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Eat Your Vegetables! Team USA Athletes Share Their Favorite Recipes

By Lisa Costantini | June 15, 2017, 2:23 p.m. (ET)

Rico Roman's recipe for slow cooker beef chili, pictured, is included below.


If everyone ate as healthy as Olympic and Paralympic athletes, there probably wouldn’t be a need for Eat Your Vegetables Day. It’s a day meant to get people to dine on veggies and bring awareness to a more nutritious way of life.

In honor of the annual holiday, we asked five Team USA athletes to share with us their favorite recipes that included — you guessed it — vegetables!

Don’t worry; National Ice Cream Day is exactly one month later (on July 17). But just like your parents used to warn, if you don’t finish all your vegetables you don’t get dessert!

For more delicious and nutritious recipes like the ones below, visit Cooking With Team USA.

Gracie Gold, figure skating


Prep time
15 mins

Cook time
1 hour 20 mins

6-8 servings



  • 2 large spaghetti squash (~3-4 pounds each)


  •  3-4 Tbsp (45-60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for squash
  •  Sea salt + black pepper, to taste (~1/2 tsp each), plus more for squash
  •  2 lemons, juiced (~1/3 cup or 80 ml)
  •  12 ounces (340 g) extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed dry for 10 minutes
  •  3 Tbsp (9 g) nutritional yeast
  •  1/2 cup (30 g) fresh basil, packed
  •  1 Tbsp (3 g) dried oregano
  •  1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese, plus more for serving 


  •  Vegan parmesan cheese
  •  25 ounces (708 g) favorite marinara/red sauce
  •  Optional: Fresh basil, chopped
  •  Optional: Red pepper flakes   


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and line a large baking sheet with foil.
  • Carefully halve your spaghetti squash lengthwise using a sharp knife. I find the best way is to pierce the skin with the very tip of the knife and push it all the way through to the other side. Rock the knife back and forth to cut one half all the way through, then repeat on the other side.
  • Use an ice cream scoop (or sharp spoon) to scrape out the seeds and most of the stringy parts. It should appear pretty clean.
  • Brush the interior with oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, or until a knife can easily pierce the skin and flesh. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Also reduce oven heat to 375 degrees F (190 C).
  • In the mean time, add all tofu-filling ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed. You are looking for a semi-pureed mixture with bits of basil still intact.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper for flavor, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, and lemon juice for brightness.
  • Once fully baked and slightly cooled, use a fork to scoop out spaghetti squash into fine strings. Set aside.
  • Lightly grease a 9x13-inch (or similar size) baking dish and lay down 1/3 of the squash. Top with several spoonfuls of tofu ricotta, then pour on a layer of marinara sauce. Repeat until all ricotta filling and marinara is used up - about 3 layers. Make sure the top layer is sauce.
  • Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F (190 C). Then remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the top is golden brown. Cover with foil if the squash is browning too quickly.
  • Let cool briefly, then serve with desired toppings (listed above). I prefer red pepper flakes and vegan parmesan cheese. Fresh basil adds a nice pop of color.
  • Best when fresh. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven for 20-25 minutes or until completely warmed through.

“I use apple seed oil instead of olive oil,” said Gold about the recipe she got from the Minimalist Baker. “And sometimes I add protein. The base recipe is vegan, but it doesn’t have to be at all!


Tony Azevedo, water polo



  • 12 oz uncooked whole wheat pasta 
  • 6 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets, no stems
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • When water boils, add pasta and broccoli at the same time and cook according to pasta instructions for al dente.
  • When pasta is almost done cooking, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and broccoli.
  • Return the pot to the stove and set heat to high; add 1 tbsp olive oil, when hot, add garlic. Cook until golden, reduce flame to low and add pasta back to the pot.
  • Mix well, add remaining olive oil, grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste mixing well and smashing any large pieces of broccoli to break up.
  • Add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water and mix well adding more if needed.
  • Serve in pasta bowls with additional grated cheese on the side.

“Simple and easy,” Azevedo said. “And I always add a ton of chili pepper flakes to make it spicy.”


Molly Huddle, track and field



  • 1.5 cups baby kale
  • .5 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup cashews ( roasted with salt are good)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Pinch of Salt and pepper
  • Pasta of choice 
  • Whole red pepper
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 450 and half and core the pepper . Drizzle with olive oil and roast about 20-25 minutes until skin bubbles/browns.
  • While pepper is roasting gather the pesto ingredients (basil, kale, cashews, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper) in a food processor and blend about a minute or until desired consistency.
  • Boil water and add pasta as per directions (depends on kind of pasta used — I like lentil or quinoa noodles for some extra protein and nutrition). At same time you can steam the broccoli in another pot.
  • Once red pepper has cooled remove and discard skins and chop pepper. Also chop cooled broccoli and mix with the drained noodles.
  • Mix in the pesto and add drizzle of olive oil , cheese and basil leaf to garnish.

“I made it as a side,” Huddle said, “but adding shrimp or chicken makes it a solid meal.”


Meghan Duggan, ice hockey

ULTIMATE GREEN TACO WRAPS (Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free)

8 large tacos (approximately)

Prep Time
30 Minutes

Cook Time
30 Minutes


For the lentil-walnut taco meat (makes 2 1/2 cups):

  • 1 cup uncooked French green lentils (*you will use 1 3/4 cups cooked lentils)
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water

For the toppings and wraps:

  • 1 to 2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Cashew Sour Cream
  • Diced tomatoes or salsa
  • Green onion
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Lettuce wraps (large romaine, iceberg, or butter lettuce leaves)
  • Other topping options: sliced avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, etc.


  • Cook the lentils: Rinse lentils in a fine mesh sieve. Add to a medium pot along with a few cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until tender (cook time will vary depending on the type of lentils you use—see package). Drain off excess water.
  • Toast the walnuts: Preheat oven to 300°F. Add walnuts onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 to 13 minutes, watching closely, until lightly golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  • Sauté the pepper and onion filling: Add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of oil into a large skillet or wok. Cook the onion and peppers over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, reducing heat if necessary and stirring frequently, until translucent.
  • Prepare the taco meat: Add 1 3/4 cups cooked lentils (you'll have some leftover) and all the toasted walnuts into a food processor and pulse until chopped (make sure to leave texture). Stir or pulse in the oregano, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Stir in the oil and the water until combined.
  • Prepare the rest of your vegetable toppings and wash and dry the lettuce wraps.
  • Assemble: Add a large lettuce leaf onto a plate, top with taco meat, sautéed peppers and onion, and the rest of your desired toppings.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in sealed containers to be enjoyed the next couple days. The cashew cream will keep for at least a week in the fridge. Use sour cream leftovers on sandwiches, wraps, stirred into salad dressings, on vegan nachos, or with chili or soup.


  • *To save time, you can use one (15-ounce) can of lentils (drained and rinsed) instead of cooking the lentils from scratch. When I have time, I love to cook French green lentils due to their chewy texture, but regular green and brown lentils will work, too. Do not use red lentils as they are much too mushy and don't have the required chewy texture for this recipe.
  • Make it nut-free: I haven't tried this yet, but you could try subbing the walnuts for 1/2-3/4 cup toasted pepita seeds (shelled pumpkin seeds) and swapping the Cashew Sour Cream with vegan mayo (such as Veganaise).

“Get ready to pack a ton of veggies into one irresistible, healthy meal!” Duggan warned. “If you haven't tried my lentil-walnut taco meat, this is a great recipe to do so. It's high in protein, and the taco seasonings and chewy texture create a realistic-tasting taco base. Feel free to use tortilla wraps or corn shells instead of lettuce wraps to change it up, or you can make this recipe into a big salad, too. You can save time by cooking the lentils and prepping the taco meat in advance (or simply use canned lentils). This recipe is inspired by Minimal Eats taco wraps. The lentil-walnut meat is adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.”


Rico Roman, sled hockey



  • 500g lean ground beef
  • 2 cans red kidney beans (I use Goya)
  • 5 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh okra (if you can't find fresh, canned is a great substitute)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced (if you don't like too much garlic, you can use less)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (red, orange or yellow), diced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1 packet Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp adobo seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of chicken broth


  • Lightly brown your beef in a frying pan.
  • Add all your ingredients to the crockpot, and cook on high for at least 6 hours.
  • Serve with a dollop or two of Chobani Low Fat Greek Yogurt, some freshly chopped chives and sprinkling of cheddar cheese.

Related Athletes

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Gracie Gold

Figure Skating
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Tony Azevedo

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Molly Huddle

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Meghan Duggan

Ice Hockey
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Rico Roman

Sled Hockey
US Paralympics