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Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend Newsletter
Current Issue: November 2013


November 2013

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers

How to follow up the amazing post-workout banana-chocolate smoothie from last month? How about this great vegan, gluten-free recipe from Pulse reader Annie Shillington?

Mashing of ingredients about to begin.

After taking a quick glance over the ingredients, a couple of things struck us. Number one, this would get us back on the right nutritional track after eating one too many servings of steak tartare on a recent trip to France. Number two, what the heck is Nutritional Yeast? After consulting this appropriately named blog post, off to the local health food store we went where the mysterious ingredient was easy to find in the bulk section.

This was simple, fun and easy to make. There is something gratifying about mashing up so much colourful and nutritious stuff together to make a burger. Nope, this ain’t no average quarter pounder—especially when the only salsa on hand is extra-hot. We paired these with some goat’s cheese and a simple salad. Delicious.

As Annie points out in her notes below, these also make great leftovers. One was even consumed cold, without utensils, on a late-minute dash to yoga class. Just try that with a Big Mac.


  • 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup uncooked Quinoa
  • 1 can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp Salsa
  • 4 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup bread crumbs, or for gluten - free, Nature's Path Mesa Sunrise cereal works (what I usually use), measure 1 cup of cereal and grind in (mini) food processor


  1. Pre-Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Scrub sweet potatoes, either steam in microwave until tender (make pricks in skin with a fork to let steam out), or peel and steam on stove.
  3. Cook quinoa according to package instructions, rinse prior to cooking if package does not say pre-rinsed.
  4. Dice onion and mince garlic.
  5. Heat olive oil in skillet on stove over medium-high heat, add onions and garlic and sautee until translucent, approx. 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add steamed sweet potato to a large bowl, if steamed in microwave, let cool for a few minutes before scooping the flesh out with a spoon.
  7. Add black beans,cooked quinoa, bread crumbs (ground cereal), nutritional yeast, salsa, salt, pepper, lime juice and onion/garlic mixture (let cool a few minutes).
  8. With clean hands, mix everything together, making sure it is not too hot to handle.
  9. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray (to prevent burgers from sticking).
  10. Shape into patties and place on cookie sheet (mixture will be sticky, if really wet/runny, add more bread/cereal crumbs). You will have around 8-10 burgers, depending on the size of sweet potatoes used.
  11. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a slight crust forms on the bottom. Flip gently, return to oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes.

Annie Says:
“Because there is nothing raw in this mixture, it can be tasted during mixing to allow for personal adjustments and add-ins for spice/flavour level.

Serve on a whole grain bun, or alone with a side of veggies for an awesome meal the whole family with actually eat! Toppings (or just plain) are endless. Traditional ketchup, tomato, lettuce, are a hit, or try avocado and salsa for something different.

This burger is great cold or heated up the next day. It has carbs and a ton of vitamins and minerals from the sweet potato for energy/recovery, protein and fibre from the black beans and quinoa, and great flavour from the salsa, and extra B12 from the nutritional yeast. They are always a hit!”

Thanks Annie for the great recipe!!

Have a recipe? We’re always looking to try new, healthy, running-inspired recipes. Send them our way at [email protected].

November 2013

Fall Nutrition means Winter Squash!

By Beth Mansfield

This month’s sweet potato recipe got us thinking about those other orange-fleshed foods that are in plentiful supply at this time of year: squash. Similar to sweet potatoes, squash are a good source of beta-carotene, carbs and vegetable protein. So, when you’re done with the sweet potato and black bean burgers, try the pumpkin bar recipe at the end of this article.

Winter squash such as butternut, acorn squash, and pumpkins are all in the same family. Winter squash has a tough rind, which allows for storage during the winter months. Storing and preparing squash prolongs the vegetable's quality, ensuring it tastes as sweet and buttery as when you bought it. Squash contains many different nutrients, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium and fibre.

Health Benefits of Winter Squash

  • High in fibre, nutrient dense, the bright orange color of pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, buttercup squash and all the many varieties of winter squash are a dead giveaway that they are loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease. Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.
  • Squash is potassium rich. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure and is an important electrolyte for both heart and muscle function.
  • Winter squash is an excellent source of vitamin C, which aids in wound healing and is important for gum health. Growth and repair of tissues depends on vitamin C. Cartilage, scar tissue, ligaments and blood vessels depend on vitamin C for development. Vitamin C rich foods also help your body to better absorb iron from foods.

Weight Management Benefits of Winter Squash

  • Low calorie, nutrient dense foods that are a source of carbohydrate for working muscles (we are talking vegetables here!) should make up most of your plate. This can help to satisfy your hunger without the higher calorie, starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, and pasta.
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds can help take the edge of your appetite while providing iron for endurance, zinc for immune function and a dose of healthy unsaturated fats for muscle energy!

Athletic Performance Benefits of Winter Squash

Carbohydrates and protein are important to working muscles, before, during and after training. Get ready for action with a pre-workout snack of pumpkin nut bars; refuel and rehydrate after training with acorn squash soup.

Pumpkin Nut Bars

  • 1 cup cooked pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (melted)
  • 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup chopped salted peanuts, pecans, or almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat egg whites slightly; add pumpkin and melted butter or margarine beat until smooth.
  2. In another bowl combine oats, brown sugar, coconut, wheat germ, and nuts.
  3. Fold oat mixture into pumpkin mixture to form stiff dough.
  4. Press dough into a lightly greased 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 inch jelly-roll pan.
  5. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. While still warm, cut into 2x3 inch bars. Yield about 30 bars. Serve warm or cool completely.

Winter Squash - Nutrition Facts

(1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, without salt)
Approximate Calories 50-60 kcal Protein 2-3 grams
Carbohydrate 1-14 grams
Dietary Fibre 2-3 grams
Calcium 35-45 mg
Iron 1.2-1.5 mg
Magnesium 20-30 mg
Potassium 500-600 mg

Beth Mansfield is a Sport Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist. For more nutrition information from Beth and a list of upcoming sport nutrition workshops, visit

Run Ottawa Club