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The Prediabetes Nutritionist

Spicy Tahini Chicken with Basmati Rice, Spinach and Mushrooms

Containing healthy fats, high-quality proteins, moderate carbs and lots of veggies, this flavourful tahini chicken with basmati rice, spinach, and mushrooms, will nourish and satisfy you without spiking your blood sugars.

If you’ve never tried tahini, you’re missing out!

Tahini or sesame butter is made by grinding whole roasted or non-roasted sesame seeds. It has a strong earthy and nutter flavour than is somewhat bitter. You may dislike it the first time you try it, but after multiple tries and you may become a big fan.  

Tahini has multiple nutritional benefits. It is a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. It also contains compounds called lignans, which have antioxidant, anticancer, antihypertensive and lipid-lowering effects (Haidari et al., 2016). It has been shown to improve blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes (Aslam et al., 2019).

You may already use tahini in dips like baba ghanoush and hummus, but you can use it just like you would peanut butter in sauces and curries just like I’ve done in this recipe and here.

Before we get into this recipe, let’s explore its

Nutritional Highlights  

With an estimated glycaemic index (GI) of 42, this meal is considered a low-GI meal. This means it will release carbohydrates slowly into your bloodstream without causing blood sugar spikes. This meal is a rich source of many essential minerals and vitamins, including:

Magnesium – acts as a co-helper for many chemical reactions in the body. It maintains the electrical charge of cells, particularly in muscles and nerves, and plays a role in energy production, blood glucose control and blood pressure regulation (Alawi et al., 2018). Recent studies associate higher magnesium intakes with lower risks of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes (Kieboom et al., 2017; Zhao et al., 2020).

This meal is an excellent source of magnesium. It provides 244mg or 65% of the daily recommended nutrient intake (RNI) per serving.

Chromium – is a critical enzyme involved in blood sugar regulation and carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism (Havel, 2004; Vincent and Lukaski, 2018). Chromium enhances insulin activity, with past studies showing lower blood levels of chromium in people with pre and type 2 diabetes compared to those without them (Rafiei et al., 2014; Rajendran et al., 2015).

However, a randomised controlled trial showed that chromium supplementation does not improve glucose tolerance or insulin sensitivity in people with impaired glucose tolerance (Gunton et al., 2005). A recent meta-analysis of 10 randomised controlled trials showed that while chromium supplements improve glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), it does not effectively improve fasting blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes (Zhao et al., 2022). Chromium supplements are not currently recommended for people with pre- or type 2 diabetes, and it is best to get chromium from your diet.

Chicken, rice and spinach are sources of chromium.

Folic acid – besides its role in DNA production and proper nervous system development in babies, it may improve blood glucose control in type 2 diabetes (Asbaghi et al., 2021).

This meal is an excellent source of folic acid. It provides 395mcg or 98% of the daily RNI for women per serving.

How to Cook

Ingredients

40g basmati rice

For the chicken

130g chicken breast, diced

1 teaspoon tahini paste

1 teaspoon chipotle chilli paste

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1 chicken bouillon cube

1 tablespoon chopped coriander

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

For the vegetables

200g spinach

100g mushrooms sliced

1 garlic clove, finely minced

Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Cook basmati rice according to instructions on the package and keep warm

Combine tahini, chipotle paste and cumin with a small splash of water and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, then add chicken. Fry for around 4 minutes until it starts to brown, then add garlic. Fry for one minute without burning, then add the tahini mixture. Toss evenly to coat, then add bouillon and around 150ml of water. Season with pepper if needed, then cook on a simmer for three minutes. Take the pan off the heat, add coriander, and stir.

Heat a non-stick pan over high heat. Fry mushrooms without turning until all the moisture evaporates and it browns. Set aside. Wipe the pan, then add around ¼ teaspoon of olive oil to the same pan. Fry garlic for 30 seconds, add spinach and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Take the pan off the heat once the spinach wilts.

Serve tahini chicken over basmati rice with spinach and mushrooms. Garnish with extra chopped coriander and chilli flakes if you desire.

Enjoy!

Print
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Spicy Tahini Chicken with Basmati Rice, Spinach and Mushrooms

  • Author: Somi Igbene PhD ANutr
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 1

Description

This flavourful low glycaemic and blood-sugar friendly meal will nourish and keep you satisfied.


Ingredients

Scale

40g basmati rice

For the chicken

130g chicken, diced

1 teaspoon tahini paste

1 teaspoon chipotle paste

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1 chicken bouillon cube

1 tablespoon chopped coriander

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

For the vegetables

200g spinach

100g mushrooms sliced

1 garlic clove

Pinch of salt and pepper to taste


Instructions

Cook basmati rice according to instructions on the package and keep warm

Combine tahini, chipotle paste and cumin with a small splash of water and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, then add chicken. Fry for around 4 minutes until it starts to brown, then add garlic. Fry for one minute without burning, then add the tahini mixture. Toss evenly to coat, then add bouillon and around 150ml of water. Season with pepper if needed, then cook on a simmer for three minutes. Take the pan off the heat, add coriander, and stir.

Heat a non-stick pan over high heat. Fry mushrooms without turning until all the moisture evaporates and it browns. Set aside. Wipe the pan, then add around ¼ teaspoon of olive oil to the same pan. Fry garlic for 30 seconds, add spinach and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Take the pan off the heat once the spinach wilts.

Serve tahini chicken over basmati rice with spinach and mushrooms. Garnish with extra chopped coriander and chilli flakes if you desire.



Nutrition

  • Serving Size: Per Serving
  • Calories: 449
  • Sugar: 4.3g
  • Sodium: 239mg
  • Fat: 11.6g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8.4g
  • Trans Fat: 0.01
  • Carbohydrates: 37.7g
  • Fiber: 4.4g
  • Protein: 43g
  • Cholesterol: 91mg

Keywords: tahini, chicken, low glycaemic, blood sugar-friendly

REFERENCES

  1. Haidari, F., Mohammadshahi, M, & Gorji, Z. (2016) Effects of sesame butter (ardeh) versus sesame oil on metabolic and oxidative stress markers in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences, 41(12): 102-109.
  2. Aslam, F., Iqbal, S., Nasir, M., & Anjum, A.A. (2019) White sesame seed oil mitigates blood glucose level, reduces oxidative stress, and improves biomarkers of hepatic and renal function in participants with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 38(3): 235-246
  3. Alawi, A.M., Majoni, S.W., & Falhammar, H. (2018) Magnesium and human health: perspectives and research directions. International Journal of Endocrinology, doi: 10.1155/2018/9041694.
  4. Zhao, B., Zeng, L., Zhao, J., Wu, Q., Dong, Y., Zou, F., Gan, Li., Wei, Y., Zhang, W. (2020) Association of magnesium intake with type 2 diabetes and total stroke: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition and Metabolism, 10(3):e032240.
  5. Kieboom, B.C.T., Ligthart, S., Dehghan, A., Kurstjens, S., de Baaij, J.H.F., Franco, O.H., Hofman, A., Zietse, R., Stricker, B.H., & Hoorn, E.J. (2017) Serum magnesium and the risk of prediabetes: a population-based cohort study. Diabetologia, 60(5): 843-853.
  6. Havel, P.J. (2004) A scientific review: the role of chromium in insulin resistance. Diabetes Education, Suppl: 2-14
  7. Vincent, J.B. & Lukaski, H.C. (2018) Chromium. Advances in Nutrition, 9(4): 505-506.
  8. Rafiei, R., Habyby, Z., Fouladi, L., Najafi, S., Asgary, S., & Torabi, Z. (2014) Chromium level in prediction of diabetes in pre-diabetic patients. Advanced Biomedical Research, 3: 235.
  9. Rajendran, K., Manikandan, S., Nair, L.D., Karuthodiyil, R., Vijayarajan, N., Gnanasekar, R., Kapil, V.V., & Mohamed, A.S. (2015) Serum chromium levels in type 2 diabetic patients and its association with glycaemic control. Journal of Clinical Diagnostic Research, 9(11): OC05-OC08.
  10. Gunton, J.E., Cheung, W., Hitchman, R., Hams, G., O’Sullivan, C., Foster-Powell, K.F., & McElduff, A. (2005) Chromium supplementation does not improve glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity or lipid profile: a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of supplementation in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance. Diabetes Care, 28(3): 712-713.
  11. Zhao, F., Pan, D., Wang, N., Xia, H., Zhang, H., Wang, S., & Sun, G. (2022) Effect of chromium supplementation on blood glucose and lipid levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Biological Trace Element Research, 200: 516-522.
  12. Asbaghi, O., Ashtary-Larky, D., Bagheri, R., Moosavian, S.P., Olyaei, H.P., Nazarian, B., Kelishadi, M.R., Wong, A., Candow, D.G., Dutheil, F., Suzuki, K., & Naeini, A.A. (2021) Folic acid supplementation improves glycaemic control for diabetes prevention and management: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Nutrients, 13: 2355.

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