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


My traditional winter minestrone
Fresh homemade vegetable soup shows up on Italian kitchen tables all year long. Whatever fresh vegetables are already in the fridge, or growing in the vegetable garden or are the seasonal choices at the greengrocer’s is what constitutes that day’s ‘minestrone’ or large pot of soup. These days we can easily find zucchini in the winter and broccoli in the summer, but I stick pretty much to the traditional winter/spring/summer/fall vegetables. Here’s how I make my minestrone during the winter months. Choose a lower GI potato if you can. Serves: 8 (1½ cups each)

1 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 large potato (240g/8oz), peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 medium carrots, sliced
wedge (180g/6oz) butternut pumpkin (squash), peeled and diced
180g/6oz cauliflower or broccoli, broken into small florets
120g/4oz fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
4 large peeled canned tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
4 sprigs flat leaf parsley
30g/1oz parmigiano cheese rind, scrubbed and cut into small pieces (optional)

Traditional winter minestrone

Prepare the vegetables, parsley and cheese and add them and all at once to a large soup pot with a little salt to taste. Pour in 10 cups cold water, cover and bring to a boil on high, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 1 hour.
Allow the soup to cool down a bit to prevent splattering. Using a handheld immersion mixer or a food blender, pulse the vegetables in batches to attain a chunky, semi-pureed texture. Heat before serving. (If preferred, the cooked vegetables can be left intact and served directly from the pot.)

Per serving
Energy: 365kJ/ 87cals; Protein 4g; Fat 1g (includes less than 1g saturated fat and 2mg cholesterol); Available carbs 16g; Fibre 4g

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Tuna and chickpea salad from the low GI emergency pantry
Use a flavoured tuna (like chilli) if you want more zing. To give it some crunch, serve with grainy crackers such as Ryvita crispbreads or make wraps with white corn tortillas. Ship chives or spring (green) onions over the top for a little extra colour and flavour if you have some in the fridge or garden. Serves 4

280g jar char-grilled vegetable antipasto
185g can tuna, drained
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
125g can corn, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons oil from antipasto jar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Tuna and chickpea salad

Roughly chop the antipasto vegetables and set aside the oil from the jar to make the dressing.
Flake the tuna in a large bowl using a fork. Add the chickpeas, vegetables and corn and stir to combine.
Whisk together the oil and vinegar to make a dressing, pour over salad and stir lightly to combine.

Per serve
Energy: 1230kJ/ 294 cals; Protein 20g; 16Fat g (includes 1g saturated fat and 25mg cholesterol); Available 26carbs g; Fibre 6g

Feedback: We would love to hear what you have stocked in your emergency pantry and what you whip up to feed the family in times of crisis when, for whatever reason, you don't have water or power.