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Olympic Steeplechaser Colleen Quigley Shares Her Go-To Salmon Power Bowl Recipe

By Colleen Quigley, 2016 U.S. Olympic Steeplechaser | April 01, 2020, 6:43 p.m. (ET)

Colleen Quigley reads a recipe as she prepares a meal.


Colleen Quigley is a 2016 Olympian in the sport of track and field, specializing in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She finished eighth at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The St. Louis, Missouri, native made the past three outdoor world championships teams, finishing 12th in 2015. Competing for Florida State, Quigley is a nine-time NCAA All-American and the 2015 NCAA champion in the steeplechase.


Salmon Power Bowl

Base: Brown rice and sweet potato
Protein: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon
Veggies: Spring mix, zucchini
Sauce: Pesto
Toppings: Feta cheese, cilantro

Serves: 4 hungry athletes

This is one of my favorite types of meals: everything in a bowl. I eat it for lunches and dinners throughout the week. To make it easier on myself to prepare when I get home from practice, I do most of the cooking ahead of time so that I just have to reheat the base, veggies and protein, and just add them with the fresh spring mix, feta and cilantro.

It’s also super easy to swap out a different protein if salmon isn’t your jam (try chicken thighs or tofu), or a different veggie you have on hand (I also love roasted cauliflower or Brussels sprouts).

Note: I know I might be late to the trend, but I have recently become OBSESSED with cooking in an instapot. If you don’t have one, you can most certainly cook your rice/sweet potato on the stove like normal. I love using short-grain brown rice as my base because it gives me more slow-releasing energy that keeps me fueled for longer and I add sweet potato to make it a little sweeter and creamier.

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Colleen Quigley chops vegetables as she prepares a meal.


1.5 cups short-grain brown rice
2 small or 1 large sweet potato
2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
3 zucchinis
1 tablespoon butter
1.5 pounds wild-caught Alaskan salmon 1 lemon
4 ounces feta cheese
4 ounces fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons fresh pesto
1 tablespoon olive oil


1. Cook your grain: Peel sweet potato and chop into bite-sized pieces. If using an instapot, add rice, sweet potato and broth in the pot and set at high pressure for 22 minutes. If cooking on the stove, combine rice and broth (add 1.5 cups extra broth or water) to a medium pot at medium-high heat on the stove. When it boils, turn to low and cook for 45 minutes until rice is fluffy and sweet potato chunks are soft.

2. Cook your veggies: Peel zucchini, chop off the ends, then cut each in half lengthwise. To make half-moons, lay the cut sides down and chop evenly down the length of the zucchini. In a large skillet, heat a large drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add zucchini and stir occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until zucchini is softened (not mushy) then remove from heat and place in a bowl.

3. Cook your protein: Wipe out the skillet and add 1 tablespoon butter on medium-high heat. Pat the salmon fillet(s) dry and season with salt and pepper. Lay salmon filet(s) in the hot butter with the skin up. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. After the first flip, squeeze half of a lemon over the filets when they are skin-side down. Remove from heat.

4. Bowl it up: This dish is perfectly served in a wide shallow bowl so that you have room to mix up the ingredients without having them fall off a plate. Start with a bed of mixed greens (I love a ton of greens in the bottom of my bowl, but suit yourself). Then add your rice/sweet potato and zucchini. Lay the salmon on top of that and drizzle with pesto. Finally, top with crumbled feta cheese and chopped cilantro.

Make sure to take a beautiful pic before you scramble the whole thing up to mix in the pesto and get a little bit of everything in each bite!


Nutrition Notes:
Brown rice is a whole grain and has more protein and fiber than white rice. It has a lower glycemic index and the carbohydrates digest more slowly, so it helps you feel satiated and for longer.
Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients including the antioxidant beta-carotene, which our bodies convert to Vitamin A. They also contain fiber, some B vitamins, vitamin C and selenium.
Salmon... so many reasons to love salmon! Protein! Omega-3s! Antioxidants! Besides being an excellent source of your daily protein intake, salmon is a top source of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Omega-3s improve heart health and brain health and decrease inflammation. A normal Western diet in the 21st century contains too many Omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3s.
Zucchini (along with other summer squash) is a low-calorie vegetable with a high water content. It is rich in Vitamin C as well as antioxidants.

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Colleen Quigley