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


Blueberry-lemon buttermilk pancakes
We have beautiful fresh blueberries now (a month earlier than past years), so I was inspired to put them in pancakes. Italians don’t eat pancakes. They eat something similar, called ‘frittelle’ which may be savory and served as a light main course, or sweet and served for dessert. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t take too long for my Italian house guests to adjust their morning palates to the scrumptious taste of this favorite American breakfast food. These are quite hearty pancakes and very filling. You can easily double the milk and make thinner, less cake-like pancakes. Because of the flour, the GI is probably moderate.
Makes 6 pancakes.

For the coulis
2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and pat-dried
1/3 cup sugar (use low GI LogiCane in Australia)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Blend all ingredients in a food processor for approximately 2 minutes. Warm before use.

For the pancakes
½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1 egg
¼ cup egg substitute or 2 extra egg whites
½ cup fat-free buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ cup blueberries, washed and pat-dried

Blueberry-lemon buttermilk pancakes

Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg in a small bowl.
Whisk the egg, egg substitute, buttermilk, vanilla, ricotta cheese and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just mixed.
Prepare a large skillet (frying pan) with vegetable spray and place over medium heat.
Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the skillet and add a few blueberries on each pancake. Cook for 1½–2 minutes or until the edges appear brown then flip and cook the other side for another 1½ minutes.
Place 1 or 2 pancakes on each serving plate topped with a little of the warmed blueberry coulis.

Per pancake with a little coulis
Energy: 873kJ/204cals; Protein 8g; Fat 4g (includes 1.5g saturated fat and 44mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 34g; 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 our Money Saving Meals recipes including Smoked salmon and dill pasta salad from The Low GI Diet Cookbook (Hachette Australia and Da Capo Press in the US) and tips on making pasta salads from Money Saving Meals (Hachette Australia).

Smoked salmon and dill pasta salad
This works just as well with canned salmon and tuna and is a delicious way to add some omega-3 to your life (so much tastier than a fish oil capsule!). If you like you can replace some or all of the onions in the salad with roughly chopped marinated artichoke hearts. To make a meal of it, pop a big salad of mixed green leaves on the table. Serves 4.

250g (9oz) penne rigate (or your favourite shape)
100g (3½oz) smoked salmon cut into strips
6–8 cherry tomatoes (about 100g) halved, or quartered if large
4 medium spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced, diagonally (including the green tops!)
1 small red (Spanish) onion cut into thin rings, slices separated

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 spring onions (scallions), chopped
juice of ½ a good juicy lemon
½ cup chopped dill
freshly ground black pepper

Smoked salmon and dill pasta salad

To make the dressing, combine oil, onions, lemon juice and dill in a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with pepper.
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water until al dente following packet instructions for timing. Drain well then rinse under a stream of cold water and leave to dry. Return to the pan in which it was cooked.
Pour the dressing over the pasta. Add the salmon, tomatoes and spring onions, stir gently to combine and serve.

Per serve
1,800kJ/430cals; 21g fat (includes 3g saturated fat); 4g fibre; 14g protein; 45g carbohydrate

Making a success of pasta salads
A pasta salad can sometimes taste a bit bland despite all your creativity, no one eats it and you end up throwing it out. Here’s how you have a no-waste, sure-fire success on your hands.

  • Be creative but keep it in the family rather than opting for fusion confusion. Combine the tried and true ingredients that go with pasta and suggest the Mediterranean. The same goes for Asian-style noodle salads. Stick with the culture and cuisine.
  • Proportion matters too – you need plenty of other ingredients (vegetables, legumes, mushrooms, meats or seafood) to combine with the pasta for flavour, colour and texture. Allow around 50–60g (2oz) dried pasta per person
  • Boost flavour by making the most of stronger tasting ingredients – feta or Parmesan cheese, herbs, finely sliced spring onions (scallions), chopped red onion, capers, sun-dried tomatoes or capsicum, olives, a little spicy salami, toasted nuts. A little goes a long way.