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 photosbysergio.com.
Beet greens frittelle.
Italians love to use every part of every vegetable plant they can. This recipe incorporates the slightly bitter-tasting leaves of the rootbeet in a simple, quick and wholesome vegetable side dish or entree. “Frittelle” translates as “fritters” but there’s nothing deep fried here! Serves 4 as side dish
7oz (200g) beet greens (15 leaves with stems)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ cup chopped red onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3–4 tsp lemon zest (yellow part only)
2 large eggs
2 egg whites or ½ cup egg substitute
½ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
¼ cup flavored breadcrumbs (I used store bought)
Wash and pat dry beet greens. Coarsely chop and set them aside.
Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high flame. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add in the greens, lower to medium heat and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add in the lemon zest, mix throughly. Adjust seasonings. Set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl whisk together the next 4 ingredients (eggs through breadcrumbs). Add to the vegetable mixture and combine well using a wooden spoon.
Over a medium flame heat a small cast iron frying pan, previously coated with vegetable spray. Drop ½ cup of vegetable mixture into pan, slightly flatten with the back of a fork and cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side. Continue until all the vegetable-egg mixture is cooked. Serve hot, warm or cold.
Energy: 743kJ/177cals; Protein 14g; Fat 10g (includes 3g saturated fat and 93mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 10g; Fibre 3g
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 our Money Saving Meals recipes including these salads from the Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook (Hachette Australia) and the California Walnut Commission.
Roasted beetroot and white bean salad with balsamic dressing.
600g (1lb 5oz) beetroot
120g (4oz) baby spinach leaves
3 cups cooked white beans (that’s two 2 400g/14oz cans, drained)
1 red onion, halved, thinly sliced
4 thick slices grainy bread, to serve
1½ tbsp (30ml) balsamic vinegar
2 tsp flaxseed oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Trim the beetroot leaves, leaving about 3cm (1in) of top attached. Do not trim bases as this will cause the beetroot to bleed and loose its colour. Wrap beetroot in a large piece of foil and place on a baking tray. Roast for 1½ –2 hours or until tender. Set aside to cool. Once cool, put on rubber gloves and peel the beetroot. Cut into thin wedges.
Place the spinach leaves, beans and onion in a bowl. Toss to combine. Add the beetroot and toss gently to combine.
To make the dressing, place the vinegar, oil and garlic in a small jug. Whisk well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately with the bread.
Tangy roasted beet and walnut salad.
This fibre-rich salad from the California Walnut Commission features roasted beets to highlight the flavour of fennel and oranges. Although this recipe is high in fat, it's the heart-healthy kind providing essential omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Use a little less oil if it bothers you. Serves 6 (as an accompaniment).
1 tbsp (15ml) orange juice
2 tbsp (30ml) white wine vinegar
1 tbsp (15ml) pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (50 ml) extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2lb (1kg) beets
2 bunches watercress or arugula
2 oranges, peeled and cut into sections
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 cup California walnut halves, toasted
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Place the beets in an 8in (20cm) square baking dish. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, or until beets are tender (will depend on size of beets). Cool.
Whisk together the orange juice, vinegar and maple syrup in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil, taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.
Peel, slice and toss beets with 2 tablespoons (30ml) of dressing.
Gently toss watercress, oranges, fennel and walnuts in serving bowl. Top with beets and drizzle with remaining dressing.
Energy 1445 kJ/ 345als; 26g fat (includes saturated fat 2.4g); 9 g fibre; 7.8g protein; 21g available carbohydrate
What about borscht?
Janet Clarkson’s, Soup. A Global History (Reaktion Books distributed in Australia by New South Books), contains an historical recipe for ‘Borschtch’ as described in On the Manners and Customs of the Ukrainians in Letters from the Ukraine, by a Russian Gentleman, published in 1807. ‘This being a national dish, the method of preparing it may not be uninteresting. They take a quantity of meat, and boil it in sirovetz, water made sour by letting some bread remain in it for several days; they add to it such vegetables as are in season, cabbage in autumn, beet root in winter, young nettle or sorrel in spring, and the tops of the beet root, or of young cabbage, in summer; after boiling the whole with a small quantity of millet, or flour, they mix with it cream, sour or fresh, as it suits their palate or fancy and eat it with bread cut small, previously dried in an oven.’