When Biju Thomas figured out he wasn't good enough to be a professional cyclist, he turned to his other passion: cooking. Before long, Thomas was preparing food for cyclists who did go pro, and a few years ago he started writing cookbooks for everyday athletes. His latest, with Allen Lim of Skratch Labs in Boulder, is called "Feed Zone Table: Family-Style Meals to Nourish Life and Sport."

Recipes from "Feed Zone Table"

Guacamole with beans.

(Aaron Colussi)

GUACAMOLE WITH BEANS 

Kept chunky and rustic with red or black beans and chopped herbs, guacamole can be a bright salad packed with good fats and protein. High-quality beans are an economical way to feed more people. This is a crowd-pleaser that you can make last-minute and serve at room temperature. 

Serves 8 

3 ripe avocados, diced large 
¼ cup finely diced red onion 
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 
1 tablespoon diced jalapeño 
juice from half a lime, plus additional to taste 
1 cup canned or cooked red kidney beans or black beans 
1 teaspoon chili powder 
salt and pepper to taste 

ON TOP 

¼ cup thinly sliced onion, sautéed until crisp 
1 ear of fresh sweet corn 
1 small tomato, diced 
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle 
crumbled fresh milk cheese: farmer cheese, queso fresco, or feta (optional) 

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the avocados, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and half the lime juice.  

If you are using canned beans, drain and rinse them before folding into the guacamole. Mix in the chili powder, salt, and pepper, being careful not to crush the beans. 

Taste and add more lime juice and salt and pepper, if needed. Sprinkle with any combination of toppers and serve immediately.

 

MIXED BEAN CURRY 

Mixed bean curry.

(Aaron Colussi)

It probably goes without saying that cooked beans will give this dish a superior texture and flavor... but don’t let that keep you from enjoying this vegetarian curry dish. With canned beans you can be done in about 15 minutes! Any combination of beans will do — I like to use a little of everything. 

Serves 6 

2 tablespoons coconut oil 
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 
1 tablespoon minced garlic 
2 cups diced onions 
¼ cup Madras curry powder 
1 cup puréed or crushed tomatoes, canned or fresh 
4 cups vegetable stock 
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk 
¼ cup minced jalapeño 
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 
salt to taste 
4 15-ounce cans beans (pinto beans, great northern beans, chickpeas, red kidney beans) or 6 cups cooked beans 

ON TOP 
¼ cup plain yogurt 
1 jalapeño, sliced and sprinkled with salt 

Warm the coconut oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté just a minute or two. Then add the onions and cook until they are golden brown on the edges. 

Add the curry powder. Cook, continuously scraping the bottom of the pan, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and stir until combined, then add stock and bring to low rolling boil. 

Stir in the coconut milk until fully incorporated, then add the jalapeño and cilantro. Mix it all together and salt to taste. If using canned beans, drain and rinse them. Add the beans to the pot. Gently fold together without crushing the beans. 

Serve as a hearty soup or over rice with a dollop of plain yogurt and jalapeño to taste.

 

Mac 'n' cheese bolognese.

(Aaron Colussi)

MAC ‘N’ CHEESE BOLOGNESE

Professional cycling teams are served plenty of boiled chicken and overcooked spaghetti when they are traveling from race to race and eating hotel fare. At the 2015 Tour of California, Mark Cavendish requested that we make him some Bolognese. Our team made him a special batch, and he went on to win that day’s stage . . . just saying. 

Serves 6

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni or curly noodles 
1 cup minced bacon 
1 pound ground beef 
½ cup minced onion 
½ cup finely diced carrots 
½ cup minced celery 
2 cloves minced garlic 
½ cup tomato paste 
1 cup dry white wine 
1 cup whole milk 
1 large tomato, diced 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, basil, or a mixture) 
coarse salt and pepper to taste 
freshly grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the pasta as directed on the package. Drain the pasta and set aside. 

Brown the bacon in a heavy pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Add the ground beef and continue to cook until browned. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook until the carrots are tender, about 5–6 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pan. 

Add the tomato paste and use a wooden spoon to fully incorporate it, scraping the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add the white wine, cooking about 5 minutes to reduce the liquid and let the flavors meld. Turn the heat off and quickly stir in the milk until well combined. 

Finish with the diced tomato and fresh herbs, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with pasta and garnish with Parmesan.

 

Republished with permission of VeloPress from Feed Zone Table by chef Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim. Try more recipes at www.feedzonecookbook.com.