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. For more information, check out Johanna's website. The photographs are by Sergio Burani. His food, travel and wine photography website is


Bowties ‘n’ Beans
This dish is as nutritious as it is fast, economical and really delicious. The Italians seem to be able to prepare effortlessly wholesome dishes with what’s in the fridge or in the vegetable garden or at the local market. Makes 5 one-cup serves

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
175g/6oz fresh spinach, washed and well drained, each leaf and stem quartered
6 oil-packed sundried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
400g (14oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (1½ cups)
pinch dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup hot water
2 cups uncooked farfalle (bowtie or butterfly) pasta
1 tbsp oil from sundried tomatoes jar
2 tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese

Bowties ‘n’ Beans

Per 1-cup serving
Energy: 962 kJ/ 229 cals; Protein 10 g; Fat 8 g (includes 1 g saturated fat and 3 mg cholesterol); Carbs 31 g; Fibre 5 g

Cut back on the food bills and enjoy 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 check out Diane's Money Saving Meals website.

Chicken and barley risotto
Barley is a healthy low GI grain that’s perfect for cheap eats at home. It’s also one of those magic foods we should be eating more of (nutritious and high in soluble fibre). It takes about 35 minutes to cook and you can use it in place of rice as a side dish (cooked in stock for extra flavour), or added to soups, stews and pilafs or to make a ‘cheat’s risotto’ like this one. Serves 4 to 6

450g (1lb) skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1½ cups pearl barley
5½ cups hot chicken stock
120g (4oz) green beans, trimmed, sliced into 3 pieces
1 cup frozen peas
¼ cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Chicken and barley risotto

Per serving (based on 4 servings)
Energy: 2386 kJ/ 570 cals; Protein 39g; Fat 19g (includes 4g saturated fat and 96mg cholesterol); Carbs 53g; Fibre 13g

Barbecued chermoula lamb with pumpkin and eggplant burghul
GI News myth-buster, Nicole Senior, has published two cookbooks (Eat to Beat Cholesterol and Heart Food) both with home economist Veronica Cuskelly to show how deliciously easy it is to tuck into heart-friendly foods like vegetables, low GI wholegrains, fruits, nuts, fish and lean meats and healthy oils. This low GI recipe for two is from Eat to Beat Cholesterol. When we made it we found it could also serve three people for a lighter meal easily. Serves 2-3

200g (7oz) piece lamb (loin eye)
3 tsp chermoula (or a Moroccan) spice mix
½ cup burghul (bulgur)
1 cup boiling water
2 cups diced (1cm/½in) butternut pumpkin
½ cup sliced beans
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup sliced onion
2¼ cups sliced baby eggplant (aubergine)
Olive oil cooking spray
½ cup reduced fat plain yoghurt, lightly beaten
2 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves

Barbecued chermoula lamb with pumpkin and eggplant burghul

Per serving (based on 3 serves)
Energy: 1718kJ/ 410cals; Protein 26g; Fat 13g (includes 3g saturated fat and 47mg cholesterol); Carbs 47g; Fibre 10g

Check out Nicole’s website for more information on Eat to Beat Cholesterol and Heart Food – they are packed with heart-friendly recipes the whole family will love.