A Bite Inspired by… Running:
Cashew butter smoothie with oats and celery blended in? Trust me, it’s delicious. This smoothie is thick, velvety, and surprisingly decadent paired with a versatile white bean dip, crunchy raw veggies, and crispy salami chips for the perfect, healthy snack! All inspired by my weekly 10K training and a scintillating childhood memory (I know you’re intrigued), this snack is perfect for any activity that requires a boost of energy!
So confession… I hate running. I know. I know. It’s amazing cardio, heart healthy, and a killer leg workout. But, honestly, it’s just hard to get myself up for a jog when I could spend an extra hour in bed. Out of all the different workouts I do on a regular basis, running is the one I really have to push myself to do. The good news is that after I come back from a run, I always feel amazing… and hungry. I realized over time that the better I fueled myself before and after a run, the better I feel and the more I actually want to go running. A lot of people talk about eating tons of carbs for running long distances, but I’ve personally found that for shorter runs, protein before and after is what really gets me going.
Enter: running snacks. I’ve created two delicious, healthy, and protein packed snacks inspired by running… or, rather, inspired by my search to make running more tolerable. You can have them both together or separately. Either way, I guarantee that if you have these before or after running, they’ll make you feel better about it. Promise. Or, alternatively, if you’re just not a runner, these snacks are great for anytime you need a bit of extra fuel: mid-afternoon workday snack, fuel for playing with the kids, or anything really.
There’s a fun snack from when I was a kid that always makes me think of running: ants on a log. If you’ve never heard of them before, they’re basically cut up pieces of celery filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins. When I was in elementary school, we had “field day” every June. Every kid in the class looked forward to it because 1) it was like 2 weeks before the end of school so we all associated it with summer (I thought summer break came BECAUSE of field day), 2) we got to do all sorts of fun outdoor activities like relay races and parachute games (remember those?) to “win” snacks. And yep, you guessed it. The snacks we won? Ants on a log.
Due to this warm and fuzzy childhood memory, my running snacks are also inspired by ants on a log—the adult versions. The first is a “Ants on a Log Smoothie”. This smoothie is great pre-workout fuel for about 90 minutes before your run. It’s made to mimic the flavors of ants on a log with delicious and healthy ingredients, such as celery, cashew butter, and grape jelly. The super special ingredient in this smoothie is rolled oats. They add some extra carbs and a healthy dose of protein to this amazing drink. It’s creamy from the oats and refreshing from the celery with a touch of sweetness from the grape jelly. I made my version with cashew butter and cashew milk, but you can obviously use peanut butter or almond butter instead, as well as any other milk you want.
The second snack is a savory one that mimics ants on a log visually. It’s a bright and creamy white bean spread on top of celery and zucchini with crispy salami on top to mimic the “ants” from the original version. The white bean spread is super silky from the texture of the beans with a bright pop of acid from the lemon— addicting! You can also spread this on crackers or anything else you like. The salami adds a nice pop of salt, flavor, crunch, and color, but you can omit this if you want for a completely vegan snack (it’s already dairy-free and egg-free). I like my dip chunky and I appreciate the arm workout of mashing it by hand, but if you prefer you can put the dip in the food processor for an even smoother texture. I also sometimes serve this snack with sliced avocado on the side for a little extra boost of healthy fat.
Enjoy and keep running (no matter how hard it is)! The payoff is worth it… especially when the payoff is this amazing smoothie and white bean dip. 😉 Whether you actually run or not, you will feel healthy and rejuvenated after one or both of these snacks!
- 6 stalks of celery, rinsed and dried
- ½ cup cashew milk
- ¼ cup rolled oats (be sure to choose gluten-free rolled oats, if you have a gluten intolerance)
- 4 tablespoons white grape juice
- 4 tablespoons cashew butter
- 1 tablespoon grape jelly
- 1 large handful ice
- Cut the bottoms off celery. Reserve 2 stalks with leaves for garnish.
- Cut the tops off the remaining 4 stalks of celery. Discard. Cut the rest of the celery into 2 inch pieces.
- Add cut up celery and all other ingredients, excluding the ice, into the blender. Stir and allow the oats to soak for 10 minutes until softened. Add the ice.
- Blend on high (I used ice crush mode) for 20-30 seconds until smooth.
- Pour into two tall glasses. Add reserved celery stalks to glass as stirrers. Enjoy immediately.
- 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed (Great Northern or Cannellini work great for this!)
- 6 thin slices salami (I used Genoa Salami)
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Sliced raw celery and zucchini, for serving
- Sliced avocado, for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange salami on foil and bake at 425 for about 15 minutes or until sizzling and crispy. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Add white beans, rosemary, lemon juice, and olive oil to a medium sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until smooth with some small chunks of beans.
- Crumble salami with fingers.
- Use fork to spread bean dip onto celery and zucchini pieces. Top with crispy salami pieces.
- If using, season sliced avocado with a little salt and pepper and serve alongside. Enjoy!
I prefer my dip to be slightly chunky in texture, but if you want a smoother dip, you can put the beans in the food processor instead of mashing them by hand.
If you want the recipe to be completely vegan, simply omit the salami and add a little extra salt to the dip.