Gluten-Free Vegetarian Meals for Runners

As runners, we obviously need our carbohydrates to fuel our workouts, but if you are anything like me most of those carbs tend to come from mostly wheat/gluten-based foods. I do not have a gluten sensitivity or allergy like a couple of my friends, but I have learned recently that too much can leave me feeling bloated and heavy at times. However, as a vegetarian runner, it can be challenging to find meals that are filling AND have enough protein to satisfy the hunger that comes with marathon training. I often fall into the routine of having gluten-based food at every meal: cereal, sandwiches, pasta, pancakes, pizza, bread, bagels, wraps, granola bars, etc. It can get to be a little much. While I will never most likely never eat entirely gluten-free, it doesn’t hurt to have a little more balance in my diet. I have been looking for different recipes that we could eat for dinners and lunches, and have found some that we really like!

Here are six gluten-free and protein packed vegetarian meals, perfect for runners! Tested and approved by my husband, my toddler, and myself!

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake. This is from the blog Two Peas and Their Pod, which has become my go-to for recipes. Every single thing we have tried from here has been delicious. We like this blog because it’s written by a husband and wife- she is a vegetarian but her husband eats meat (like mine does on occasion), so the vegetarian meals they make are hearty, flavorful, and satisfying enough to make our hubbies not miss the meat at all. This recipe is so, so good. We love Mexican-inspired food and we’ve really been into quinoa lately (as you will see)- it’s gluten-free and has a ton of protein! We served this meal with homemade baked corn tortilla chips. We make them by spraying a baking sheet with olive oil spray, slicing up corn tortillas into triangles and spreading them out on it, spraying the tops, and sprinkling them with salt. Then we baked them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until they were crispy, watching them very carefully to make sure they don’t burn. I usually flip them over about half way through.


Spaghetti Squash. I don’t really know what to call this- Nicole’s Spaghetti Squash? My friend told me how she prepares hers and I just followed her directions. It’s simple and can be customized however you want. Here are the basics: Roast a spaghetti squash and scrape out the “noodles” (I used this tutorial), chop up any veggies you have and sauté them in a pan with olive oil. I used bell pepper, red onion and zucchini. Nicole also uses spinach but we were out.  I also sautéed some chickpeas with the veggies for extra protein. Toss the spaghetti squash and the veggie mixture together with Asiago cheese- however much you prefer (this part is KEY!). The cheese gives it an amazing flavor, and it really does feel like you are eating pasta. This recipe makes a ton too, and it is delicious leftover. I can’t wait to make it again.

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It was delicious for lunch the next day!

Red Lentil Enchiladas. I am pretty sure I’ve shared this recipe before, but it remains my husband’s favorite meal and I love it too. He requests this every couple of weeks and says it never gets old. It’s from the Peas and Thank You cookbook. I used to be able to link to the recipe on her blog but she has recently shut it down, so I linked to an article about her that features this recipe instead. I used Daiya vegan cheese on my half because too much dairy = unhappy tummy. Her cookbook is definitely worth buying- we’ve made almost every recipe in it and they have all been awesome. If you use corn tortillas, this meal is gluten-free. It makes a ton of leftovers too!

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Roasted Chickpea Tacos. We loooooove these tacos! While I was typing up this post my husband looked over and said, “Oooh, can we have those next week?” Haha! You can find the chickpea recipe here, and then to make the tacos we just put them inside corn tortilla shells with salsa, guacamole, and any other toppings you like. The chickpeas are really good leftover on top of a salad too.


Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes with Avocado-Lime Dressing. A friend of mine shared this recipe with me because she thought I would like it. She was totally right! These cakes have a great balance of sweet and savory flavor and go really well with the sauce- although I am not the biggest tahini fan and would probably skip that ingredient in the dressing next time and add more lime juice/olive oil instead. We made them with baked kale chips on the side. If you haven’t tried kale chips yet, you have to! They are so delicious!


Quinoa Bowls. This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a “throw everything you have together to clean out your fridge” concept. But it turned out really good! I made extra quinoa when I made the sweet potato cakes to have for lunches during the week (told you we love quinoa around here). The next day I threw it in a bowl with some black beans, roasted red pepper, red onion, cilantro, and the rest of the avocado-lime dressing above. It was creamy and really good. I make random bowls like this often, and they are always super satisfying!

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Those are just some of the gluten-free meals we’ve been enjoying lately. I love keeping track of the recipes we try on the blog, and sometimes when I’m meal planning I scroll through my “food” category page for ideas. I hope this gives some other people a few ideas as well!

I always love trying new recipes- do you have any good ones to share? Gluten-free or not!

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