Here’s a filling salad that works well as a recovery meal after a moderate training session. It’s good for lunch or supper, and can be eaten warm or prepared earlier in the day and eaten cold. It also travels well in a lidded container, so could be eaten immediately after training if it takes you a while to get home.
The chicken provides your post-exercise protein requirements, while the carbohydrate in the sweet potato and the noodles will replenish your muscle glycogen stores. The colourful vegetables give a range of nutrients, including vitamin C and vitamin A. The sesame seeds and tahini provide a source of iron which is better absorbed when eaten at the same time as a source of vitamin C.
Asian-style noodle salad with chicken, noodles and sweet potato
Serves 1 Preparation and cooking time: 20-30 minutes
150g chicken breast (or ready-cooked chicken pieces)
1 small sweet potato
1 tbsp olive oil for baking
75g of soba or udon noodles
1 sweet pepper (red, orange or yellow)
Handful of pak choi
1 tbsp of sesame seeds
Optional: handful of mange touts and baby sweetcorn
For the dressing:
Thumb of fresh ginger (or use 1 tsp from a jar)
1 tsp fresh red chilli (optional)
2 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tbsp sesame oil
- Cut the sweet potato into thick slices. Place on foil on a baking tray and sprinkle with half the olive oil.
- Slice the chicken. Place the pieces on foil, sprinkle with the remaining olive oil and wrap into a parcel.
- Bake the chicken and the sweet potato for 25 minutes at gas mark 7 or 200°C.
- In the meantime, simmer the noodles in a pan of boiling water for approximately 8 minutes until cooked. Cut the pepper into small pieces and grate the carrot. Steam the pak choi, together with the mange touts and baby sweetcorn if using.
- Make the dressing by mixing together the sesame oil, chopped ginger, chilli, lime juice and tahini. Dilute with 1-2 tbsp of water.
- Once the chicken and sweet potato are cooked, place in a bowl with the noodles and the vegetables. Add the dressing and mix well.
- Sprinkle your salad with the sesame seeds and serve..
To save time, use ready cooked chicken, baby spinach instead of pak choi (no need to cook) and replace the sweet potato with a double portion of noodles. You can also cook the sweet potato a day or so in advance and keep in the fridge.
To make a vegetarian version of this salad, replace the chicken with tofu or tempeh and add a handful of cashew nuts.
Jo Scott-Dalgleish BSc (Hons) is a BANT Registered Nutritionist, writing and giving talks about nutrition for endurance sport. Based in London, she also works as a Registered Nutritional Therapist, conducting one–to–one consultations with triathletes, distance runners and cyclists to help them eat well, be healthy and perform better through the creation of an individual nutritional plan. To learn more about these consultations, please visit www.nutritionforendurancesports.co.uk