In the GI News Kitchen

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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


Broccoli with orzo soup.
Leave it to the Italians. All they do is boil fresh broccoli with some other fresh household staples and they get this wonderful tasting soup. It’s usually served in the evening with bread, cheese and wine. Servings: 4 (approx. 1 3/4 cups each)

1 tbsp olive oil
2 large scallions (spring onions), finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
450g/1 lb fresh broccoli (including stems), chopped
6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth (stock)
1 cup orzo pasta
4 tsp parmigiano reggiano grated cheese

Broccoli with orzo soup

Cook the orzo in 2 litres (quarts) of boiling water (with 1 teaspoon salt if you wish) according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside. In the meantime …
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or casserole over medium heat. Add the scallions, carrot, garlic and parsley and gently saute for about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
Puree vegetables to the desired creamy consistency. Add the pasta and heat through. Serve hot with grated cheese.

Per serve
Energy: 1120kJ/267cals; Protein 13g; Fat 5g (includes 1g saturated fat and 1mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 43g; Fibre 6g

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 making the most of barley. For more recipes check out the Money Saving Meals website.

Brown rice & barley salad with spiced chickpeas, sweet potato and currants.
Combining the brown rice and barley like this lowers the overall GI of the meal while adding spices and roasting the chickpeas is a great way of adding lots of flavour to this salad that’s a satisying meal in itself. Serves 6

2/3 cup brown rice
2/3 cup pearl barley
3 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp tumeric
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small (250g/9oz) sweet potato, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
400g/14oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup currants
¼ cup lightly toasted slivered almonds
2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Yoghurt tahini dressing
½ cup low fat natural yoghurt
1 tsp tahini
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp pure floral honey

Brown rice & barley salad

Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
Cook the brown rice and pearl barley in separate pans of boiling water, with one teaspoon of cumin added to each pan. Cook stirring occasionally for 25 minutes or until al dente (pearl barley will take a little longer). Drain well. Meanwhile …
Place the sweet potato onion, and chick peas in a large bowl. Mix the remaining cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric and the olive oil together then add to the bowl with the sweet potato and toss to evenly coat. Place the sweet potato mixture in a single layer on the prepared tray and bake for 20 minutes or until sweet potato is just tender.
Toss the rice, barley, sweet potato, chickpeas, currants, almonds and coriander together in a large bowl. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To make the dressing, mix all ingredients together until well combined. Serve the salad drizzled with a little of the dressing.

Per serve
Energy: 1680kJ/420cals; Protein 13g; Fat 10g (includes 1g saturated fat); Available carbohydrate 58g; Fibre 9g

My Meatless Mondays.
Aubergine, potato & pepper stew.
This rich, Mediterranean-inspired stew is full of flavours, which mature if there is any left over for the next day. It is an extract from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook, foreword by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney, edited by Annie Rigg, published by Kyle books and available in good bookshops and online. If you are worried about the fat, use a little less feta cheese and pinenuts. Serves 4-6

3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into large chunks
1 medium courgette (zucchini), cut into large chunks
1 aubergine (eggplant), cut into large chunks
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 x 400g cans tomatoes
400ml vegetable stock
1 tsp caster sugar
400g can butterbeans, drained and rinsed
4 tbsp kalamata olives
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
125g crumbled feta
2 tbsp freshly chopped flatleaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Aubergine, potato & pepper stew

Heat half of the olive oil in a large casserole dish, add the chopped onion and celery and cook until tender but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. While the onion is cooking prepare the other vegetables.
Add the remaining oil, chopped peppers, courgette and aubergine to the pan and cook for3–4 minutes. Add the potatoes, oregano, canned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the sugar, cover the pan and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Continue to cook for about 25–30 minutes until all of the veggies are tender.
Add the butterbeans and olives and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed. Scatter with
toasted pine nuts, crumbled feta and chopped parsley to serve.

Per serve (based on 6 servings)
Energy: 1240kJ/290cals; Protein 9g; Fat 20g (includes 5g saturated fat and 14mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 16g; Fibre 6g