Eat & Run

My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

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Lentil-Mushroom Burgers (excerpted in Runners World & Outside)

For any reluctant vegan who worries that nothing will ever replace the taste or texture of a juicy beef patty, consider the lentil burger. It might not matter so much that lentils are an excellent source of protein, that they are one of the fastest-cooking legumes, or that they are consumed in large quantities all over Europe, Asia, and Africa (even Idaho!). What will impress you is how tender, juicy, and “meaty” they taste. I grew up grilling over campfires, and I know burgers. These are as delicious as they come. Sometimes I’ll even take a few patties with me on long training runs and races.

  • 1 cup dried green lentils (2 1⁄4 cups cooked)
  • 2 1⁄4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1⁄4 cups finely chopped onion
  • 3⁄4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups fine bread crumbs (see Note)
  • 1⁄2 cup ground flax seed (flax seed meal) 3 cups finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 1⁄2 cups destemmed, finely chopped kale, spinach, or winter greens
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon paprika

In a small pot, bring the lentils, water, parsley, 1 garlic clove, and 1⁄4 cup of the onion to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 35 to 40 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft.

While the lentils are cooking, combine the walnuts, bread crumbs, and flax seed in a bowl. Add the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and paprika and mix well.

Sauté the remaining onion, remaining garlic, the mushrooms, and greens in the oil for 8 to 10 minutes, then set aside. Remove the lentils from the heat, add the vinegar and mustard, and mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon to a thick paste.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the lentils, sautéed veggies, and bread crumb mixtures, and mix well. Cool in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes or more.

Using your hands, form burger patties to your desired size and place on waxed paper. Lightly fry in a seasoned skillet, broil, or grill until lightly browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Extra uncooked patties can be frozen on wax paper in plastic bags or wrapped

Green Power Pre-Workout Drink

Hippie Dan first taught me the importance of greens like spirulina and wheatgrass. Spirulina is a green algae said to have been carried into battle by Aztec warriors. Used for centuries as a weight-loss aid and immune-booster, it has lately been studied and shown promising results as a performance enhancer for long-distance runners. Because spirulina is marketed as a dietary supplement rather than a food, the FDA does not regulate its production; buy it only from a health food store and a brand you trust.

Packed with protein (spirulina is a complete protein) and rich in vitamins and minerals, this smoothie is an excellent source of nutrition. For a little extra carbohydrate boost, replace 1 cup water with 1 cup apple or grape juice.

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh mango or pineapple chunks
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons spirulina powder
  • 1 teaspoon miso

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is completely smooth. Drink 20 to 30 ounces (21⁄2 to 33⁄4 cups) 15 to 45 minutes before a run.

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