I absolutely love trying out new cookbooks. I'm always looking for new recipes to try out, so cracking open a new book full of delicious recipes and trying as many out as I possibly can is one of my favorite things. I was especially excited to see that one of my favorite athletes and Olympic marathon Shalane Flanagan recently came out with her own book called Run Fast, Eat Slow which she co-authored with nutritionist (and runner) Elyse Kopecky. These recipes promised to be clean, delicious, and perfect for runners.
In order to really test out the book, I decided to try out one recipe from each chapter. There were so many good recipes to try out, and a lot of them were either vegetarian or could easily be adapted to a vegan diet. At the beginning of each recipe, there is a short note by the author, as well as what kind of workout the recipe is best suited for. I'll be sharing the recipes that I tried out, along with some thoughts and overall grade. I hope you enjoy!
Can't Beet Me Smoothie
Ease of Recipe- It doesn't get much easier than throwing a bunch of stuff into a blender! I buy beets that are already peeled and roasted from Trader Joe's which makes this really simple. I would imagine it would be harder if you had to do that all by yourself! 5/5
Taste- This was delicious! It went down really easy, and you couldn't taste an overwhelming amount of anything. All of the ingredients seemed to mix together really well, so you were left with a satisfying smoothie. 4.5/5
Cost- The only ingredient I had to buy for this was the beets. I had everything else on hand. The only other ingredient I could see people needing to buy is the coconut water. All together, this smoothie probably costs a few dollars in ingredients, but you can re-use the ingredients in the future. 4/5
Would Make Again- I've already made this smoothie multiple times! I'll try it again with protein powder and play around with other ingredients in the future, but I love the base of this smoothie. 5/5
Overall- I really liked this smoothie. I had it after a hard workout and it filled me up and was really refreshing. I've made it multiple times already! I also like how the recipe makes enough for two servings, so I can make one and enjoy it today and tomorrow. 18.5/20
Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookie
Ease of Recipe- There were quite a few steps in this recipe, and it took a long time to make. You have to start by roasting sweet potatoes, then make almond meal (or just buy it if you want to spend more money) and oatmeal flour, mix everything and form into patties, and bake. It wasn't a difficult recipe by any means, but it was time consuming! 3/5
Taste- Oh my gosh..these were amazing. I was skeptical about having sweet potatoes in cookies, but these were delicious. They come out really soft and are just sweet enough without being too sweet. LOVE! 5/5
Cost- I'm not sure what the overall price of this recipe is, but it would not be cheap to make. Luckily I had a lot of the ingredients on hand, but if I had to buy everything it would add up. 3/5
Would Make Again- Definitely! I actually used these as pre-long run fuel and they worked great. These are really filling but easy on the stomach. 5/5
Overall- Delicious, but time consuming. I would make these on a Sunday when I'm meal prepping for the week. The end product is definitely worth it though! 16/20
Ease of Recipe- I love chili because you can just throw everything in a pot, let it sit for a while, and it comes out tasting delicious. This was no different! I actually made this while I was doing my daily yoga, and it was great to have dinner ready when I was done. 5/5
Taste- This is a great, basic chili. Nothing about this stands out in my mind compared to other chilis that I've made in the past, but it was good. I like that there's a vegetarian option (adding tempeh). I did notice that it didn't have enough seasoning on its own, so I had to add in more spices. 2.5/5
Cost- Everything in this recipe is really simple and cheap- beans, tomatoes, broth and onions are all inexpensive. The only thing I had to buy was tempeh, which is only a few dollars. The recipe also made a ton of leftovers, so it was a cheap way to eat for the week. 5/5
Would Make Again- Sure! Like I said, nothing about this stood out, so pretty much any chili that I make in the future would have this same basic recipe. 2.5/5
Overall- A good, basic chili with nothing to write home about. I like how filling this was, but it didn't blow my socks off. I enjoyed it in a stuffed sweet potato, topped with Tofutti sour cream, guacamole and nutritional yeast to give even more flavor and make a filling meal. 15/20
Can't Beet Me Hummus
Ease of Recipe- Hummus is really simple to make- just throw everything into a blender or food process and blend away. 5/5
Taste- To tell the truth, my hummus never tastes very good. I'm not sure if I use bad recipes or just screw up, but they usually turn out to be bland and have a sandy texture. Not the case with this recipe- it was amazing! The beets add a rich flavor (and a pretty color), and the texture is perfectly smooth. I'll definitely use this recipe as a base in the future, and just switch up the "star ingredient". Dan is the hummus connoisseur in our family and eats a tub pretty much daily, and even he agreed that this was just as good as the ones from Trader Joe's, which is our golden standard. 5/5
Cost- Honestly, I picked this recipe because I had everything on hand (thanks to buying beets for the smoothie). The other specialty ingredient in this recipe is tahini, which can be expensive. 3.5/5
Would Make Again- Definitely! I also have chickpeas on hand (I get them dried and always stock up when I'm getting low) and have a ton of tahini, so I'll be making this again and again and tweaking the ingredients. So much cheaper than store-bought! 5/5
Overall- Delicious, easy and simple. Great snack to have on hand! 18.5/20
Spicy Black Beans
(no picture because black beans look kind of gross!)
Taste- These taste find on their own, but I feel like you need to add them to something else. There are so many uses for cooked black beans though, so it was a great food to have on hand. 3/5
Cost- Dried beans are one of the cheapest ingredients out there, and I had everything on hand to cook this. It also makes a TON of food, so the cost per serving has got to be pennies! 5/5
Would Make Again- Maybe. I'm still experimenting with how to use these. They do make a great addition to dishes, and it's great to have them prepped at the beginning of the week. They're really simple to make, but I need to experiment with freezing them to really get a lot of use out of them! I think I'll get tired of them by the time I finish. 3/5
Overall- As Shalane says in the intro to this recipe- there are endless uses for a pot of well-seasoned black beans. I've already used them in a breakfast hash, on top of a baked potato, and I plan on using them in black bean soup and in a vegan crunch wrap supreme. 15.5/20
Oregon Berry Crumble
Ease of Recipe- As far as desserts go, this was really simple. Just mix up your berries with lemon juice and tapioca starch, then mix the crumble, add it on top and bake it. So simple! 5/5
Taste- I really liked this. The tapioca starch helped to "gel" the juices from the berries, so it had a great texture. It wasn't overly sweet at all, but had the natural sugars from the berries adding just enough sweetness to make it taste indulgent. 5/5
Cost- Berries can be expensive depending on when you buy them, and the recipe also calls for tapioca starch. This can be hard to find and expensive, but luckily I had a bag on hand. It's a great way to thicken up recipes, so I love to use it! 2/5
Would Make Again- Yes. It's a simple dessert to throw together. I think it would be great trying out different fruits and experimenting with the crumble topping as well! 5/5
Overall- Great dessert with less guilt. I would even eat this for breakfast! 17/20
Winter Lovers Root Salad
and Creamy Dressing
Ease of Recipe- Roasting vegetables is really easy and something that I do all the time. That's really the only cooking you do for this recipe- otherwise you just toss everything in a bowl. While the veggies were roasting I also made the creamy dressing to go with the salad, and that was as easy as shaking up ingredients in a Mason jar. 4.5/5
Taste- This was so good! I was actually surprised at how much I liked this. I thought it would just be a simple recipe, but roasting the veggies and serving it with the dressing (which was out-of-this-world good) took it up a notch. I'm really impressed! 5/5
Cost- You can customize this recipe depending on what's on sale. I used sweet and regular potatoes, carrots and parsnips, as well as (you guessed it) more beets! 4.5/5
Would Make Again- Yes. For a vegan, I surprisingly don't eat much salad, but this one I will definitely make again. I'll also be making the dressing again and again..it's sooooooo good 5/5
Overall- Delicious, quick, and easy. It's just a salad, but the flavor is incredible. 19/20
As you can tell, I really loved every recipe that I tried in the book. I was surprised at how filling each recipe was, and they seemed perfect for a runner that is experiencing RUNGER (aka wanting to eat ALL THE FOOD during training). I borrowed this book from the library, but I already find myself wanting to go back and try the same recipes over again and test out other ones. I'll be picking this up and would recommend it to runners and non runners alike!
What kinds of cookbooks do you like?
How you you find new recipes to try out?
How often do you try a new recipe? I usually try a new recipe at least three times a week, sometimes even more!