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Our Top 10 Diabetes-Friendly Recipes

Our Top 10 Diabetes-Friendly Recipes

It’s no secret that diabetes is often a life-altering condition, however, this doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice super tasty dishes. Although diabetes can throw a curveball into your life, it can also be seen as a way to improve your culinary game and become a pro cook.

Our top 10 diabetes-friendly recipes redefine what it means to eat well as a diabetic. Ready to whip up some delicious dishes? We are!

What is the criteria for diabetes-friendly recipes?

First things first, it’s important to outline the important factors when picking recipes that are appropriate for those who are diabetic.

The first and most important factor is glycaemic index (GI).

What is glycaemic index? Well, GI is a measuring system that tells us if foods raise blood sugar slowly, moderately or quickly. It’s measured on a 0-100 scale and, typically speaking, the higher the GI, the worse it is for your blood sugar.

Fibre is also another important factor to consider. Your body cannot break down fibre, so it won’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels like carbohydrates will. You will often find high-fibre foods low on the glycemic index.

 

1. Zesty Quinoa Salad

quinoa salad

For the Salad:

225 grams quinoa

475 ml water or vegetable stock (for cooking quinoa)

1 cucumber, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

150 grams cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

25 grams fresh parsley, chopped

25 grams fresh mint, chopped (optional)

50 grams crumbled feta cheese (skip for a dairy-free version)

50 grams pitted olives, sliced

Salt and black pepper to taste


For the Zesty Dressing:

60 ml extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and black pepper to taste


Instructions:

  1. Begin by rinsing the quinoa under cold water using a fine-mesh sieve. This helps remove any bitter outer coating.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and water (or vegetable stock for added flavour).
  3. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Once done, remove it from the heat, fluff it with a fork, and let it cool to room temperature.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, dried oregano, and ground cumin.
  6. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Give it a good whisk to combine all the flavours.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, diced cucumber, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion, fresh parsley, and optional fresh mint.
  8. Pour the zesty dressing over the salad ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  9. Toss everything together until the dressing is evenly distributed, coating all the ingredients.
  10. Gently fold in the crumbled feta cheese and sliced olives. Be careful not to overmix, as you want to keep the feta and olives intact.
  11. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the zesty quinoa salad for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to meld. This salad can also be made a few hours ahead of time.
  12. When you're ready to serve, taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, black pepper, or a splash of lemon juice, if needed.
  13. Serve the zesty quinoa salad in individual bowls or as a side dish. It's a delightful and nutritious option for a light lunch or as a refreshing side for dinner.

This zesty quinoa salad is not only diabetes-friendly but also bursting with Mediterranean flavours and wholesome ingredients that will satisfy your taste buds and keep your energy levels stable. Enjoy!


2. Grilled Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce

baked salmon with sauce

For the Salmon:

4 salmon fillets (about 150g each)

2 tablespoons olive oil (30ml)

1 lemon, sliced

Salt and black pepper, to taste


For the Lemon Dill Sauce:

150ml crème fraîche

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and black pepper, to taste


Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the crème fraîche, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, and freshly chopped dill.
  2. Season the sauce with a pinch of salt and a dash of black pepper. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the sauce while you prepare the salmon.
  4. Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat. Make sure it's clean and lightly oiled to prevent the salmon from sticking.
  5. Brush the salmon fillets with olive oil to prevent sticking to the grill.
  6. Season both sides of the salmon fillets with salt and black pepper to your taste.
  7. Place the seasoned salmon fillets directly onto the grill, skin-side down.
  8. Grill for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until the salmon easily flakes with a fork. The cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the fillets. Be careful not to overcook, as salmon can dry out quickly.
  9. Once the salmon is perfectly grilled, transfer it to a serving platter.
  10. Garnish the salmon with lemon slices for an extra burst of citrus flavor.
  11. Drizzle the Lemon Dill Sauce over the grilled salmon or serve it on the side.
  12. Serve your Grilled Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce with your choice of sides, whether it's a crisp garden salad or steamed asparagus.

This dish is a delightful combination of the smoky flavours from the grill and the zesty freshness of the Lemon Dill Sauce. It's a fantastic way to enjoy a healthy and delicious meal that's perfect for any occasion.


3. Cauliflower Crust Veggie Pizza

cauliflower pizza

For the Cauliflower Crust:

1 medium cauliflower (about 600g), grated or processed into small rice-sized pieces

100g grated cheddar cheese

1 large egg, beaten

1 tsp dried oregano

A pinch of salt

A pinch of black pepper


For the Pizza Toppings:

150g sliced bell peppers (mixed colors)

100g sliced cherry tomatoes

75g sliced red onions

100g sliced mushrooms

50g sliced black olives (optional)

150g grated mozzarella cheese

1 tsp dried basil

A pinch of salt and black pepper


Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 220°C (200°C for fan ovens) or 425°F.
  2. Place the grated or processed cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it, and microwave on high for about 5-6 minutes until tender.
  3. Allow the cauliflower to cool, then place it in a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the drained cauliflower, cheddar cheese, beaten egg, dried oregano, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper.
  5. Mix until a dough-like consistency is achieved.
  6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and shape the cauliflower mixture into a pizza base, about 1/4 inch thick. You can make it round or rectangular as per your preference.
  7. Bake the cauliflower crust in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until it turns golden and slightly crispy at the edges.
  8. While the crust is baking, you can prepare the toppings. In a bowl, combine the sliced bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms, and black olives (if using).
  9. Season with a pinch of salt, black pepper, and dried basil.
  10. Toss to mix.
  11. Once the cauliflower crust is ready, remove it from the oven.
  12. Sprinkle half of the grated mozzarella cheese evenly over the crust.
  13. Spread the prepared veggie toppings over the cheese layer.
  14. Finish by sprinkling the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.
  15. Place the pizza back in the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  16. Remove the cauliflower crust veggie pizza from the oven and let it cool slightly before slicing.
  17. Serve your delicious pizza while it's still warm. 

Enjoy your guilt-free, low-carb pizza that's bursting with flavour!


4. Berry Blast Smoothie Bowl

smoothie bowl

Ingredients:

200g mixed frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)

150g plain Greek yogurt

30g rolled oats

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 medium ripe banana

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1-2 tablespoons water (adjust to achieve desired consistency)

Fresh berries and sliced almonds for topping


Instructions:

  1. In a blender, combine the mixed frozen berries, plain Greek yogurt, rolled oats, chia seeds, ripe banana, and ground cinnamon.
  2. Blend the ingredients until you achieve a smooth and creamy texture. If the mixture seems too thick, gradually add 1-2 tablespoons of water to reach your preferred thickness.
  3. Taste the smoothie base to ensure it's sweet enough for your liking. If necessary, you can add a small amount of natural sweetener like stevia or a touch of honey.
  4. Once your smoothie base is ready, pour it into a bowl.
  5. Top with a generous handful of fresh berries and a sprinkle of sliced almonds. Feel free to get creative with your toppings; you can add a drizzle of natural nut butter for some extra healthy fats or a few more chia seeds for added texture.

This smoothie bowl is a fantastic way to satisfy your sweet tooth without causing dramatic spikes in your blood sugar. The combination of fibre from the oats and chia seeds, the natural sugars in the fruits, and the protein from Greek yogurt helps maintain stable glucose levels.


5. Chickpea and Spinach Curry

chickpea curry

Ingredients:

400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

200g fresh spinach leaves

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1-inch piece of ginger, grated

1 can of chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon chilli powder (adjust to your spice preference)

1 tablespoon olive oil

200ml low-sodium vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh coriander leaves, for garnish

Juice of 1/2 lemon


Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 3-4 minutes until it becomes translucent.
  3. Add the minced garlic and grated ginger to the pan.
  4. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently until fragrant.
  5. Sprinkle in the ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, ground paprika, ground cinnamon, and chili powder.
  6. Stir well to coat the onions with the aromatic spices. Let them cook for another minute.
  7. Pour in the can of chopped tomatoes and vegetable broth.
  8. Mix everything together and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
  9. Allow it to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Add the canned chickpeas to the curry and let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly and the chickpeas absorb the flavours.
  11. Fold in the fresh spinach leaves and let them wilt into the curry. This should take around 2-3 minutes.
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the curry for a refreshing zing. Adjust the seasoning and lemon juice to your preference.
  14. Serve your chickpea and spinach curry hot, garnished with fresh coriander leaves.

This hearty and healthy dish is delicious on its own or served with brown rice or whole wheat naan for a complete and satisfying meal. Enjoy!


6. Turkey and Vegetable Stir-Fry

turkey stir fry

Ingredients:

300g turkey breast, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small carrot, thinly sliced

1 small courgette (zucchini), thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch)

60ml low-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon honey or sugar substitute (suitable for diabetics)

Salt and black pepper to taste

Chopped fresh coriander or parsley for garnish (optional)


Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of the chicken broth until it forms a smooth paste. Set aside.
  2. In a large wok or non-stick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the sliced turkey to the pan and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes or until it's no longer pink in the centre. Remove the turkey from the pan and set it aside.
  4. In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir-fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  5. Add the sliced red and yellow bell peppers, carrot, courgette, and red onion to the pan. Stir-fry for about 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are tender-crisp.
  6. Return the cooked turkey to the pan with the vegetables.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining chicken broth, low-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey (or sugar substitute).
  8. Pour the sauce over the turkey and vegetables in the pan.
  9. Stir in the cornflour paste to thicken the sauce.
  10. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and coats the stir-fry ingredients.
  11. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  12. Serve the turkey and vegetable stir-fry hot, garnished with chopped fresh coriander or parsley, if desired.

Enjoy your delicious turkey and vegetable stir-fry! It's a colourful and flavourful dish that's easy on your blood sugar levels.


7. Avocado and Black Bean Salad

avocado salad

Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados

400g canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 lime, juiced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh coriander leaves, for garnish


Instructions:

  1. Start by preparing the avocados. Cut them in half, remove the pits, and carefully scoop out the flesh.
  2. Cut the avocado into bite-sized chunks.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced avocados, drained black beans, finely chopped red onion, and diced red and yellow bell peppers.
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, ground cumin, and paprika.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss all the ingredients to ensure even coating.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  7. Let the salad chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving. 
  8. Just before serving, garnish with fresh coriander leaves to add a touch of freshness and a burst of colour.

Serve your delicious Avocado and Black Bean Salad as a satisfying dish or as a light meal on its own. It's packed with healthy fats, fibre, and a variety of nutrients to keep your blood sugar stable and your taste buds delighted. 


8. Sweet Potato and Chickpea Buddha Bowl

sweet potato buddah bowl

Ingredients:

For the Sweet Potato and Chickpea Mix:

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 400g)

1 can of chickpeas (400g), drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt and pepper to taste


For the Quinoa:

180g quinoa

480ml water

A pinch of salt


For the Salad:

100g mixed salad greens

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

75g cherry tomatoes, halved

15g fresh coriander leaves


For the Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey or agave

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (392°F).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cubed sweet potatoes, chickpeas, olive oil, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat everything evenly.
  3. Spread the mixture on a baking tray in a single layer and roast in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender and slightly crispy.
  4. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under cold water.
  5. In a saucepan, bring the water and a pinch of salt to a boil.
  6. Add the rinsed quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. Fluff it with a fork and set aside.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey (or agave), minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  8. In serving bowls, start with a base of cooked quinoa.
  9. Top the quinoa with the roasted sweet potato and chickpea mix.
  10. Arrange the mixed salad greens, cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and fresh coriander on top.
  11. Drizzle the dressing over the bowl.

Serve your Sweet Potato and Chickpea Buddha Bowl immediately. Mix everything together to combine the flavours, or keep the ingredients separate and drizzle the dressing when ready to eat. Enjoy your diabetes-friendly and delicious meal! 



9. Greek Yogurt Parfait with Nuts and Berries

greek yoghurt parfait

Ingredients:

200g of low-fat Greek yogurt 

50g of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pecans)

100g of fresh mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)

1 tsp of honey or sugar-free sweetener (optional)

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract


Instructions:

  1. Wash the fresh berries and pat them dry. If using strawberries, remove the stems and slice them into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the low-fat Greek yoghurt with the vanilla extract and, if desired, sweeten with honey or a sugar-free sweetener for added sweetness.
  3. Stir well until fully combined.
  4. Take a handful of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pecans) and chop them into smaller pieces. You can use a knife or a food processor for this, depending on your preference.
  5. Find a glass or a bowl that you'd like to use for your dessert.
  6. Start by spooning a layer of the sweetened Greek yoghurt into the bottom of the glass.
  7. Add a layer of mixed berries on top of the yoghurt.
  8. Sprinkle a portion of the chopped mixed nuts over the berries.
  9. Repeat the layers until your glass is filled, finishing with a generous dollop of yoghurt on top.
  10. Sprinkle ground cinnamon over the final yoghurt layer for an extra burst of flavour.
  11. If you're not serving the parfait immediately, you can cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you're ready to enjoy. It can be a wonderful dessert or a nutritious breakfast option.

Serve with a spoon and enjoy your delightful Greek Yogurt Parfait with Nuts and Berries. This balanced and diabetes-friendly treat offers a perfect blend of creamy, crunchy, and fruity goodness without compromising your blood sugar levels.


10. Baked Apples with Cinnamon

baked apples

Ingredients:

4 large Bramley or Granny Smith apples (about 800g)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (about 28g)

2 tablespoons of granulated sweetener (such as erythritol or stevia)

A handful of chopped nuts (e.g., walnuts or almonds) for topping (optional)

A drizzle of sugar-free maple syrup (optional, for serving)


Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) for a conventional oven or 160°C (320°F) for a fan-assisted oven.
  2. Wash and dry the apples.
  3. Using an apple corer or a sharp knife, carefully remove the cores from each apple, leaving the base intact to form a well for the filling.
  4. Place the apples in a baking dish.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves.
  6. Sprinkle the mixture evenly inside each cored apple, allowing the spices to coat the interior.
  7. Divide the unsalted butter into four equal portions and place one portion on top of each apple. 
  8. Sprinkle a small amount of granulated sweetener over each apple, adjusting the quantity to suit your taste and dietary requirements.
  9. Cover the baking dish with foil and place it in the preheated oven.
  10. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the apples are tender but not mushy. Keep an eye on them to prevent overcooking.
  11. Once the apples are cooked, remove them from the oven.
  12. You can drizzle a little sugar-free maple syrup over each apple if you desire a touch of extra sweetness without the sugar content. For added crunch and flavour, sprinkle some chopped nuts on top as a garnish.
  13. Serve your delicious baked apples warm.

This delightful baked apples recipe is suitable for diabetics, as it's low in added sugars and the natural sugars in apples are balanced by the fibre. Plus, the warm and comforting spices create a delightful treat without causing significant blood sugar spikes. It's a simple and healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping your blood sugar in check.


There you have it! Our top 10 diabetes-friendly recipes prove that healthy eating never has to be bland or boring. From zesty to sweet, we’ve covered a diverse range of dishes guaranteed to please every palate.


The possibilities are endless with food, and yours certainly don’t end here! We implore you to take our recipes and spin them to create your own delicious dishes. 


So, whether you’re managing your own diabetes or you just want to eat healthily, take this as an opportunity to transform your kitchen into a hub of flavour and health.


Bon appétit! 

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