Low GI Food of the Month

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GI 28 (home cooked)
GI 40 (canned)

For low GI foods that are easy on the budget, versatile, filling, low in kilojoules and nutritious, look no further than legumes—beans, chickpeas and lentils. They are high in fibre and packed with nutrients, providing protein, carbohydrate, B vitamins, folate and minerals.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans or ceci, have a nutty flavour and firm texture. Popular in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine, they are the main ingredient in specialties such as hommous and felafel and the basis for many vegetarian dishes. Keep a can in the pantry or cooked chickpeas in the fridge and add them to soups, stews and salads or to a tomato-based sauce served with couscous or rice. After soaking, whole chickpeas can be roasted with salt and spices to make a crunchy low GI snack that’s every bit as more-ish as potato crisps!

Legumes are an important part of a low GI diet which is why it’s a good idea to try to include them in your meals at least twice a week as a starchy vegetable alternative—more often if you are vegetarian.

Salad of Grilled Chicken with Black Sesame

This is one of those recipes where the leftovers are just as delicious if not more so. It’s great for a buffet spread or for a family meal. You could save preparation time by buying a cooked chicken, but remove the skin. Here we give you a lower fat version of the recipe that was originally created by Sean Anderson, National Food and Brand Manager for Compass Group (Australia). It is from Spicery by Ian and Liz Hemphill who run Herbies Spices in Sydney, Australia. If you would like to find out more about Spicery or order a copy, click on this link www.herbies.com.au

Serves 6 with a couple of crispy salads on the side

1 kg (2 1/4 lb) pumpkin or winter squash such as ‘butternut’, peeled and chopped into 1 cm (1/2 inch) dice. You will end up with about 800 g pumpkin or squash
1 large Spanish onion, finely sliced
olive oil spray
1 x 250 g (9 oz) skinless chicken breast
2 x 400 g (14 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

1/3 cup (80 ml or 2 3/4 fl oz) olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 cup (60 ml or 2 fl oz) white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar

1) Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly spray the pumpkin or squash dice and chopped onion with the olive oil spray, mix well and place on a baking tray. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are just lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside.
2) Lightly spray the chicken breast with the olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper if you wish. Place the chicken on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until it is just cooked through, turning once. Remove the chicken from the oven. Allow it to cool completely, then slice it finely on an angle, crosswise. Place the chicken slices in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
3) To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, mustard powder, white vinegar, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl.
4) To make the salad, put the cooked vegetables and chicken slices in a large bowl with the chickpeas, herbs and black sesame seeds. Gently fold the dressing through until all ingredients are just lightly coated and serve immediately.
Photo: Greg Elms, Spicery. A cook’s guide to culinary spices (Hardie Grant Books)

Cook’s tips

  • Black (or golden brown) sesame seeds are simply white ones with their shell or outer husk on, making them a little tougher to bite on, and not quite as nutty in flavour as the better-known white seeds. However, it’s these ones that have the calcium, although it’s not as well absorbed as calcium from milk. You’ll probably have to go to a specialty spice store or Asian food shop for these or buy online.
  • Pomegranate molasses is a deep red almost black thick molasses with a rich berry-like fruitiness and citric tang. It is available from Middle Eastern and specialty food stores and does not need to be kept in the refrigerator after opening. However, in winter the ‘liquid’ can get very thick and you may have to sit the bottle in hot water to get it to pour.

Per serve
Nutritional Analysis per Serve
1732 kJ (412 Kcal), 22.1g fat (3.5g sat fat), 22.4g protein, 27g carbohydrate, 10.4g fibre