Fuel {grilled shrimp and tabbouleh}

This may be unorthodox, but up until recently, I believed that I ran my best on a pre-half-marathon dinner of burritos deluxe from our favorite Mexican spot. Not only did I not have any issues, I thrived off the damn things. I figured the balance of protein, fat and carbs found in beef, cheese and tortillas must have been some dynamic combination only I had discovered. But then I decided to run my first marathon last year and that changed how I looked at pre-race meals. I wasn’t willing to risk 26 miles of beans, beef, chicken and burrito sauce in my stomach and so I switched it up and ate Clif Bars every 2 hours and brown rice with chicken the night before. Not something I’d like to do often, but a good enough effort to get me through my first (and last) marathon.

I decided to keep the healthier profile for this year’s half-marathon rather than opt for burritos and while I’m not ready to attribute all of my success to Saturday’s dinner, I did shave 8 minutes off my best time. And that’s a lot of minutes. The husband managed to set a personal record too so I think we’re onto something with our tabbouleh and grilled shrimp. If you are running, don’t leave out the whole wheat pita. You’ll want those carbs.

This is a meal I would eat whether or not I was preparing to run and that I’ll probably make more often as the temperature continues to rise. I don’t really like eating a lot of hot stuff in the summer and this is a light meal that we’re already incorporating into our repertoire as we’re on day 6 of 80-degree plus temperatures. I went from heat to AC with no time off in between. Our house is old and severely under-insulated and something about this climate seems to be changing. It’s like the globe is warming or something.


  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • kosher salt
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups cucumber, diced
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup scallions, diced
  • 1 cup flat leaf parlsey, diced
  • 1/4 cup mint, diced


  • 1 lb. 10-15 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red pepper flakes

This is really easy and is a great opportunity to practice your knife skills. Let’s do the tabbouleh first. You’ll want it to have a couple hours to sit and get all flavory before you eat it.

Place the bulgur in a large bowl and add the boiling water, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and let sit at room temperature for about an hour.

While that’s hanging out, get busy chopping veggies.

After about an hour, your bulgur will have soaked up much of the liquid and puffed up like so:

Now all you need to do is dump in your veggies and give everything a thorough stir. After everything is combined, pop some saran wrap on top and throw in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. I’d say give it at least 2 hours to sit.

So that’s done. Now you can marinate the shrimp. Put everything in a bowl and go all tabbouleh on it by covering it with saran wrap and putting in your fridge until you’re ready to grill.

Tough, right? Once you’re ready to eat, skewer your shrimp (literally, not by degrading it or being unusually harsh).

Grill for about 2-3 minutes per side depending on how hot your grill is until they are pink and just barely opaque in the center. Undercooked shrimp is better than overcooked shrimp if you ask me. You didn’t, but you’re reading this and as such, you are entitled to my opinions.

I served everything with pita and feta cheese and it was good. In fact, I’m having this for lunch today. The tabbouleh is even better 48 hours later.