Low GI Recipes of the Month

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Sumac-spiced lamb backstraps with quinoa and roasted grapes
This recipe is from The Eat Well Cookbook by Jan Purser and Kathy Snowball, which is packed with dairy free and gluten free recipes – many of which are likely to be low GI (like this one) as this cooking duo loves beans, chickpeas and lentils. Jan and Kathy are pretty passionate about good health and good food, so you will discover lots of interesting ways to incorporate legumes (pulses), gluten-free grains and quinoa into your eating plans. We love the roasted grapes touch in this recipe and the fact you can make the quinoa salad a day ahead. Sumac is that burgundy powder often rubbed on kebabs before cooking. You can buy it from specialty produce and spice shops and Middle Eastern food specialists. The Eat Well Cookbook is available in Australia and NZ from major bookstores. The US edition will be available in 2007, but in the meantime anyone can buy it off the publisher’s (Allen and Unwin) website – www.allenandunwin.com

Photo: Greg Elms

Serves 4

600 g (1 lb 6 oz) lamb backstrap (eye of loin)
olive oil
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
400 g (14 oz) seedless black grapes
1 cup baby spinach leaves
lemon wedges, to serve

Quinoa Salad
1 cup (180 g/6¼ oz) quinoa
2 cups (500 ml/17 fl oz) chicken stock
½ preserved lemon, skin only, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 green onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • To make Quinoa Salad, combine quinoa and stock in a saucepan, season with salt (optional) and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the stock is absorbed and the quinoa tender. Remove lid and stir over low heat until all liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, then stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Brush lamb with a little oil and rub with sumac, thyme and black pepper. Fry lamb in a non-stick frying pan until browned, then place on an oven tray. Toss grapes in a little oil and place beside lamb. Roast at 200ºC (400ºF) for about 10 minutes for pink lamb. Remove lamb and rest, loosely covered, in a warm place for 10 minutes then slice on the diagonal. Meanwhile return grapes to oven and roast for another 10 minutes or until just beginning to burst.
  • Top baby spinach leaves with Quinoa Salad and sliced lamb, spoon grapes and their juices over and serve with lemon wedges.

Jan and Kathy suggest serving this with a big soft leaf salad (butter lettuce, oak leaf, mignonette, watercress sprig, radicchio torn into bite-sized pieces and tossed with a dressing of 1 tablespoon extra virgin oil and 2 teaspoons lemon juice.

Nutrition analysis per serving
Energy 2568 kJ/611 Cal; fat 21 g (saturated 6 g); fibre 5 g; protein 55 g; carbohydrate 51 g; low GI. Want to cut back the fat? Use a little less meat per serving (say 500 g for 4 people) and make the Quinoa Salad with water not chicken stock.

GI Express: Poached pears with rich chocolate sauce
Lisa Lintner’s quick and easy (it’s on the table in 30 minutes) dessert is from The New Glucose Revolution Life Plan. It’s delicious on its own or you can serve it with a dollop of reduced fat plain yoghurt or ice-cream.

Serves 6
Preparation time 10 minutes, Cooking time 20 minutes


6 medium-sized pears (about 200 g/7 oz each), peeled, cored and quartered
1½ litres water
1 cup (200 g) raw sugar
1 cinnamon stick
juice and rind of 1 lemon

Chocolate sauce
130 g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon canola oil
30 ml/1 fl oz water

  • Bring the water, sugar, cinnamon stick, juice and lemon rind to the boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat, add the pear slices and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Spoon the pear slices into a serving bowl or individual dishes using a slotted spoon.
  • While the pears are simmering, make the chocolate sauce by placing all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring occasionally. When combined, drizzle over the pears and serve.

Nutrition analysis per serving
Energy 1250 kJ/300 Cal; fat 10 g; fibre 5 g; protein 2 g; carbohydrate 55 g; low GI

GI Solo: Sweet chilli tuna salad
This recipe is adapted from The Low GI Diet Cookbook. If you can’t fined canned sweet chilli tuna, use canned tuna in springwater and add a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce to each can.

Serves 1
Preparation time: 10 minutes

Photo: Ian Hofstetter

2 iceberg lettuce leaves, shredded
3 cm (1½ in) wide strip of red capsicum (pepper), finely diced
½ tomato, diced
½ a small red (Spanish) onion, finely chopped
95 g (3¼ oz) can sweet chilli tuna
½ cup crispy soy noodles (about 20 g or ½ oz)
juice of 1/2 lime
coriander leaves to garnish

Combine the lettuce, capsicum, tomato and onion in a bowl. Add the tuna (including the sweet chilli sauce) and noodles. Squeeze over the lime juice and top with the coriander leaves. Toss and serve.

Nutrition analysis per serving
Energy 1215 kJ/290 Cal; fat 10 g (saturated 3 g); fibre 7g; protein 28 g; carbohydrate 20 g; low GI