Low GI Recipes of the Month

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Our chef Kate Hemphill develops deliciously simple recipes for GI News that showcase seasonal ingredients and make it easy for you to cook healthy, low GI meals and snacks. For more of Kate’s fabulous fare, check out her website: www.lovetocook.co.uk. For now, prepare and share good food with family and friends.

Kate Hemphill

Steak Salad with Roast Sweet Potato Wedges
After being told to up my iron intake, I thought this was the perfect dish. The sweet potato cooked like this make a great alternative to those fatty fried wedges served with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce! Buy the best quality lean steak you can afford – and remember that you don’t need a big piece to get heaps of healthy benefits.
Serves 2


1 large or 2 smaller orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (about 300 g/10 oz), scrubbed and cut into wedges
1 small punnet of cherry tomatoes
250 g (8 oz) sirloin steak or 2 scotch fillets
60 g (2 oz) rocket, washed
sumac, to serve (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF)
  • Toss the sweet potato wedges in a little olive oil (or brush the oil over with a pastry brush), place in a baking dish and roast in the oven for 20–25 minutes until tender and golden. After 15 minutes, add the cherry tomatoes as they don’t need as long to cook.
  • Meanwhile, heat a heavy based pan to high and season the steak with freshly ground black pepper. Sear the steak for 1 minute each side, then cook for a further 3 minutes each side (depending on size of steak, for medium rare). Allow to rest for 3 minutes before slicing.
  • Serve steak on top of rocket leaves with sweet potato and tomatoes and a sprinkle of sumac, if using. And of course pile your plate with any other green vegetables in season that you enjoy.

Per serving
1585 kJ/ 377 calories; 38 g protein; 10 g fat (includes 4 g saturated fat and 94 mg cholesterol); 30 g carbohydrate; 6 g fibre

Turmeric tales
Turmeric has a long history of use in traditional medicine in reducing inflammation, healing wounds and relieving pain. Drew Tortoriello MD from the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center, and his colleagues presented their research findings at ENDO 2008 that turmeric and its active anti-oxidant ingredient – curcumin – reverses many of the inflammatory and metabolic problems associated with obesity and improves blood-glucose control in mice with type 2 diabetes. ‘It’s too early to tell whether increasing dietary curcumin (through turmeric) intake in obese people with diabetes will show a similar benefit,’ says Tortoriello. ‘Although the daily intake of curcumin one might have to consume as a primary diabetes treatment is likely impractical, it is entirely possible that lower dosages of curcumin could nicely complement our traditional therapies as a natural and safe treatment.’

We asked Liz and Ian Hemphill of Herbies Spices to tell us a bit more about using turmeric in cooking. ‘It is closely related to ginger and galangal. Its lumpy, orange-fleshed rhizome has a distinctly earthy aroma and flavour and contains the powerful colouring agent, curcumin. It’s an “amalgamating” spice sometimes called Indian saffron because of its bright colour and is found in curry powders and many spice blends including the delicious Moroccan chermoula. The turmeric commonly used in cooking is either Madras or Alleppey and the latter is better when you want the true flavour of turmeric. You can make an attractively golden coloured and tasty rice dish with turmeric. When cooking by the absorption method, add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder, a cinnamon stick, 4 cloves and 4 green cardamom pods for every 1 cup of basmati rice covered with water. And be careful not to spill turmeric on your clothes, it is almost impossible to get the stain out.’

Dhai baingon (Eggplant with yoghurt)
On one of our ‘Spice Discovery Tours’ to India, we encountered this dish in a splendid domed dining room in Jaipur. We immediately begged the recipe from the chef. After deciphering the handwriting, our version goes like this …
Serves 2 (or 4 as part of a meal)


1 large eggplant, sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 onions, peeled and chopped
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon Alleppey turmeric
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup (250 ml) water
200 g (1 cup) low-fat natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon fresh chopped coriander leaves

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
  • Drain the eggplant in a colander for 5–10 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-based pan and cook the eggplant slices in batches until lightly golden, adding more oil if necessary. Remove and set aside.
  • Heat another tablespoon of oil in the pan and add the whole cumin seeds. Cook for 45 seconds, then add the chopped onion and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is transparent. Add turmeric, salt, 1 teaspoon of the ground cumin, coriander, chilli powder, fenugreek leaves and tomato paste, then stir in the water. Continue cooking over moderate heat until onion and tomato are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Oil the inside of a medium-sized ovenproof dish or casserole and spoon in half the onion-tomato mixture. Arrange a layer of eggplant slices on top. Cover with the remaining onion-tomato mixture and finish with more eggplant slices. Mix the yoghurt with the remaining teaspoon of ground cumin and spread over the top. Cover tightly with foil, then place in the oven until warmed through. Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander leaves.

Per serving (4 serves as part of a meal)
820 kJ/ 195 calories; 8 g protein; 10 g fat (includes 1 g saturated fat and 2.5 mg cholesterol); 15 g carbohydrate; 7 g fibre

Orzo and lentil stew with turmeric and bacon
This is a lovely healthy winter dish. If you are being extremely health conscious, use a very lean cut of bacon, or leave it out and add 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika to the stew.
Serves 4


100 g (3½ oz) bacon short cuts, fat trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
pinch chilli powder
4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
3/4 cup puy lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup orzo, stellini or other tiny pasta
150 g (5 oz) spinach, roughly chopped

  • Cut the bacon into strips and saute for 5 minutes, until browned. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion cooking for 5 minutes on a low heat, without browning, then add the garlic and cook a further 2 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin and chilli powder, stir, and cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the stock.
  • Add the lentils and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. After 10 minutes add the pasta, spinach and cooked bacon to the pan. Stir frequently and season to taste.
  • The dish is ready when the lentils and pasta are cooked. If you want this more like a soup, simply add more stock. Serve in shallow bowls with a dollop of crème fraiche if desired, and a good grind of cracked black pepper.

Per serving
1024 kJ/ 244 calories; 16 g protein; 9 g fat (includes 2 g saturated fat and 22 mg cholesterol); 22 g carbohydrate; 5 g fibre