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


Rice pudding with almond cherry sauce
Cherries and almonds are a match made in heaven. That’s not to say that the rice-milk-lemon mixture isn’t a divine combination as well. In winter, rice pudding (‘budino di riso’) is cooked with lots of milk to make it creamy and is served warm by itself or with stewed dried fruit. This is the summer version: just barely enough milk to cook the rice, leaving it dry enough to take the shape of a pudding mold, served at room temperature with a warmed seasonal fruit sauce. The Italians think of everything! Be generous with the sauce (double sauce ingredients if you wish). Makes 5 (depending on mold size used.)

2 cups fat free milk
1 cup Uncle Ben’s long grain rice
pinch salt
finely grated zest ½ lemon (approx. 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons sugar
450g (1lb) dark sweet cherries, washed, pitted, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon almond extract

Rice pudding with almond cherry sauce

Bring the milk to a boil slowly. Gently add in rice and salt, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. If needed, in the last few minutes, add ½ cup hot water, 2 tablespoons at a time. When the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat, add the lemon zest, almond extract and sugar and mix thoroughly. Divide the rice mixture evenly and fill 5 molds, pressing down to fill all the crevices. Set aside.
Make the sauce, by combining the cherries and honey in a small sauce pan and cooking over a low heat for 15 minutes. Stir frequently. When the sauce becomes creamy, remove from heat, add the almond extract, and set aside.
Place the rice molds upside down on individual dessert plates, and tap to release. Spoon the warm sauce generously on top and serve immediately.

Per serving
Energy: 1079kJ/ 257 cals; Protein 8g; Fat 1g (includes 0g saturated fat and 2mg cholesterol); Available carbs 54g; Fibre 2g

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Burgers with beetroot relish
Make these with seriously grainy rolls, pile on the veggies and serve up a low GI meal everyone will love. Serve them ‘ready made’ or just throw everything on to a large platter and let everyone make their own. Makes 8 burgers.

1–2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, scrubbed and grated
1 small zucchini, grated
2 teaspoons Moroccan spice mix
350g (12oz) lean beef mince
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
8 dense grainy rolls, toasted

Burgers with beetroot relish

Beetroot relish
225g (8oz) can sliced beetroot, drained
¼ cup low fat plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

90g (3oz) mixed salad leaves
1 large Lebanese cucumber, sliced
2–3 Roma tomatoes, sliced

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the carrot, zucchini and spice mix and cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine. Place this mix in a large heatproof bowl and add the mince, tomato sauce, breadcrumbs and parsley and mix well to combine. Form into eight patties, about 6–7cm in diameter.
Wipe the frying pan with paper towel and reheat with 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil sizzles, cook half the patties for 4–5 minutes each side over low-medium heat, until cooked through. Drain on paper towel. Repeat with the remaining patties using more oil if necessary. While the patties are cooking, make the beetroot relish . . .
Puree the beetroot with the yoghurt in a small food processor or blender and then stir in the parsley.
Assemble the burgers with a toasted grainy roll, meat pattie, a dollop of relish and a mixture of the fillings.

Per serving
Energy: 1374kJ/327cals; Protein 20g; Fat 10g (includes 2g saturated fat and 23mg cholesterol); Available carbs 37g; Fibre 6g