Easy and nourishing vegetable ragu with Gigli pasta.
I was watching a video on why sugar is detrimental to our health on YouTube yesterday, and I was mortified when pasta was included in the list of ‘bad’ carbs.
Pasta does not have the same effect on blood sugar like processed foods as cereals, white rice, instant mashed potatoes, pastries and other baked goods.
In fact, pasta has a lower glycaemic index (GI, the rate at which foods raise blood sugar levels) than some whole foods.
Foods are usually ranked on a scale of 0-100, with pure glucose or sugar assigned a value of 100. White and brown pasta have an average value of 48.5. Other popular foods have the following glycaemic index:
- White bread, 75
- Whole wheat / wholemeal bread, 74
- White rice, boiled, 73
- Cornflakes, 81
- Instant oats, 79
- Apple, 36
- Banana, 51
- White potato, 79
- Sweet potato, 63
- Chickpeas, 28
- Kidney beans, 24
- Soya beans, 16
- Watermelon, 80
You can read the full list that contains other foods and their glycaemic index here.
As you can see, pasta should not be on the list of ‘bad’ carbs at all. Its glycaemic index is lower than white and sweet potatoes! Please note that a food’s glycaemic index is only part of the story. Just because foods like potatoes and watermelons have a high glycaemic index, it doesn’t mean you should avoid them unless you are diabetic.
Those foods are still very good for you! Since they are whole foods and contain good amounts of fibre, they do not raise your blood sugar as you would expect. Processed food, however, will raise your blood sugar in line with their glycaemic index.
This was not supposed to be a nutrition lesson on glycaemic index and glycaemic load, but I felt it was necessary that I explained why pasta is not the devil. Especially since a lot of people avoid pasta because they think it is unhealthy or because they think that they’ll gain weight.
What’s in it for you?
Soya beans provide complete proteins, iron, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Carrots and tomatoes provide beta-carotene, essential for healthy skin, immunity and eye health. Tomatoes provide vitamin c, as well as lycopene, the cancer-fighting compound.
Nutritional yeast is a great source of zinc, essential for healthy skin and proper functioning of the reproductive system. It is also a good source of vitamin B12, which we need for healthy red blood cells.
Easy and nourishing vegetable ragu with Gigli pasta
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped or purèed
- 1 small stick of celery, finely diced
- 1 small carrot, finely diced
- 1 small courgette, finely diced
- 100g baby chestnut mushrooms, cleaned then quartered
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, picked and chopped
- 80g peas
- 80g edamame
- 3 tbsp tomato purèe
- 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- Black pepper, to taste
- 150 g Gigli pasta
- Nutritional yeast, to serve (optional)
- Heat a splash of water (or 2 tbsp of coconut oil or non-stick spray) in a large pan over medium heat, then add the shallots, garlic, carrots, celery, carrots, courgettes, peas and edamame. Sweat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomato purèe, stock cube and a splash of water. Stir thoroughly then add approximately 150 ml of water. Bring to the boil and then cook on a simmer for around 10 minutes to reduce/thicken the tomato sauce.
- Spray a medium frying pan with non-stick spray then place on high heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms and leave to cook without stirring until evenly browned.
- In the meantime, cook the Gigli in a pan of boiling water until al dentè. Reserve some of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta and add it alongside the mushrooms to the sauce.
- Toss the pasta well to coat evenly with the sauce, adding splashes of the pasta water to loosen if needed.
- Take the pasta off the heat then serve in a medium bowl and sprinkle with some parsley leaves, chilli flakes, and nutritional yeast, if using.
Keywords: Pasta, Gigli, Ragu