Choose carbs carefully: Green Bean, Parsnip and Carrot Gremolata

October 11, 2016

By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian

We missed you at Providence Cooks! on Oct. 4. We talked about controlling blood sugar with small changes to diet. Combined strategies – diet, exercise and meal timing – can have a big impact.

As I’ve said so many times before, you should make sure that half your plate is covered with colorful vegetables, along with some lean protein and whole grains. Choosing foods high in fiber can help lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. This can lower cholesterol levels, too.

Remember not to let your portions get distorted!

Age, gender and activity level can affect how many calories we need. A small amount of weight loss can have a large impact on blood sugar control. This week our very talented Providence Cooks! chefs served a Green Bean, Parsnip and Carrot Gremolata recipe, which I am sharing with you. It was pretty cool to watch them take two recipes and make one great-tasting, low-carbohydrate recipe.

What I have learned from working with our chefs is not to be afraid to step out of the box with our recipes. Use them as a guide – unless you are baking, in which case it is chemistry and you need to follow the recipe.

Choose your carbohydrates carefully! They should come from whole grains, colorful veggies, fruits as close to natural as possible and beans without fat, keeping your carbs between 50-60% of your calories and your fiber at about 20-30 grams daily.

Green Bean, Parsnip and Carrot Gremolata


  • 1/4 pound French green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 pound carrots, cut on bias
  • 1/4 pound parsnips, cut on bias
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Add the green beans, parsnips and carrots and blanch them for 2 to 3 minutes – until tender, but still crisp.
  • Drain the vegetables in a colander and immediately put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color.
  • For the gremolata, toss the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, Parmesan, and pine nuts in a small bowl and set aside.
  • When ready to serve, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  • Drain the beans and pat them dry.
  • Add the beans to the pan and sauté, turning frequently, for 2 minutes, until coated with olive oil and heated through.
  • Off the heat, add the gremolata and toss well.
  • Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and serve hot.

Nutrition information: 83.25 Calories, 6.8 grams fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 10.82 grams carbohydrate, 14.25 grams fiber and 179 mg. sodium


This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, SC.

Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.

"She doesn't just give you the fish, she teaches you how to cook it."

 – a Kay MacInnis fan and Providence Cooks! regular.