longer to digest, so you don’t want the digestive system diverting blood from your working muscles during your workout,” she says.


  • 8 ounces scorching Italian sausage hyperlinks
  • 8 medium tomatoes, peeled and cored
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic (complete)
  • 1 pound floor beef
  • 1/2 cup of nice bread crumbs
  • 1/2 pound recent mushrooms sliced
  • 2 hen breasts
  • 2 eggs, crushed
  • Flour
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • Coconut oil (about 4 tablespoons)
  • Shredded cheese of your selection
  • Roasted purple pepper fettuccine


Cut sausage into one-inch items and brown slowly in a small skillet. While that’s cooking, place tomatoes, onion, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt in meals processor simply lengthy sufficient to cut onions. Pour into a big saucepan and add tomato paste and garlic. Bring to a boil then scale back warmth to a simmer. Drain sausage on paper towels and add to the simmering sauce. Combine the bottom beef and nice bread crumbs and add to the simmering sauce, including salt and pepper to style. Cover saucepan and proceed cooking for about 2 hours on low warmth. About 15 minutes earlier than the sauce is completed cooking, add the mushrooms and take away garlic clove. Preheat the oven to 270 levels. Pound hen breasts barely to flatten. Dredge in egg, then calmly cowl in flour and Italian bread crumbs. Melt the coconut oil in a big scorching skillet. Pan sear all sides of the hen till golden brown, then place on a baking sheet or shallow pan and high with sauce and shredded cheese. Bake in preheated oven about 20 to 25 minutes, relying on the thickness of the hen. While the hen is baking, boil water and cook dinner pasta. Serves 2.

(Editor references)

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