Tell Me Tuesday: Pasta Dishes to Fuel Training Runs

This ditalini-and-white-beans recipe might well be my favorite dish. (Photo courtesy of

Know how a vehicle needs the right type of gas to perform at its best? If you drive a Lexus or Volvo, fill it with Plus, while your 1997 Subaru can get along just fine on regular unleaded. I feel it's the same with fuel for running: Sure, I can move down the road okay on some leftover BBQ chicken and salad-from-a-bag, but it's a whole lot easier to cruise on a night-before dinner of pasta and a bit of protein.

Training for a marathon (or half-marathon, which Dimity and I are running in 2.5 weeks--hello, Disneyland Half, where I'll be part of 2:15 pace group, and Dim will be bolstering the efforts of 2:30 runners), I'm acutely reminded of this fact weekly. In  what seems like the blink of an eye, it's, once again, Friday evening, and I have to make a dinner that'll pack a punch for me the next morning. I thumb through my recipe box, looking for just the right recipe that'll help me--and appeal to the four members of my family who aren't going to burn upwards of 1,500 calories the next a.m.

Martha Stewart's version looks a bit more swanky than mine, but mine is still powerfully tasty!

Lately I've been loving on pasta dishes with beans or legumes, including these two dishes. They are easy, tasty, and hearty without feeling gluttonous. Perhaps best of all: Post-run, leftovers can be nuked in a jiffy and gobbled down in that all-important "window of opportunity" for muscle recovery (the 45-60 minutes after exercise). Last Saturday I ran a strong 20 miles. When I got home, 10-year-old Phoebe was eagerly playing, "Restaurant," so she did the heat-and-serve of the penne for me. Pasta-and-beans never tasted so sweet!

Penne with Grape Tomatoes and Mozzarella
(especially love this summery recipe because you don't cook the "sauce")

Ditalini with Pesto, Beans, and Broccoli Rabe
(It's next to impossible to find broccoli rabe in Portland, so I usually sub in baby broccoli from beloved Trader Joe's)

Since I know I'm not the only one always on the prowl for tasty new recipes, please tell us what's your favorite fuel-a-run dinner dish.


14 responses to “Tell Me Tuesday: Pasta Dishes to Fuel Training Runs

  1. rigatoni with zucchini
    cut zucchini into pieces, saute in evoo, cover until it turns to “mush” add some grated parm and serve over rigatoni or any other pasta

  2. Quick and easy ones:
    Any pasta with my homemade pesto that I keep in the freezer, just add some parmesan after mixing the thawed pesto and cooked pasta. I make a batch of pesto about once a year.
    Any pasta with a spicy red sauce (from a jar, but good quality)and add a can of clams.

    Still quick and easy:
    Turkey pesto meatballs and red sauce (still from a jar) with spaghetti. This recipe is on Epicurious.

  3. Shrimp & veggie quinoa.
    Prepare quinoa in rice cooker. (To flavor it up, use 2 parts chicken broth & one part water to cook.) Sautee an assortment of chopped vegetables (I use precut asian stir fry mixed vegetables from trader joe’s) in garlic and olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Add in peeled shrimp, and cook until pink. Set aside. Once the rice cooker turns off, combine the quinoa into the shrimp and vegetable mixture, toss, and devour.

  4. Organic moon’s spinach and cheese ravioli made into Land o lakes recipe for baked raviolis. Dipping sauce and extra pesto sauce on the side. Yummy and everyone is happy.

  5. The ditali dish sounded so tasty that I went shopping for the ingredients and made it for dinner tonight! Yum, my kids (and I) loved it! Thanks!

  6. Mmmmm that sounds so good! I love to have tabbouleh and no need to reheat. Very refreshing. I soak my bulgar in chicken stock too.

  7. We call it SOFOG or KOFOG Spinach (or Kale), Olives (kalamata) Feta onions and garlic…sauteed and tossed with pasta. Favorite comfort food. Also tastes great on rice.

  8. My favorite is spinach, broccoli, zucchini (optional), onions, garlic, and cannelli beans sauteed in olive oil. Toss with whole wheat pasta, sprinkle with parmesean cheese and red pepper flakes, and you’re good to go!

  9. We love the pasta and bean combo-I could give you several, but our fave, we have for lunch. You could have for dinner, too. Just eat more. 🙂 It doesn’t have a name, but it’s Greek-ish:
    Ditalini pasta – maybe a 1/4 of a box, cooked, commbined with:
    1 can garbanzo beans (rinsed)
    1 large can small artichoke hearts, quartered
    grape tomatoes, halved, as many as you like, a little pint basket?
    pepperoncini pepper slices, as many as you like – maybe 1/4 cup
    handful of parsley chopped
    drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar), salt and pepper.
    Top with crumbled feta cheese.
    We also love white beans, ditalini, celery, good tuna, lemon and olive oil.

  10. Mmmmm. Pasta. I like it in all forms but my fave pasta dish right now is the Cake Boss’s Linguine with Shrimp, Spinach and roasted Tomatoes. I can’t find a link and the recipe that I found was more complicated than mine – I got mine from a parenting magazine (either Family Fun or Parenting).

  11. Chopped fresh spinich sautéed with garlic in EVOO. Add cooked angel hair and serve with fresh grated parm and a side of grilled Italian sausage. I am spoiled as I have an Italian deli nearby that makes the sausage from scratch.

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