The Perfect Post-Run Meal

I have a very brief window between finishing an intense cardiovascular exercise and needing food in my stomach or oh my god I’m going to freak out. This sometimes limits dinner choices to anything that can be thrown together faster than my hypoglycemia can set in. Luckily, I exercised some foresight yesterday and was able to do a gnarly pre-dinner workout and make a decent meal afterwards: Eggplant Involtini.

One of the features in this month’s Vegetarian Times is a compilation of vegan entrees that don’t use meat substitutes. Instead, these recipes rely on fresh vegetables, grains and legumes for their nutrients and flavors. The Eggplant Involtini immediately jumped out.

The beauty of the recipe is that half of it can be prepared earlier in the day, leaving only a tiny bit of legwork right before serving. In the afternoon while doing some work, I roasted eggplant, onion, garlic and tomato.

post roast.

This pan then went into the food processor with capers, kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, basil, parsley and nutritional yeast and pulsed until it was blended, yet chunky. I stashed the meaty filling in a tupperware, and Shaun and I headed out for our training run.

Yesterday it was about 60 degrees at 5PM, perfect weather for our first run outdoors in ages, and our longest run to-date. We completed a steady 10.5-miler, tackling some monstrous hills and testing out my Garmin Forerunner 405CX for the first time in C’Ville. I love this watch [thanks, mom and dad!]. At first, I thought the beep every mile would turn me into a crazy person [oh my god, we’ve still got 8 miles to go], but it was actually extremely motivating. The home screen logs time, distance, pace and GPS so you don’t have to push anything while you’re running. I’d say the only downside of this watch is that it’s got a touch-sensitive bezel ring that I kept bumping when I tried to pull my sleeves over my arms.

There’s something about running outdoors that’s much more motivating than a treadmill. Although we agreed our legs felt like jello because of the crazy inclines around town [coming up from the Rivanna River to Locust Avenue is literally the most miserable hill in the history of hills, anyone who ran that 10K knows what I’m talking about], we also agreed that we could have kept going [albeit slowly on my part!]. I didn’t notice any pain from my stress fracture, and my legs felt light and fast. The air was so crisp and the scenery can’t be beat, either. It looks like we’ll complete the half marathon in around 2 hours, depending on adrenaline, which was what I was hoping for. Just a few more weeks to go!

After a quick walk around Belmont [because I was afraid of stopping my legs] and a long stretch, I set out to finish dinner. In hindsight, I wish I would have had the foresight to anticipate the post-run numbness in my hands, which made assembling dinner pretty damn difficult. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but sometimes after workouts I lose feeling in my fingers. They turn bright white and it’s difficult to move them. For some reason, last night the numbness stretched into my palms. Does anyone else have this problem? It doesn’t matter whether it’s an indoor or outdoor workout, or whether it’s warm or cold outside, it always happens.

I persevered and assembled the involtini [slowly but surely]. First, four slices of eggplant were pan-seared until soft. Then, I put together my work station:

Spoon the filling in, roll it up slowly, and put the rolls into a baking dish.

Top with half a cup of diced tomatoes and some gouda, and bake for 10 minutes. The Veg. Times recipe is actually vegan, but we had some 4-year gouda in the fridge from a week ago that I thought we should use up – so I just sprinkled about 2 grated tablespoons on top.


We served this with the 2009 Gewurztraminer we bought at White Hall last week – the mild sweetness was a great complement to the savory dish. It felt really nice to slowly, slowly sip a bottle of wine over a few hours. OH! By the way, we ran into one of the sisters from Stinson at Whole Foods on Friday. She remembered us and we had a great talk. I promised her we’d be back their way ASAP and you all better be joining us…

Back to the meal: eggplant is a fantastic meat substitute. Mixed with all of those fillings it tasted almost like meat lasagna. I LOVED this dish. But then again, I can’t remember the last time Vegetarian Times led me astray. Vegetables are also a perfect post-run fuel. I couldn’t have asked for more. Well, maybe seconds.

Dinner also included The Help, which I surprised myself by loving. I think I might check out the book. Any thoughts?

Eggplant Involtini (Vegetarian, Vegan Option)

Adapted from the March 2012 Vegetarian Times “Vegan Gourmet,” p.52

Prep Time: ~50 minutes

Serves: 2


  • 1 eggplant, the center cut into four, long thin slices, the rest cubed
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-2 tbsp bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • (optional) cheese to sprinkle on top; salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the eggplant, tomato, onion and garlic in the bragg’s, salt and pepper and one teaspoon of olive oil. Spread onto a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool.

2. Put the mixture from the baking pan into the food processor with the sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, nutritional yeast, parsley and basil and pulse until combined but still chunky. At this point, you can keep the mixture in the fridge until you’re ready to cook dinner.

3. Make sure the oven is still at 375 degrees. In a pan, saute the four strips of eggplant (I used the second teaspoon of oil and some water to steam) until soft. Lay out on a paper towel to cool.

4. Spoon the filling onto the eggplant, roll them into large rolls and stick a toothpick in them to hold them together. Arrange in a lightly greased baking pan.

5. Cover with half a can of diced tomatoes and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or cheese, if you’d like. Bake for 10 minutes.

6. Serve warm with fresh basil on top.


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Categories: Food, Recipes


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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4 Comments on “The Perfect Post-Run Meal”

  1. Long Run for Dessert
    March 4, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    That looks delicious and thanks for sharing the recipe. I run a ton and this is definitely something I’ll keep in mind for a post-run dinner

    • March 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      Thanks! Yeah, it’s a totally different type of carb than what you usually eat after a long run, but it honestly made me feel great.


  1. My Running Essentials | Ryes and 'Shine - March 5, 2012

    […] Forerunner 405CX, Heart Rate Monitor, and Foot Pod: I mentioned in my last post how grateful I am for this holiday gift from my parents. It’s one of the fanciest pieces of […]

  2. Pizza Night | Ryes and 'Shine - March 6, 2012

    […] second: a new batch of the filling from Saturday’s Eggplant Involtini with parmesan, part-skim mozzarella, and fresh parsley. I grated all of the cheeses by hand, too. […]

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