American dietitian and author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Johanna Burani, shares favourite recipes with a low or moderate GI from her Italian kitchen. For more information, check out Johanna’s website. The photographs are by Sergio Burani. His food, travel and wine photography website is photosbysergio.com.
Marinated eggplant slices
According to some sources, Italians have been cooking with eggplants since the 14th century. I know that it has been on our family’s table and those of every one of my relatives’ tables for my entire life, which alas, now spans many decades! This versatile fruit-vegetable can be roasted, grilled, stuffed, pureed or, as in this recipe, sauteed and marinated. Eggplants are also versatile in another way: they are considered to have diuretic, sedative and laxative properties. Feel free to cut back on the amount of oil. Makes 10 servings (2 slices each)
750g (1½lb) eggplant (common or Western types), cut into 0.5cm/1/4 in slices
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 tbsp capers, drained, rinsed, chopped
1–2 cloves garlic, minced
120g (4oz) large green olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
15 fresh mint leaves, chopped
salt/pepper to taste
Sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices, place them in a colander and let drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Brush 4 tablespoons of olive oil on both slides of each slice, place on a tray or plate and set aside.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4–5 eggplant slices at a time and cook until browned on both sides. When done, place each slice in an overlapping fashion in a shallow ceramic serving tray. Continue until all slices are cooked. Set aside.
In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the next 4 ingredients (capers through mint). Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Transfer the dressing evenly over the layered eggplant slices and drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over them. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
Energy: 530kJ/126cals; Protein less than 1g; Fat 12g (includes 2g saturated fat); Available carbohydrate 0g; Fibre 3g
Cut back on the food bills and enjoy fresh-tasting, easily prepared, seasonal, satisfying and delicious low or moderate GI meals that don’t compromise on quality and flavour one little bit with this Money Saving Meals recipe from the New York Times Number 1 best-seller, Forks Over Knives. For more recipes check out the Money Saving Meals website
Zingy Italian White Bean Soup
This recipe from The Feel Good Guru Moira Nordholt begins the night before, when you will need to rinse your dried cannellini beans and cover them in water to soak. Serves 2 generously and easily 3.
1 cup dried cannellini beans (white Italian kidney beans), soaked
1 unsalted vegetable bouillon cube
4 garlic cloves, minced
Half a red onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
half a fennel bulb, diced
1 zucchini (courgette), diced
1 bunch of fresh spinach, chopped
1 tsp chopped oregano
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 tsp chopped parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Drain the beans, then put them in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until al dente.
Dissolve the bouillon cube in ¼ cup water in a large soup pot, over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook, stirring constantly, until they sweat. Add celery and fennel. Allow the vegetables to heat through and soften. Cover the vegetables with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5–10 minutes.
Add zucchini, spinach, cooked beans, oregano, sage, parsley, tamari, sea salt and black pepper. Simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the zucchini is cooked but not mushy. Turn off the heat. Squeeze the juice of a whole lemon into the soup. Adjust the seasonings to your liking and serve.
Per serve (for 3 people)
Energy: 1030 kJ/ 245 cals; Protein 18 g; Fat 2 g (includes 0.3 g saturated fat); Available carbohydrate 28 g; Fibre 20g
Forks Over Knives (published by The Experiment and New York Times Number 1 best seller) is available from bookshops and online.
There’s nothing like Anneka Manning’s tasty tacos to get the family to feast on those budget-friendly, nutrition power packs – legumes. To add a little heat to the occasion, add 1 chopped red chilli to the tomato sauce with the red kidney beans and paprika. Anneka makes her own tomato sauce (1 onion, a garlic clove and 2 cans diced tomatoes) and guacamole (1 avocado, lime juice, a garlic clove, 1 spring (green) onion, 1 tomato and coriander/cilantro). If you don’t have your own favourite recipes for these, you can find Anneka’s in The Low GI Family Cookbook. Makes 12.
2 cups tomato pasta sauce
2 x 300g (10oz) cans red kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 tsp mild paprika
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 taco shells
1/2 iceberg or cos lettuce, shredded
2 carrots, scrubbed, coarsely grated
1½ cups coarsely grated reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 cup guacamole
Place the tomato sauce in a medium saucepan. Add the red kidney beans and paprika and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thick. Taste and season with pepper.
Transfer the red kidney bean mixture to a serving bowl. Place freshly ground black pepper, on the table with the taco shells, lettuce, carrots, cheese and guacamole for everyone to assemble their own tacos.
Energy: 1035 kJ/ 250 cals; Protein 11 g; Fat 12 g (includes 5 g saturated fat); Available carbohydrate 22 g; Fibre 6 g