Low glycemic index Potato salad with Pink sauce
Time: cook. 15-20 min
cooling. min. 2 h
prep. 5-10 min
Difficulty: very easy
Yield: for 2 servings
Cost: very low
Potatoes are considered an unhealthy and caloric food for many people. And it is true, if you eat them in the form of French fries. But there are many healthy and light recipes that can be made with potatoes, without sacrificing taste. Like the potato salad with pink sauce and low-glycemic index, that we will talk about today.
As a good navigator I can’t think of my galley without the typical tuber: on the other hand, the ancient sailors knew it perfectly, if preserved well they last a long time; and they offer very versatile solutions for otherwise boring and repetitive menus. But more than anything else they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber; sustainable; very cheap; healthy and definitely very good. What could be better than a plate of baked potatoes with skins?
With peel or without?
Yes, the healthiest way to eat potatoes is to use them with their skin: that’s where most of the nutritional treasures are kept. But nowadays finding potatoes that have not been flooded with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides is an arduous task. Unfortunately, coming from the ground, they absorb large quantities of everything used to make them grow luxuriant before their harvest; but their ordeal does not end there: after the harvest they are treated with an anti-sprouting substance to extend their shelf-life. And who like me does not always have the opportunity to buy organic, finds him/herself having to make a choice: eat potatoes with nutrients but also with pesticides, or without nutrients nor pesticides? Because you have to know that there is no way to eliminate the residues of these substances: because if we take into account that we absorb a minimum amount, even if we peel and wash the potato; it is obvious that it is quite wrong to eat the non-organic ones, without peeling them.
How to cook them?
French fries are bad for you, as they absorb a lot of oil, becoming very caloric but also harmful to health, especially for those with high cholesterol: the oil, reaching high temperatures (about 180°), transforms some of the healthy unsaturated fatty acids into the dreaded “trans” fatty acids (regardless of whether the oil is of vegetable origin or not). Therefore it would be better to prefer baked potatoes cooked in the oven but with little oil; or even better to eat them boiled with a drizzle of raw oil.
The Glycemic Index (GI)
Unfortunately, potatoes cannot be eaten raw, and when cooked they reach a high glycemic index, much higher than that of other foods rich in starch, such as bread and pasta. This can be a problem for diabetics, but also for dieters, since a high glycemic index means less satiety: the latter is the real challenge of a successful diet; in addition, by increasing the insulin in the blood, you tend to store more fat and suffer attacks of sudden hunger.
So not only fried, but even boiled potatoes can lead to problems, even they have a lower glycemic load.
Potatoes are complex carbohydrates like other foods containing starch, but the starch in the tubers is different and can be completely digested; the starch in pasta or bread, on the other hand, is partly made up of resistant starch that slows down the digestive process, thus promoting satiety.
If potatoes are eaten as soon as they are boiled, i.e. hot and without peel, i.e. with few dietary fibers, they behave as if they were a simple carbohydrate: they are digested quickly, mostly already in the mouth upon contact with salivary amylase.
That said, it might seem impossible or inconvenient to eat the beloved tuber; but you should know that they can be rehabilitated thanks to this recipe of low GI potato salad with pink sauce.
I just explained that boiled potatoes are a better choice; but if you cook them one day before and keep them in the fridge for at least 3 hours, you will get an even lower glycemic load! Because the starch of the potatoes will retrograde with low temperatures, thus generating the missing resistant starch; which means that it will be digested in more time, magically transforming the potatoes from a “simple-like” carbohydrate to a “really-complex” one: lower glycemic index, less insulin and more satiety.
Some people, with highly developed taste abilities, do not like the taste of retrograde starch. In this case the delicious pink sauce becomes functional to “cover up” what is not appreciated, but more importantly it enhances the final taste of the salad, skillfully contrasting the sweetness of the potatoes with the acidulousness derived from the mix of ingredients that compose it.
In addition, this type of pink sauce helps also to reduce the glycemic index of foods such as potatoes: it is scientifically proven that lemon or vinegar are good allies against high GI(1,2), since they lower the pH of a meal; this inhibits the salivary α-amylase which slows down the digestion of starch, thus reducing the conversion of starch into sugar(3).
The polyphenols present on the lemon peel(4) also contribute to this reduction in GI, which also gives the dish an exotic touch.
In short, a cocktail of flavors, fragrances and colors to arrive at dinner time without suffering from hunger: guaranteed!
This is the CHE food revolution, in other words Cheap, Healthy and Ethical.
4 medium potatoes, already boiled, cooled and cut into cubes
1 carrot raw, diced
½ bunch of arugula, not quite finely cut
10 green olives, cut into rounds
For pink sauce
2 tablespoons of natural yogurt (if you want to see my perfect homemade yogurt recipe click here)
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
2 tablespoons apple vinegar or lemon juice or balsamic vinegar (or mix as you like)
the peel of half a grated lemon (only if the lemon has not been treated)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
For this salad I boiled the potatoes, left them to cool with the skins at room temperature and then put them in the fridge in an airtight container, so as to reduce oxidation (with consequent formation of violet-greenish stains not harmful but anti-aesthetic). The next day, just 10 minutes before lunch, I peeled and cut the potatoes into cubes in a large salad bowl.
Finally I added carrot, rocket, green olives and finally dress the potato salad with pink sauce.
The pink sauce is very easy and quick to prepare; I will never understand why people keep buying it ready: in our pantries we almost always have all the necessary ingredients; moreover, finding one without added sugar is practically impossible.
So my recipe is not only obviously cheaper, but also healthier and just as tasty.
In order to emulsify your sauce well, first of all beat vigorously with a whisk (or fork) the oil with the lemon in a bowl. Then add all the other ingredients and mix to obtain a homogeneous cream. In about a minute you will have the pink sauce ready to dress this fantastic low glycemic index potato salad, but nothing can stop you from using it to garnish almost everything, especially the salads and vegetable meatballs.
If the amount of vinegar or lemon is too much for your taste receptors, you can take the juice of half a lemon with 1 glass of water just before the meal. In this way you will get the same reductive effect as the GI(2) without “ruining” the taste of your salad. Of course you can use this trick for all foods containing starch.
To complement this fresh and tasty low GI potato salad with proteins, you can combine a small portion of legumes or tofu, served hot or cold as you like. Remember that the lemon juice you have added to lower the glycemic index, will also increase the absorption of iron in legumes(5).
Enjoy your salad and good revolutions to all
(1): American Diabetes Association. (2017). Diabetes superfoods.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/diabetes-superfoods.html
(2): Masayuki, Y.,, Shiori, U., Kaori, I., et al. Effect of the postprandial blood glucose on lemon juice and rice intake. J-Stage 2020 Volume 7 Issue 2 Pages 174-180. https://doi.org/10.24659/gsr.7.2_174
(3): Freitas, D., Boué, F., Benallaoua, M. et al. Lemon juice, but not tea, reduces the glycemic response to bread in healthy volunteers: a randomized crossover trial. Eur J Nutr (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-020-02228-x
(4): LIM, S. M.; LOH, S. P. In vitro antioxidant capacities and antidiabetic properties of phenolic extracts from selected citrus peels. International Food Research Journal, 2016, 23.1.
(5): Teucher B, Olivares M, Cori H. (2004). Enhancers of iron absorption: ascorbic acid and other organic acids. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research 74(6):403-419