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


Zucchine in agrodolce
Nothing beats early homegrown summer squash fresh grown. Zucchine are tender and lusciously filled with the flavors of the fertile earth they grow out of. This is an old traditional Sicilian recipe whose sweet and sour (agrodolce) flavors “ripen” a few days after it is made. Other herbs can be used: basil, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme. Makes six ½ cup servings.

2 small cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
900g (2lb) zucchini/courgettes (about 6 large)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) red wine vinegar
6 leaves fresh mint

Zucchine in agrodolce

Heat barbecue grill (indoor or outdoor).
Combine the garlic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Wash and pat dry the zucchini. Cut off the ends. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into ½cm/¼in diagonal slices. Add slices to the mixing bowl and, with your hands, toss to coat them with the oil-garlic mixture.
Place the slices on the grill for 6–10 minutes, turning once. Do not overcook. The grilling time will depend on the heat of the grill. An indoor grill takes about 10 minutes. When done …
Place the zucchini in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the sugar, vinegar and remaining olive oil over the slices. Gently toss, spoon the mixture in a shallow serving dish and sprinkle with small, hand-ripped pieces of mint. Serve cold or at room temperature. Best if served after 1–2 days in the fridge.

Per serve (1/2 cup)
Energy: 400kJ/95cals; Protein 2g; Fat 7g (includes 1g saturated fat); Available carbohydrate 6g; Fibre 2g

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Spicy Moroccan chickpea & lentil soup
This soup will thicken slightly on standing. You can replace the chickpeas with soy beans or any kind of white bean. This soup is also delicious topped with low fat natural yoghurt. It was originally published in The Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook (Hachette) Serves 6

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5cm (1in) piece fresh ginger, finely grated -- (1 in)
3 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp saffron threads soaked in 2 tablespoons boiling water
400g (14oz) can Italian chopped tomatoes
4 cups good-quality vegetable stock
4 cups water
1 cup (250g) red lentils, rinsed well
2 x 400g (14oz) cans chickpeas, drained
1/3 cup chopped coriander
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, plus extra to serve
salt and freshly ground black pepper
low-fat natural yoghurt to serve

Spicy Moroccan chickpea & lentil soup

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6–7 minutes or until softens. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin and chilli powder. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the saffron threads and soaking liquid, tomatoes, stock, water and lentils to the pan. Cover and bring to a simmer and cook gently, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add chickpeas and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the coriander and parsley. season to taste and serve with a dollop of yoghurt and extra chopped parsley.

Per serve
Energy: 1222kJ/ 292cals; Protein 19g; Fat 7g (includes 1g saturated fat); Available carbohydrate 33g; Fibre 2g

Manfredi at Bells chef, Stefano Manfredi, is recognised as one of Australia’s leading exponents of modern Italian cuisine. Since the 1980s, he has owned and operated restaurants in the Sydney area, written on food and cooking (these days a weekly food column for the Sydney Morning Herald's Spectrum), published four books, presented master classes and made television appearances. He also leads a cooking tour annually to Italy and enjoys making salami and sausages with his friend Pino. This month he shares a tagine with GI News readers.

Stefano Manfredi
Stefano Manfredi

Lamb and lentil tagine
As the days cool a little, appetites grow keener for foods that give warmth and comfort. The cook senses this change and thoughts turn to ingredients that require slower cooking. To my mind, lentils are the perfect comfort food – soothing, flavoursome and able to absorb many other flavours.

Gently heat 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a tagine base or heavy casserole pot, and add a pinch of saffron, a teaspoon of powdered turmeric and 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger. Lightly fry for a minute then add a chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots and a chopped celery heart (including the tender celery leaves). Stir well and lightly fry for 2–3 minutes. Add 1 cup of well-washed lentils and a lamb shoulder cut into 2cm (1in) pieces. Mix well and add enough water to just cover all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper, stir, and place the lid on. Place the tagine (or casserole) into a preheated 180ºC/350ºF oven for 50–70 minutes until the lamb and lentils are thoroughly cooked. Once out of the oven, roughly chop a bunch of coriander and squeeze in the juice of a lemon. Check for seasoning and serve.

You can see the final result HERE.

– For more of Steve’s recipes, go to: