Low GI Food of the Month

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Green Peas

I eat my peas with honey
I’ve done it all my life’
It makes the peas taste funny
But it keeps ’em on the knife.
– Anon

There’s nothing like the aroma of shelling and eating fresh, green peas (GI 48) straight from the pod. Today, most of us buy them in frozen packs – the manufacturer has done the hard work. They are rich in fibre and vitamin C and higher in protein than most vegetables.


Although a good source of thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and iron when fresh, cooking will reduce the nutrient levels. If you do buy peas in the pod, you’ll need about 350 grams (12 oz) of pods to fill a cup with shelled peas. And tempting as it is to pick up a pack of ‘freshly’ shelled peas from your greengrocer or supermarket, only do so if you know they really have been freshly shelled and you plan to use them immediately. Boil, steam or microwave peas for about 4–5 minutes (remember, cooking destroys the nutrients) or add to rice dishes such as risottos, pilafs, pasta dishes, frittatas, soups and stews (at the last minute), or combine with a little mashed potato, sweet potato or yams. Peas with edible pods such as snowpeas and sugar snaps (immature pods) only need the minimum of cooking time, too, and are delicious in stir-fries, or steamed or cooked in the microwave for a side dish. Here are some serving suggestions:

  • Whip up an omelette with onion, a little lean ham or bacon if you wish, plus corn kernels and fresh or frozen green peas.
  • For comfort food, purée or mash cooked peas with chicken stock and a little light margarine.
  • Add blanched snowpeas or sugar snaps to salads or serve with vegetable platters and dips.

Low GI Eating Made Easy (Hachette Livre Australia, Hodder UK, Marlowe & Company USA)

Individual Frittatas with Capsicum, Sweet Potato, Baby Peas And Feta
Serves 6
Preparation time 15 minutes; Cooking time 30–35 minutes; Cooling time 10 minutes

Photo: Ian Hofstetter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 red (Spanish) onion, halved, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum (pepper), cut into short thin strips
300 g (10½ oz) orange sweet potato, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 garlic clove, crushed
150 g (5½ oz) frozen baby green peas
70 g (2½ oz/1/3 cup) semi-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
100 g (3½ oz) low fat fetta, crumbled
olive oil spray
7 eggs
125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) low fat milk or soy milk
freshly ground black pepper
Dressed salad leaves, to serve

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF/Gas 5). Spray a large 6-hole muffin pan with oil.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, capsicum, sweet potato and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a little. Stir in the semi-dried tomatoes and fetta.
  3. Whisk the eggs and milk together. Season with pepper. Divide the vegetables among the muffin pan holes. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the vegetables. Bake for 20–5 minutes or until the frittatas are set and lightly golden. Set aside in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out. Serve warm with dressed salad leaves.

Nutritional analysis per individual frittata
Energy 1052 kJ/251 cal, protein 17 g, fat 12 g (sat fat 4 g), fibre 5 g, carbohydrate 16 g

The Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook (Hachette Livre Australia, Hodder UK, Marlowe & Company USA)