1 September 2009

In the GI News Kitchen

American dietitian and author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Johanna Burani, shares favourite recipes with a low or moderate GI from her Italian kitchen (photographed by Sergio Burani). For more information, check out Johanna's website.


Nonna Anita’s tuna-stuffed summer tomatoes
The late summer months in Italy are when Italian cooks feverishly start canning their home-grown tomatoes while preparing fresh tomato-based recipes that their families wait all year to enjoy. Just like with grapes, the sun’s magic produces a succulent sweetness in tomatoes that reaches its peak in September. So, there are tomatoes on the table at lunch and at dinner every day until the family’s garden supply is exhausted. This is my mother-in-law’s recipe that she served for lunch on sweltering hot days. The tuna composition is not so unusual (except for the addition of capers perhaps) but it is the explosion in the mouth of summer fragrances and tastes embodied in the tomato that makes this a staple recipe in our household at this time of year.
Serves 2

2 x 340 g (12 oz) beefsteak tomatoes
200 g (7 oz) can light tuna in olive oil, thoroughly drained
1 (scant) tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed well
1 small stalk celery, with leaves, thinly sliced and diced (approx ½ cup)
3 large sprigs flat parsley, minced (approx 1 tablespoon)
4 large basil leaves, hand ripped into small pieces (approx 2 tablespoons)
¼ cup light mayonnaise
juice of 1 lemon (approx 2 tablespoons)
salt/pepper, optional


  • Wash the tomatoes and, using a sharp knife, cut off the tops. With the knife and a teaspoon, loosen and scoop out the tomato pulp and seeds, creating a large hollow center. Sprinkle lightly the insides of the tomatoes with salt, turn upside down and set aside on a cutting board. On the same board, chop the tomato pulp.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, add the tomato pulp, the tuna, capers, celery, parsley and basil. Mix all ingredients well, making sure to break up the tuna chunks into small pieces. Add the mayonnaise and the lemon juice and mix well. If desired, add salt and pepper to taste.
    Fill the tomato cavities with the tuna mixture and refrigerate for one hour before serving.

Per serving
Energy: 1402 kJ/ 334 cals; Protein 25 g; Fat 17 g (includes 3 g saturated fat and cholesterol 16 mg); Carbs 21 g; Fibre 4 g

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 Money Saving Meals author Diane Temple. For more recipes, visit Diane’s website.

Pork, choy sum and noodle stir-fry
I first created this for Low GI Gluten-free Living and it really is a one-pot wonder. I have adapted it slightly for Money Saving Meals to cut the costs without losing out on any of the flavour. Pork is a lean meat that’s loaded with essential vitamins such as B12, B6, thiamine, niacin, minerals such as zinc and selenium and nutrients that include iron and magnesium. You can substitute 450 g (1 lb) skinless chicken breast for about the same cost. Buy vegetables that are cheapest on the day. I planned to use snow peas but sugar snap peas were cheaper. You can use any Asian green that you fancy – they are always great value. Remember, recipes are guides – change them to suit you.
Serves 4 @ AUD$3.15 per serve

200 g (7 oz) dry rice noodles
2 tablespoons gluten-free reduced-salt tamari
2 tablespoons gluten-free sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
350 g (12 oz) pork stir fry mix (or pork fillet, sliced thinly)
1 onion, sliced into thin wedges
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 red (or green) capsicum, sliced into thin strips
100 g (3½ oz)snow peas or sugar snap peas, trimmed, sliced diagonally in half
1 bunch choy sum, trimmed, halved at stem joint, stem bases removed, leaves and stems sliced
¼ cup (50 g/about 2 oz) toasted peanuts, chopped roughly


  • Prepare the noodles according to packet directions, drain and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the tamari, sweet chilli sauce and sesame oil and set aside. In a large frying pan or wok, heat 2 teaspoons of canola oil. Add half the pork strips and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes or until just cooked. Spoon into a heatproof bowl and set aside. Repeat with the remaining pork. Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium–high heat. Add the onion and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the ginger, and capsicum and, and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add the snow peas or sugar snap peas and choy sum stems, and stir-fry for a further 1 minute. (Add a little water or gluten-free reduced-salt chicken stock to pan, if it starts to stick.)
  • Return the pork to the pan with tamari mix, choy sum leaves and the noodles. Toss until well combined and heated through. Spoon into serving bowls and serve sprinkled with peanuts.

Per serving
Energy: 1600 kJ/ 382 cals; Protein 28 g; Fat 15 g (includes 2 g saturated fat and 83 mg cholesterol); Carbs 32 g; Fibre 5 g


New low GI cooking website
Libby is ‘cooking at the cutting edge.’ She is a Sydney (Australia) home cook with a family member with type 2 diabetes. Her new website features favourite recipes adapted for low GI eating. There are only a handful of recipes at present, but Libby is adding them regularly ... ‘as fast as I can cook and photograph them in my day-to-day life!’ says Libby.