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


Spaghetti with parsley sauce.
No Italian household is ever without fresh parsley. It grows in the family vegetable garden or potted on a sunny terrace. Even in the dead of winter a vibrant bunch is kept at the ready in the refrigerated crisper. This simple sauce can be used with pasta, barley or rice, on crostini, in omelets, with chicken or fish. Your imagination is your only limitation. Here I’ve paired it with spaghetti. The recipe makes 1 cup sauce, but you only use ¼ cup for the 2 pasta portions served here so you have leftovers for another meal or two. Serves 2.

1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves only
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2–4 large cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
½ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
120g/4 oz spaghetti

Spaghetti with parsley sauce

Wash and pat dry the parsley leaves. Finely chop and set aside.
Combine the olive oil, garlic, salt and lemon juice in a medium-sized jar. Tighten the lid and shake to mix well. Add in the parsley and cheese, tighten the lid and shake again.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and add ¼ cup of the sauce. Mix well and serve.

Per serve
Energy: 1696kJ/404cals; Protein 10g; Fat 21g (includes 4g saturated fat and 6mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 44g; Fibre 2g

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 including these recipes from The Modern Vegetarian by Maria Elia published by Kyle Books, London and from Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook by Del Sroufe published by The Experiment.

Spiced caramelised onion and beetroot bulgar pilau.
In this delicious recipe from Maria Elia’s The Modern Vegetarian, the earthiness and sweetness of beetroot blend perfectly with these spices and the bulgar and pine nuts add a unique texture. You could even try adapting it by sprinkling with pomegranates or a little pomegranate molasses. Serves 4.

3 raw beetroots
175g (6oz) bulgar
3 tbsp olive oil
3 onions, finely sliced
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
pinch of chilli powder
1½ cups boiling water
pinch of sea salt
40g (about 1½ oz) toasted pine nuts
3 tbsp chopped mint
1 lemon

Spiced caramelised onion and beetroot bulgar pilau

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas Mark 5.
Wash and scrub the beetroots, wrap in foil and roast until tender, about 30–50 minutes (depending on the size of the beetroot). Leave to cool, then peel and dice.
Tip the bulgar into a fine sieve and wash under cold water to remove excess starch.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook over a medium heat until caramelised, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, garlic and chilli powder and cook for a further minute. Add the diced beetroot, bulgar and boiling water, then cover and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Season with sea salt, stir through the pine nuts, mint and a squeeze of lemon and serve hot or at room temperature.

Per serve
Energy 220kJ/ 400cals; 22g fat (includes saturated fat 2.5g); 10g fibre; 8g protein; 38g available carbohydrate

Modern Vegetarian

Recipe and image extracted with permission from The Modern Vegetarian by Maria Elia © (2012), $27.99, published by Kyle Books, London.

Rice salad with fennel, orange and chickpeas.
The mild anise-like flavor of fennel is well balanced by the citrus in this hearty salad. GI News tip: We saved time and made this with microwave brown basmati rice and a can of chickpeas. Delicious, and super quick. Serves 6.

1½ cups brown basmati rice (or 2½ cups cooked rice)
2 cups cooked chickpeas or one 15oz (420g) can, drained and rinsed
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
1 orange, zested, peeled and segmented (zist and segments reserved)
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp (30ml) white wine vinegar
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup finely chopped parsley

Rice salad with fennel, orange and chickpeas
Photo copyright Cara Howe.

Rinse the rice under cold water and drain. Add to a pot with 3 cups cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 45–50 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Combine the chickpeas, fennel and orange zest and segments, white wine vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes and parsley in a large bowl while the rice cooks, and mix well. When the rice is cooked, fluff it up, add to the bowl and mix well.

Per serve
Energy 1170 kJ/ 280cals; 2.7g fat (includes saturated fat 0.5g); 7g fibre; 9g protein; 51g available carbohydrate

Forks Over Knives 
Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook published by The Experiment is available from bookshops and online. With over 300 recipes for plant-based eating throughout the year, it is companion to the hit documentary and the New York Times Number 1 best seller Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health.