There’s something special about a salad with creamy notes of roasted eggplant and butternut squash, combined with fresh bursts of tomato, crisp spinach and a pop of texture from quinoa. These ingredients also supply a large dose of Vitamins A, C, B and K, along with fiber and protein to keep you satisfied and recovered from hard training sessions.
5 ounce bag baby spinach
1 medium eggplant, diced into ½ inch cubes
1 small or ½ large butternut squash, diced into ½ inch cubes
1 ½ cups sugar snap peas, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ red, yellow or orange pepper, finely diced
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups cooked quinoa (recommend red or tri-color)
5 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar*
Freshly cracked sea salt and pepper
*Treat yourself to a high quality balsamic vinegar for extra tasty salad dressings
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets with foil and nonstick cooking spray.
2. Spread the butternut squash on one sheet and the eggplant on another. Toss each with one tablespoon of the olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, toss and bake another 5-10 minutes until the vegetables start to turn golden and soft. Remove from oven and let cool.
4. Once the eggplant and squash are cool, combine in a large salad bowl with all of the other vegetables, the quinoa, 3 TBSP olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif., and the co-founder of Harmony Bar. A former professional XTERRA triathlete, Cerra now races for Twenty16 Women’s Professional Cycling Team.
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