Warm autumnal salad with apple, squash, beetroot, chickpeas and kale

Pre and post-workout nutrition: this warm autumnal salad is full of energy boosting nutrients

Posted by for Fitness Recipes

Pre-workout nutrition doesn’t have to be all sugar and sweets. 

Salad might not be what you had in mind when it comes to fuelling your body for winter workouts. But a veggie-loaded dish needn’t be limp and lifeless, as this hearty recipe proves. It’s loaded with six sources of plants, including chickpeas, apple and squash – all sources of complex carbohydrates for a big dose of energy that won’t wear off.

But when it really comes to hitting a new PB in chilly weather, beetroot is the star of the show. The dietary nitrates found in this root vegetable are shown to enhance the function of mitochondria – the part of your cells responsible for energy production. Topped with tempeh, a soy protein source that supports your muscles and is high in calcium for bones that can withstand your high impact workouts. We’re not promising it will replace your pre-workout coffee, but it might help those winter workout goals feel a little more manageable.

Warm autumnal salad with root vegetables and tempeh

Serves: 2

Prep time: 10 mins 

Cook time: 30 mins 


For the salad 

1 small squash or pumpkin (any variety), seeds removed, roughly chopped

4 beetroots, washed, cut into wedges

1 tbsp olive oil

1 apple, sliced into wedges

80g kale, washed and shredded

1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 squeeze lemon juice

For the dressing

2 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small garlic clove, grated or crushed

4 tbsp water

For the tempeh croutons

200g tempeh, chopped into cubes

1 tsp smoked paprika




Preheat the oven to 200°C fan/ 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

Add the chopped squash and beetroot into a medium-sized baking dish coat in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. 

Combine the tempeh and smoked paprika bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season and stir to coat. Set aside.

Cook the veg in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Add the tempeh for the final 15 minutes, remove from the oven once the vegetables are soft and sizzling.

Combine the tahini, half the garlic and olive oil in a small bowl, then slowly stir in the water until combined. Season with salt and pepper, taste test and add more garlic if required.

Massage the kale with a squeeze of lemon, using your hands for a minute until the leaves have softened. 

Combine the kale with the chickpeas and dressing. Mix to coat in the dressing.

To serve, divide the kale base between bowls, top with the roasted vegetables, tempeh croutons and apple.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.

Recipe and image courtesy of The Gut Stuff

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).