David Gillick’s Race Recipes

150715_NCP1_007-EditFood for Thought: Vodafone Ireland race ambassador David Gillick shares his favourite recipes.

David Gillick, former Irish international athlete and celebrity Masterchef winner is no stranger to the training and preparation it takes for the big race day. While getting ready to compete in this year’s Vodafone Dublin City Triathlon, David has been helping Vodafone’s staff in their preparation for the triathlon as part of Think Well, Live Well, Feel Well programme, the company’s new employee wellbeing programme with his talents both on the track and in the kitchen. Ahead of the big race David shared below his top five training tips and top six recipes for race week to ensure not just the Vodafone team but all participates achieve their personal best on the day!

1. Don’t try anything new on race day – this includes trying any new nutrition routines, drinks or kit, especially trainers, blisters aren’t good!!

2. Do make sure that you are hydrated in the days prior to the Triathlon, especially on the day you compete. Don’t simply down litres of water in one go, sip over the days leading up and morning of the race.

3. Add a little more carbohydrates to your meals in the run up to the race, don’t just eat a big meal the night before. Finish your morning meal 2.5-3 hours before yours due to start competing.

4. Make sure you do a good warm up that you have tried before while training, don’t just stand there waiting for the race to start, get moving, stretching and get your heart rate up! Switch your body on!

5. Finally, look at the course, check the maps and the transition areas so you can identify where your bike and kit will be. Also have a race plan and include nutrition into it, when you will eat and what. Be prepared!


David’s Tasty Training Recipes:
From Chicken, Quinoa and Mango Salad to healthy Pancakes and his signature ‘Gillybars’ there’s healthy options for all culinary abilities.

1. Protein Balls

Makes 8 balls


– 50g porridge oats
– 30g shredded desiccated coconut, plus extra for coating
– 10g chocolate or vanilla-flavoured whey protein
– 4 tbsp good-quality low-sugar peanut butter
– 2 tbsp honey
– 1 tbsp cocoa powder


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.  Divide into eight equal portions and roll into balls between the palms of your hands.

Sprinkle some extra coconut in a shallow bowl and roll the balls in it.  Chill until ready to eat.

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


2. GillyBars

Makes 12


– 250g agave syrup or honey
– 200g porridge oats
– 200g good-quality low-sugar peanut butter
– 150g raisins
– 100g skimmed milk powder
– 100g dried apricots, chopped
– 100g chopped walnuts (or any chopped nuts)
– 50g sesame seeds
– 3 tbsp melted coconut oil


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.  Line a deep baking tray with parchment paper.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Use your hands and make sure all ingredients are well combined.

Transfer to the lined tray and spread out in an even layer.  Use your hands to pat it down firmly.

Bake for 15–20 minutes, until the top is golden brown, not burnt.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.

When it has cooled slightly but is still in the tray, cut into bars.  Wrap the tray in cling film and leave in the fridge over-night so that the bars harden.

When hardened, you can store the whole tray in the fridge or re-move the bars and wrap each bar individually in cling film.  Store in the fridge and use as needed.


3. Chicken, Quinoa and Mango Salad

Serves 1


– 60g quinoa
– 1 tsp coconut oil
– 1 medium chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized chunks
– 1 ripe mango
– 1/2 red pepper, chopped
– 1/2 red onion, chopped
– handful of mixed salad leaves
– handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
– juice of 1/2 lemon
– 15g cashew nuts, chopped


Cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions and drain well.

Melt the coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked through.

To cut the mango, run a knife from the top into the middle and around the stone to the bottom. Take the cut piece and with the flesh pointing upwards, slice the segment from top to bottom and left to right without piercing all the way through.

Using your hands, push on the skin side and the flesh part will flare out, making it easy to cut it away from the skin.

Combine the cooked quinoa, mango, red pepper, red onion, salad leaves and chopped mint in a bowl and drizzle the lemon juice over.  Mix in the chicken and sprinkle with the chopped cashew nuts.


4. Pancake

Ingredients (per person):

– 60g Oats
– 25g Whey protein (Optional)
– 1 Egg
– 1 tsp / 5g Coconut Oil
– 70g Greek yoghurt
– 50g Berries
– 1 tbsp chopped nuts
– Water


Place oats in bowl and lightly cover with water.  Microwave for 40 seconds.

Crack egg into oats in bowl.  Add scoop of protein if desired.

Mix really well with fork.  Heat coconut oil in pan.

Ladle oat mixture into pan to make palm sized pancakes.  Fry for 3-4 minutes or until lightly brown.

Flip sides, be careful, make sure the bottom is cooked enough to flip.  Transfer to plate and cover with Greek yogurt, berries and chopped nuts.


5. Butternut, Chicken and Bacon Casserole

Serves 4


– 1 and a half Onions (finely chopped)
– 5 Rashers of Bacon (cut into large strips)
– 500g Butternut (diced)
– 1 Knorr Chicken Stock Cube
– 200g Boiling Water
– 20g Wholegrain mustard
– 400g Tinned Tomatoes
– 15g Tomato Paste
– 1 teaspoon Dried Majoram
– 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
– 15g Coconut Oil
– 200g Buttoned Mushrooms (cut in half)
– Fresh Basil (to garnish)

Cooking times:
Slow cooker: Low for 6-7 hours or high 3-4 hours


Combine bacon and onion and place in the slow cooker and place chicken and potatoes on top. In a measuring jug add chicken stock with hot water, stir until dissolved and in a large bowl combine stock with mustard, tomatoes, paste, herbs and coconut oil.

Stir together and pour into slow cooker.  Cover and cook according to times above.

1 hour before cooking has finished add mushrooms.  Serves alongside some boiled broccoli and green beans.


6. Lemon and Coconut Chicken

Ingredients (per person):

– 120g Chicken, diced
– 200g sweet potato, peeled and cubed
– 1 tsp / 4g Coconut Oil
– 1/2 Lemon, juice & rind
– 1 Small Onion, diced
– 1 Garlic clove, crushed
– 40g Creamed Coconut (1 sachet)
– Half Green Chilli, finely chopped
– Fresh Coriander, chopped
– 60g Courgette, chopped finely
– Half red pepper, chopped
– 40g Asparagus, chopped
– Boiling Water


Boil cubed sweet potato in water.  Heat oil in pan, and sauté the chopped onion.

Add crushed garlic and lightly brown the diced chicken.  Add the chopped vegetables.

Soften creamed coconut in a cup of boiling water until soft and then pour contents into pan.

Grate in rind of lemon and then squeeze in lemon juice.  Stir everything and if creamed coconut is still lumpy, add some water and mix.

Let simmer for 2 min.  Place sweet potato on plate and cover with lemon chicken and vegetables.