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Ready for running season? Chef has the recipes to get you off on the right foot

Runners race down LaSalle Street near Wacker Drive during the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015. | Ashlee Rezin/For the Sun-Times

If 2018 is the year you’re going to try a marathon, a mud race or simply run a 5K, you have to pay attention to how you’re fueling your body.

Making sure you are eating the right mixture of vitamins, carbs, proteins and healthy fats when you are training for something athletic is a key step in ensuring you perform your best and bounce back from your workouts.

But that doesn’t mean you have to stick to grilled chicken and steamed broccoli, according to a new cookbook by Richard Ingraham, personal chef to legendary NBA basketball player and Chicago native Dwyane Wade.

“Whether you are a marathon runner or a person who works out, you definitely need to incorporate more calories so that you can be able to perform. It depends on the sport that you’re doing, if you are trying to gain muscle you need more lean protein, and if you are playing basketball, [or] if you’re running a marathon … you want to load up on your good carbohydrates.”

Ingraham has made sure that Wade has eaten a balanced and nourishing diet while playing basketball for the last 14 years, and he’s distilled his philosophy of fueling a pro athlete into his new cookbook, “Eating Well to Win.”

Whether you’re watching your diet to train for a 5K or an NBA championship, you need to pay attention to flavor, Ingraham said.

“When you talk about healthy food, you think you need to have something that doesn’t have any flavor. That’s not the case,” he said. By incorporating flavors that keep you interested, “you can eat healthier food all year round and not really need a cheat day.”

Ingraham’s book has recipes for everything from quinoa pancakes to grilled jerk-spiced lobster to toffee brownies — all with a healthy twists that incorporate many different kinds of vegetables, grains and fruit.

“You need to put good carbs in your body and stay away from sugars,” Ingraham said of the cooking he does for Wade. “You need carbs that are going to sustain you, like oats, farro and quinoa. You need to have lean protein in your diet, in order to rebuild those muscles. You need vegetables in your life, they give you those essential vitamins.”

Ingraham, who went to culinary school in Atlanta, was teaching culinary students when a friend asked him if he would be interested in cooking for an NBA player. After doing a tasting for Wade, Ingraham’s career as a basketball chef began. He has been with Wade ever since, bouncing from Miami to Chicago to Cleveland as Wade has changed teams.

Working with Wade, his trainer and his nutritionist, Ingraham said he puts together balanced menus for the player and his family that are meant to foster peak performance — with a few treats thrown in.

Slow-digesting carbohydrates like oatmeal, which Wade frequently eats before a game, work better than sugar to keep athletes going through endurance events like races, Ingraham said.

Wade is avoiding gluten right now, so Ingraham has many recipes that don’t involve wheat.

When they first met, Wade wouldn’t eat much seafood, Ingraham said. So Ingraham built many meals around pork, chicken or beef. But over time, Wade’s tastes have grown, allowing Ingraham more freedom to experiment. These days, one of Wade’s favorite Ingraham dishes is a seared sea bass with butternut squash puree, sautéed garlic spinach and a little Ponzu sauce, Ingraham said. The book includes a similar recipe for sea bass, this one with miso and ginger garlic broccoli rabe.

Divided up by meal, Ingraham includes dinner entrees, lunch salads, smoothies and cakes in his book. The recipes include some developed for Wade, his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, and their family, as well as a bunch of new creations, Ingraham said.

As the chef behind Wade’s breakfast lunch and dinner most days, Ingraham said he checks in with Wade to see how he feels on the court when he eats certain things. When Wade was struggling with cramping in the fourth quarter, Ingraham’s research pointed him to potassium-rich bananas. Since some cramps can be caused by too little potassium, Ingraham made sure that Wade was getting banana in his smoothies.

“When trainers or nutritionists come in, some of those things we’re already implementing,” Ingraham said. “I do my necessary research, and in some cases I’m kind of ahead of the game.”

Ingraham applies what he calls his “eclectic American” style to the lean protein, whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Eating to meet your fitness goals requires consistently choosing balanced, low-fat meals that feature a variety of nutrients, Ingraham says. The balanced meals he has designed can fuel anyone looking to improve their nutrition or energy for this year’s racing season.

While his food is always prepared with nutrition in mind, there are times when it’s ok to let that go, Ingraham said. Maybe you’ve just run the race you were getting in shape for, or brought home your third championship ring.

The last recipe in the cookbook (and one of Ingraham’s favorites) — chocolate chip cookie and bacon red velvet waffles with milk chocolate ice cream — is for those moments.

“That’s something that you have when you just don’t give a damn,” Ingraham said. “Everybody has that, especially if you’ve been playing well, you’ve been winning…  sometimes you just want something to take you over the top.”

Diana Novak Jones is a local freelance writer.

Here are three of Chef Ingraham’s recipes from “Eating Well to Win.”

Lentil Penne Pasta with Turkey Meat Sauce. | Courtesy “Eat Well to Win”

Lentil Penne Pasta with Turkey Meat Sauce (Courtesy Chef Richard Ingraham)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup turkey kielbasa
1 pound ground turkey
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoons creole seasoning
3 cups tomato sauce (see Tomato Sauce recipe below)
2 cups lentil penne pasta, cooked
Asiago cheese, shaved

Cooking Instructions:
1. Brown turkey kielbasa in 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat
2. Remove from the pan and reserve until ready for use
3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil left in the pan and add the ground turkey. Cook until brown, and turkey is broken up to resemble crumbles
4. Reduce the heat to medium and add onion, garlic, Italian seasonings, paprika, and creole seasoning to the turkey and continue until onion is tender.
5. Add tomato sauce and reduce the heat to medium-low.
6. Simmer until sauce thickens then incorporate kielbasa into the sauce and continue cooking until kielbasa is warmed through
7. Adjust seasonings and toss pasta with meat sauce
8. Serve topped with shaved asiago cheese in large bowl.

Tomato Sauce
Ingredients for Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onions, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3 ½ cups canned fire-roasted tomatoes

Cooking Instructions
1. Sauté onions in a medium pan over medium heat.
2. Season with salt and pepper, and stir often until onions are soft.
3. Add garlic, and cook until softened, being careful not to let the mixture burn.
4. Add thyme.
5. Stir in roasted tomatoes with juices and bring to a boil.
6. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer, stirring often to prevent sticking, until sauce has thickened.
7. Purée sauce in a food processor.
8. Adjust seasonings, and let sauce cool.


Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal with Peanut Granola (Courtesy Chef Richard Ingraham)
Ingredients for Oatmeal
1 cup whole grain old-fashioned oats
3 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoon creamy peanut butter (if you like peanut butter like I do, then add more)
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 ½ bananas, chopped

Toasted Walnut and Quinoa Pancakes with Berry Compote. | Courtesy “Eat Well to Win”

Ingredients for Peanut Granola
½ cup chunky peanut butter (It’s perfectly cool to use creamy peanut butter as well!)
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup coconut oil
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups whole grain old-fashioned oats
1 cup roasted peanuts

Cooking Instructions:
Method for Oatmeal
1. Combine oats, almond milk, peanut butter, 1 banana, cinnamon, salt, and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
2. Bring mixture to a simmer stirring often to prevent sticking.
3. Your oatmeal is done once its creamy and fluffy. If it’s not as loose as you’d like it to be, no need to panic. Just add more almond milk until you reach the desired consistency.
4. Adjust your seasonings, and remove from heat.
5. Garnish with remaining chopped bananas and peanut granola.

Method for Peanut Granola
1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
2. In a bowl, combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, oil, and salt.
3. Fold in your oats and peanuts.
4. Next, pour your granola on a large baking sheet.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes. Half way through the baking process, tossing the granola with a spatula or spoon to insure even baking.
6. Remove from the oven and let cool before using.


Herb Roasted Veal Chop with Farro, Roasted Broccoli and Herb Garlic Butter (Courtesy Chef Richard Ingraham)
Ingredients for Herb Garlic Butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Herb Roasted Veal Chop with Farro Roasted Broccoli and Herb Garlic Butter. | Courtesy “Eat Well to Win”

Ingredients for Veal Chops
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
4, 1.5 inch veal chops
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 cup beef broth

Ingredients for Farro
2 Tablespoons grape seed oil
1 cup farro
1 large shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

Ingredients for Roasted Broccoli
1 pound broccoli, rinsed and trimmed
2 Tablespoons grape seed oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt fresh ground pepper

Cooking Instructions:
Method for Herb Garlic Butter
1. In a small bowl, combine butter, rosemary, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce.
2. Wrap butter in plastic wrap, roll into a log, and chill.

Method for Veal Chops
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, stir together thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
3. Rub veal chops with herb mixture.
4. Cover veal chops in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5. Heat remaining olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
6. Brown veal chops, about 3 minutes on each side.
7. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven.
8. Roast veal chops until an instant read thermometer reads 155-160 degrees.
9. Remove veal chops from the pan and keep warm on an oven proof dish.
10. Pour off fat from skillet.
11. Add dijon and broth to the skillet and return to the stove over high heat.
12. Scrape the skillet to dislodge the brown bits stuck to the bottom (this process is called de-glazing).
13. Boil the broth until reduced by half.
14. Place 1 tablespoon of the garlic herb butter on each veal chop and return to the oven just until the butter starts to melt.
15. Spoon farro into the center of the plate and top with the butter coated veal chop.
16. Spoon roasted broccoli around the plate and finish with the pan sauce.

Method for Farro
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the grape seed oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add farro and cook until fragrant and toasted stirring often for 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Remove farro from the saucepan and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil.
4. Add in shallots and garlic and cook stirring frequently until softened.
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Return toasted farro to the pan and stir to coat each grain with seasoned shallots and garlic 7. Add broth and bring to a boil.
8. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and farro is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
9. Stir in fresh thyme and adjust seasonings.

Method for Broccoli
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut your broccoli into bite size pieces.
3. Toss the broccoli, grape seed oil, and garlic together in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour broccoli out on to a baking pan and place in the oven.
5. Roast just until the broccoli is tender, 8 to 10 more minutes.