Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Brown Rice Pasta with Kale, Shallots and Hemp Seeds

I raced the Mass State Triathlon a couple weeks ago. I was out and about on Saturday and needed something nutritious and quick and easy for dinner. I am peaking for Timberman 70.3 (a half ironman in August) and had a decent day of training on Saturday since I was not tapering for Mass State. I just was making dinner for just myself, so I made a quick pasta dish. I made the dish from everything that I had in the house already. The basil in our garden smelled so good, so I decided to throw some of that in as well. I had heard that a lot of brown rice pasta is mushy and falls apart, so I had stayed away from it in the past. However, I made this meal with Jovial Brown Rice pasta and LOVED it! I cooked it for a couple minutes less than it called for and the consistency was great and it tasted delicious.

Brown Rice Pasta with Kale and Shallots

1 Package of Brown Rice Pasta
1 head of Kale (stripped and torn off of stems)- I used green curly, but any kind will work (Lacinato, green curly or red kale will all work)
2 Shallots (chopped)- you could substitute with onions if you wish
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped)
3 tablespoons Red pepper flakes (add more if you like it spicy)
Salt and pepper to taste

Start boiling water and follow instructions on box on how to cook pasta.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet
Cook chopped Shallots in skillet for about 2 minutes
Strip and rip the kale into pieces and put in skillet cooking for another 3 or so minutes stirring occasionally.
Once pasta is done and drained, combine kale, shallots, hemp seeds, fresh basil, red pepper flakes, remaining olive oil and salt and pepper.

When creating this dish, I didn't want to go out shopping for ingredients since it was getting late and I need to pack, so I created it from everything in my house and garden. I wanted something easily digestible and I wanted to add a "nutrition punch" to it. Kale and hemp are my two of my favorite powerhouse foods. I add kale and hemp to my smoothies and I sometimes sprinkle hemp seeds on my salads too.

Why Kale?
I could write forever about kale, but I will stick to the highlights. Kale is quite possibly one of the most nutritious foods around. You are certainly getting the most bang for your buck when eating kale- providing an extraordinary about of nutrients per calorie. A dark leafy cruciferous vegetable, it is high in a plethora of vitamins and minerals and has seriously significant anti-cancerous properties. Many studies have shown anti-cancerous effects. It is anti-inflammatory- the combination of the omega 3s in kale and the very high vitamin K content (which helps regulate our body's inflammation process) helps to fight chronic inflammation as well as oxidative stress. Kale also helps to lower cholesterol.

Why Hemp? Hemp is one of my favorite foods. I like to sprinkle the hemp seeds on salads, add hemp to smoothies and I love using hemp milk. It is another one of my power foods (and no it does not contain THC and not just for hippies!) It is a great source of protein and is loaded with essential fatty acids (EFAs) and omega 3s. Because of its globular protein content, it is much more easily digested than soy and whey and a great replacement for soy and whey in a recovery smoothie. It gives any meal a nutritional punch to nourish your cells, blood, tissues, mitochondria and boosts your immune system and cardiovascular health. It is also a very sustainable plant and naturally needs very few pesticides and no herbicides to flourish. I use the Nutiva brand of hemp seeds.

The next day I had a great race. I figured out that this was my first Olympic distance since 2007! All the long course racing squeezed out any time for Olympic distances. The course was not as flat as I thought. The air temp was in the 90s and the water was warm, but wetsuits were allowed since it was less than 76 degrees. The bike course had 2 good climbs. There was some rough road on a long downhill (last year this is where my dad lost all of his electrolytes and fuel when it bounced out of his bento box), so you do have to be careful. The run was fairly flat with some small rollers. I felt great on the run, running the 10k in 45 minutes. I am a big fan of Honey Stinger Organic Chews. My body digests them well and I run well on them. I was really excited when the announced the new flavors of Lime-ade and Pink Lemonade. I finally picked up some at Marathon Sports in Wellesley before the race. They only had the Lime-ade, so I have yet to try the Pink Lemonade. However, the Lime-ade was great and loved that they added their first naturally caffeinated version to their variety of flavors.I will definitely be picking up some more of these to train and race with.

All in all it was well run I had a Personal Record for that distance with a 2:29 and placed 2nd in my age group. It was announced 3rd at the awards ceremony, but the results were messed up, so my dad called and told me I had moved to second as he was checking out the results the next day.

Next post will be a recap of Nantucket Triathlon- we had a great time and some fun stories.


  1. Would you ever substitute the calorie free spray for olive oil?

  2. I wouldn't substitute calorie free spray for olive oil. Mostly because the calorie free sprays are full of additives. They generally aren't calorie free, but since the serving size is so small (1 spray) it can be legally labeled as calorie free. Extra Virgin Olive oil provides numerous health benefits. It is full of healthy fats, has been shown to decrease inflammatory markers in the bloodstream, provides cognitive health and cardiovascular health.