Triathleats: A Simple Gluten-Free, Vegan Pre-Race Meal

A recipe for brown rice pasta with sundried tomatoes, Swiss chard and hemp seed pesto from New York-based Elizabeth Stein.

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New York-based nutrition counselor and triathlete Elizabeth Stein shares a simple gluten-free, vegan pre-race meal that tastes as good as it is for you.

Brown Rice Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes, Swiss Chard and Hemp Seed Pesto

This gluten-free, vegan meal is a favorite pre-race meal for nutrition counselor and triathlete Elizabeth Stein. It’s simple, tasty and can be served warm or cold. Plus, it’s nutritious—it has protein in the white beans, protein and omega-3s in the hemp seed, and vitamins and dietary fiber in the leafy green Swiss chard. “I try to incorporate greens as much as I can into all of the meals that I make,” she says.

1 box of brown rice pasta
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can white beans
1 cup chopped sundried tomatoes, presoaked for 30 minutes
3 cups Swiss chard, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Hemp seed pesto:
2 cups basil
½ cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
½ cup hemp seeds
Salt to taste


In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8–10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a food processor add all the ingredients for the hemp seed pesto and blend until smooth. In a large nonstick pan, warm the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and stir until slightly brown and fragrant. Add beans, sundried tomatoes and Swiss chard. Cook until chard is slightly wilted. Set aside. Strain pasta and put in a large bowl. Toss in pesto and veggie/bean combo. Serve warm or cold. Makes 6 servings.

Meet the Chef

While working in the fashion industry in New York City, Stein realized her job didn’t reflect her passions. “I started doing triathlons and realized I wanted to be doing something that was more aligned with a healthy lifestyle,” she says. While still working in the fashion industry, she attended the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a certified holistic nutrition counselor, and graduated in 2007. She started working with clients through her company, Appetite for Healthy Living, and taught cooking classes. Then in 2009, she started a line of gluten-free baking mixes and granola called Purely Elizabeth, which is now her main focus.

Stein describes her favorite cuisine as “seasonal, American cuisine. I love going to farmers’ markets and just being inspired by whatever vegetables are there,” she says.

Her boyfriend introduced her to endurance sports. “He basically inspired me and led me to believe that so much of it is mental—that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything,” she says. Though she hated running, Stein started by racing a marathon in Montana, then a relay triathlon, then an Olympic-distance triathlon. Her “favorite-slash-least-favorite” race so far has been Ironman 70.3 St. Croix because of its beauty and difficulty. Looking ahead, she plans to compete in several Olympic-distance races this season.

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