What Athletes Eat: Runner Shannon Rowbury's Salmon and Kale Salad
Olympian Shannon Rowbury, the American-record holder in the 1,500 meters, knows exactly what she likes to eat. So much so that she brings a variation of her favorite -- grilled fish with a salad -- with her when she travels. That's what she did when she was in Beijing for the world championships last month, where she placed seventh in the 1,500.
And it must be working for her. Rowbury, who is coached by running legend Alberto Salazar, won the mile at the USATF Indoor National Championships in February and then took second in the 1,500 at the Outdoor National Championships in June. She shared her signature dish with us.
Day and time: I have this meal the night before a race, but also pretty regularly. It's my go-to favorite. I had it in Portland before leaving for Asia. I don't eat it prerace 100 percent of the time, due to the limitations of travel and hotel menus. For the world championships, I brought a can of Wild Planet salmon, and I'll make do with some rice and steamed vegetables from the hotel.
What I'm eating: Grilled salmon with brown rice, and kale salad with avocado, roasted walnuts, chia seeds and cherry tomatoes.
Whose recipe? It's my recipe, but I use Jamie Oliver's recipe as a base for the dressing.
Why I'm eating it: I like this meal, because it's filling and healthy.
1 cup brown rice
1 to 2 cups kale
fillet of salmon
1 to 2 teaspoons chia seeds
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
gluten-free soy sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
I like to use short-grain brown rice and I usually boil it with a bouillon cube, which can be done earlier in the day.
For the salad, I prefer to use Dino (lacinato) kale that I de-stem and chop, though prewashed baby kale works just fine, too. I make the dressing in a large glass bowl, using Jamie Oliver's recipe as a starting point, but I omit the anchovies and often use a gluten-free soy sauce in place of the Worcestershire sauce.
I then mix in one avocado and 1 to 2 teaspoons of chia seeds. When this is prepared, I mix in the kale. While I'm making the dressing, I take raw walnuts and toss them in a pan on the stovetop or in the toaster oven. Once the salad is mixed, I put them on top. For a finishing touch, I add some cherry tomatoes cut in half and fresh herbs like Thai basil if available.
I make the salmon last, so it's hot. You can take it out of the fridge while you make the salad, so it warms up and then it cooks a little more evenly. I put the salmon on a foil-lined pan and brush it with some olive oil and a homemade salt rub that has garlic and rosemary. I broil the salmon for about seven minutes. And then eat it all together!