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


Salmon and chicory open-face grilled sandwiches
Italians have a long-standing love affair with Mediterranean bitter greens. In fact, they have been consuming chicory and its cousin, escarole, as a popular vegetable choice since the 14th century. These greens are more commonly used raw, as in salads, but they are absolutely delicious when braised as in this recipe. I use Alaskan wild smoked sockeye salmon for this recipe. Makes 4 servings.

1 garlic head
3 tsp olive oil, separated
½ tsp salt
450g/1lb. fresh chicory
250g/8oz sliced smoked salmon
4 slices whole wheat sourdough bread (30g/1oz slices)

Salmon and chicory open-face grilled sandwiches

Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
Bake the head of garlic – remove the outer layers of garlic skin, taking care to keep cloves intact. Using a sharp knife, cut off top 5mm/1/4in from the garlic head and discard. Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil over the garlic head, wrap it in aluminum and seal, creating a steam tent. Bake for 30 minutes. Cloves will be soft to the touch. Remove from oven, unwrap and cool.
Remove outermost layers of chicory and discard. Separate remaining leaves and wash thoroughly. Gently drain, allowing some of the water to remain on the leaves. Chop coarsely and place in a large sauté pan. Cover and braise over medium heat. Remove chicory from heat. Add in remaining oil and the salt. Mix well and set aside.
Grill (or toast) bread on both sides. While still warm, spread one or more cloves of baked garlic on one side of each slice of bread.
Place 60g/2oz salmon on each slice of bread. Pile about ½ cup of cooked chicory on top. Serve warm.

Per serving
Energy: 850kJ/203cals; Protein 19g; Fat 6g (includes less than 1g saturated fat and 10mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 21g; Fibre 4g

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 quinoa. For more recipes check out the Money Saving Meals website.

Chicken and pumpkin soup with quinoa
When a warm and comforting soup is all that’s needed, Anneka Manning’s recipe from The Low GI Family Cookbook is the perfect meal in a bowl. Gluten-free, quick cooking quinoa is an excellent source of low GI carbs, fibre and complete protein, as well as being rich in B vitamins and minerals. Serves 6

1 small brown onion, finely chopped
1 leek (pale section only), cleaned, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, scrubbed, diced
1 celery stick, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2½ cups water
4 cups salt-reduced chicken stock
500g/1lb 2oz chicken breast or tenderloin fillets, trimmed
¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
400g/14oz pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into 1cm (½in) pieces
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2–3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

Chicken and pumpkin soup with quinoa

Combine the onion, leek, carrots, celery, garlic, cumin and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onion is tender.
Add the remaining 2 cups water, the chicken stock and the chicken. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook, very gently, for a further 2–5 minutes or until the chicken is just tender. Remove the chicken from the soup with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the quinoa to the soup. Bring back to a simmer over high heat then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the pumpkin and quinoa are tender.
Meanwhile, use 2 forks or your fingers to shred the chicken. Add the chicken to the soup and heat through. Taste, season with pepper and serve immediately sprinkled with the parsley.

Per serving
Energy: 1060kJ/250cals; Protein 27g; Fat 6.5g (includes 1.8g saturated fat); Available carbohydrate 21g; Fibre 4g

My Meatless Mondays.
Cauliflower and celeriac soup
This wonderfully comforting soup has a delicious, unusual flavour that will keep your fellow diners guessing. Use vegetable stock for Meatless Monday Meals. Serves 4 to 6

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
250g/8oz celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped
450g/1lb cauliflower, roughly chopped
440g/15oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

Cauliflower and celeriac soup

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and cook the onion for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the celeriac, cauliflower, and beans and cook for another 3–4 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the stock. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15–20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.
Allow to cool slightly, then puree with an immersion blender or in a blender. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Per serve (based on 4 serves)
226 calories; 10 g protein; 36 g carb; 6 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 10 g fiber; 591 mg sodium
Protein, Low GI, Bold Flavor: Recipes to Boost Health and Promote Weight Loss
From High Protein, Low GI, Bold Flavor: Recipes to Boost Health and Promote Weight Loss, copyright © Fiona Carns, 2012; reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.