What fuels your running?
Pinole (pronounced [pee'-nolay] or [pe-ao'-lay]) is a Mexican term that refers to a large set of foods made from parched and ground corn. The meal, referred to as masa harina, is traditionally combined with sugar and water to make the beverage known as piuul or pinullo (pronounced [pe-nool'-lyo]).
The other major component of the Tarahumara diet is an astonishing little seed we’ve come to associate with terra-cotta animals. For the uninitiated, chia is a member of the mint family grown mostly in warm climates like Mexico. Whole, they look like this:
In addition to sporting an impressive nutrient profile, there are several great reasons to add chia to your diet. As such, we’ll be including them in this recipe.
If you want to fuel your runs like the superhuman athletes of the Sierra Madres, this pinole recipe is a good place to start. Modified to satisfy even the strongest sweets craving, this recipe is a perfect way to incorporate a healthy, whole food into your pre or post-run diet.
And, thus, I present my favorite variation of the Tarahumara pinole recipe…
½ cup masa harina (or finely ground cornmeal)
1 ounce chia seed, ground
1½ tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1 tablespoon natural vanilla extract
½ to ¾ cup water
chopped almonds or other nut (optional)
- Before you begin, set the oven to 350° to let it preheat while you deal with the prep work. This will save you some time at the end.
- Toast the masa harina (or cornmeal) in a thick pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the meal is lightly browned and pungent.
- Put the toasted cornmeal into a medium bowl. Mix in the ground chia seed, cocoa, and sugar.
- Slowly stir the vanilla and water into the dry ingredients. The texture you are looking for is somewhere between a thick batter and oatmeal. The thinner the mixture, the moister (but also the more fragile) the final product.
- Put the pinole mixture into a 9″x5″ loaf pan, optionally top with chopped almonds or other nuts, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
Makes 4 servings
As you can see, the final nutrient profile for these bars (excluding the almonds) is really quite healthy, even if it doesn’t taste like it.
Find Ingredients And Additional Recipes
If you’re having trouble finding masa harina and chia seeds, I typically order my supply through iHerb.com. First time shoppers can use the coupon code RUF029 to knock $5.00 off your first order. And, as a bonus, orders made using the coupon code help support articles like this one.
Finally, if you’re looking for additional recipes to help you fuel your runs like the Tarahumara, you should check out No Meat Athlete’s recipe book: Fuel Your Run The Tarahumara Way! Matt’s vegetarian-friendly pinole recipes will definitely become some of your favorite running fuel. The pinole buckwheat pancakes alone are reason enough for me to affiliate this one.
Do you fuel like the Tarahumara? What other recipes have you found for chia seeds or pinole? Share your favorites in the comments!
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