Sautéed chickpeas and feta cheese take center stage in this light, fresh spinach salad created by Karhu-sponsored athlete Jenny Eggers. Spinach, like other leafy greens, is an excellent source of fiber, beta-carotene, iron and Vitamins C and E. Enjoy this springy dish at lunch or dinner for a healthy boost of nutrients and tasty flavors.
THE CREATOR: Eggers recently ran the Nashville Country Music Marathon and ING New York City Marathon in addition to competing in Ironman Switzerland and Ironman Lake Placid. "This past year, I've really become a recreational runner," she says. "I plan to do Bay to Breakers this year in San Francisco." A high jumper on the University of Oregon track team, it wasn't until after college that Eggers got involved in triathlons and marathons.
A New York City-based freelance copywriter, Eggers writes marketing taglines for Karhu, Moving Comfort and Bike Sherpa, among others. She attributes her runs in Central Park to helping get her creative juices flowing. "I'll give myself an assignment in my head, and then go out for a run--that's when the ideas will come to me," she says. "I always carry a pen and paper with me just in case!"
Allergies to many types of fruits and vegetables prompted Eggers to create unique salad recipes. "It's a challenge for me to eat salads, but I'm learning to make different types that I can actually eat," she says. Ingredients in this spinach salad include hard-boiled eggs, feta cheese and sautéed chickpeas. "The crunchy chickpeas are an invention of my twin sister, Michele," Eggers says. "They are always a huge hit at parties."
THE NUTRITIONIST'S TAKE: Matthew Kadey, RD, says this salad has a good mix of carbs and protein for post- workout muscle recovery. It has a high sodium intake because of the canned chickpeas and feta cheese, which is useful for replacing sodium levels after a sweaty run. But you may want to cut out the added salt if eating this at other times. There is a good amount of fiber, which helps promote satiety to prevent overeating.
Crunchy Chickpea Spinach Salad
- 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
- 2 hard-boiled eggs (use whites only)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 of a large lemon
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
First, wash and pat dry spinach and place on large plate. Top with hard-boiled egg whites and feta cheese. To make chickpeas, heat olive oil over medium to high heat. Empty can of washed and drained chickpeas into pan. Allow to sizzle, stirring occasionally. Watch out for splatters, as the chickpeas tend to "jump" in the pan. Squeeze half of a large lemon over the chickpeas as they cook. Cook about 10 minutes, or until chickpeas are golden brown. Sprinkle with salt. Scoop onto salad. Mix salad so that olive oil from the chickpeas becomes a light dressing. Makes one serving.
Note: The crunchy chickpeas make a great snack by themselves. Sprinkle them with parsley and serve as a party food or eat them out of a bowl like popcorn. Best when still warm.
Nutritional info per serving: 457 calories, 33 g fat (7 g saturated fat); 30 g carbohydrates (6 g fiber, 1 g sugar) 13 g protein