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Race you to the stove

A speedy supper with excellent health credentials? Bring out this easy-peasy spinach and chickpea curry pronto, garçon.

It’s hard enough trying to whizz up a speedy supper on a frenetic weekday evening, let alone a speedy supper that’s packed with nutrients. Which is why I’m a big fan of The Runner’s Cookbook by Anita Bean – brilliantly appropriate surname, by the way. A health writer and athlete, Anita’s recipes are ideal for those of us who exercise but then arrive home ravenous and hit the biscuits (I never do this, obviously. Ahem.)

Despite the book’s title, you don’t have to be Jo Pavey (who wrote the foreword, incidentally) to tuck in to this tome – the nutritionally balanced meals and snacks work for anyone who’s trying to combine any kind of exercise regime with eating well. And if you are training for a race, be it a gentle park run or an ultra-marathon, there’s loads of brilliant advice here too. Right, over to you, Anita, what’s cooking?



Chickpea and spinach curry  (serves 4)

Packed with protein, fibre, iron and vitamin C, this is one of my go-to meals when I’m short on time and my fridge is practically empty. The best thing about this recipe is that it can be assembled almost entirely from store cupboard ingredients (if you use frozen rather than fresh spinach) and requires very little chopping!

Photo: Adrian Lawrence


1 tbsp light olive oil/rapeseed oil

1 onion, chopped

3–4 garlic cloves, crushed

2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1⁄2 red chilli (or to taste), finely chopped

2 tbsp mild curry paste (or to taste)

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

2 × 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed

200ml hot water

200g fresh or frozen spinach

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

A handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Squeeze of lemon juice

To serve

Wholegrain rice and Greek yogurt



  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook over a medium heat for five minutes until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, and curry paste. Cook over a moderate heat for a further minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and hot water.
  4. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach has wilted.
  6. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the fresh coriander and lemon juice.


The Runner’s Cookbook: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes to Fuel Your Running by Anita Bean is out now 

Find more ideas here

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