In the Kitchen: Healthy Italian Eats

Ciao a tutti! I am back in the kitchen today with renowned chef Amy Riolo's cookbook, The Italian Diabetes Cookbook, which is inclusive of authentic, delicious and healthy recipes from Venice, to Abruzzo, to Sicily and beyond. While the book may be geared towards healthy recipes for those with diabetes, these dishes are tasty for everyone. Growing up, Amy's mother had diabetes, and she was the family cook. In turn, she learned how to make family meals to meet her mother's nutritional requirements while making them tasty for everyone in the family to enjoy, and she would only have to make one meal. While many people stereotype Italian cuisine as being fattening and unhealthy, is it just that: a stereotype. Amy's cookbook is full of healthful and satisfying traditional Italian recipes that you can enjoy year round, and most recipes also include a wine pairing. Here, I am going to share with you a few recipes from the book that are simple yet full of flavor, and are perfect for any night of the week. And, don't forget to keep reading to learn how to enter my GIVEAWAY!

Marinated Chicken with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar

Pollo Marinato Con Rosmarino Ed Aceto Balsamico

This recipe for marinated chicken is simple and classic, yet is delicious for everyone in the family to enjoy. In Amy's family, they refer to this dish as "Nonna Foti's Chicken", as this was how Calabria-born grandmother prepared it. This dish is low in calories and is inexpensive to make, and is perfect for any night of the week. Check out the recipe below.


  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary or Oregano
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Unrefined Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Pinch Crushed Red Chile Flakes
  • 12 Ounces Boneless, Skinless Chick Breasts, cut into 4 (3-ounce) pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Freshly Chopped Flat-leaf Parsley


  • In a bowl, combine the vinegar, rosemary (or oregano), salt, pepper, and crushed red chile flakes.
  • Place chicken in a baking dish greased with the olive oil and pour the marinade over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for 1 hour. Discard plastic wrap.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and roast until chicken is cooked through, approximately 45 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
 Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Marinated Eggplant Salad

Melanzane In Insalata Alla Calabrese

This salad is healthy and delicious and contains one of my favorite ingredients: eggplant! As Amy tells us, eggplant is low in carbohydrates, and is full of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and thiamine, which also makes it an ideal ingredient for those with diabetes. Favored by southern Italians, eggplant is a versatile ingredient and Amy uses it in several recipes in this book. Check out the recipe for this Marinated Eggplant Salad below.


  • 3 Small (5 or 6 inch-long) Eggplants
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Oregano
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce, Washed and Trimmed, and Chopped into Bite-Size pieces


  • Preheat broiler to high.
  • Prick eggplants all over with a fork. Place eggplants on a baking sheet and broil for 5-10 minutes, or until soft. Cool eggplants until cool enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, parsley, oregano, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a salad bowl.
  • Peel eggplants, cut off tops, and chop into bite size pieces. Add eggplant to salad bowl with the dressing. Mix well to coat, cover, and refrigerate overnight, if desired.
  • To serve, place romaine lettuce on the bottom of a serving platter (or on individual plates). Spoon eggplant mixture on top of the lettuce.

While I am a pasta and pizza lover, these healthful recipes are just as delicious and full of flavor, and are especially perfect for the summer months when everyone wants to eat and feel a little bit lighter. I know that I will be cooking up recipes from this book all summer long, and I want you to do the same, which is why I am doing a GIVEAWAY!

 Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of


  1. LIKE The Sweet Paisana on Facebook, and FOLLOW Amy Riolo.
  2. Share the post with your friends.
  3. Comment and tell Amy and I what your favorite Italian recipe is and why!

Go to my Facebook Page, The Sweet Paisana, for full entry details. 

About Amy Riolo


Amy Riolo is an award-winning chef, best-selling author, television personality, culinary diplomacy specialist and mediterranean diet advocate. She regularly contributes to Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine in her Cookbook Corner column. You can read more about her, her recipes and travels at

Tanti baci,

The Sweet Paisana

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