Healthy diabetes recipes

World Diabetes Day is November 14. This day raises awareness of self-care and lifestyle management for people living with diabetes.

A well-balanced diet is an essential part of managing diabetes and reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease and other problems. Healthy eating with diabetes will help you manage blood sugar levels, blood pressure, maintain healthy body weight and promote healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

We’ve rounded up some easy-to-make and delicious recipes for diabetes management. These recipes were originally published on Sun Life Diabetes College. Kathy Cohen, Registered Dietitian, and Certified Diabetes Educator, Banting and Best Diabetes Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital shares some surprising health benefits that can be found in these recipes.

Kathy Cohen
Kathy Cohen, Registered Dietitian, and Certified Diabetes Educator, Banting and Best Diabetes Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital. (Photo: Courtesy of Kathy Cohen)

Roasted beet salad

This flavourful beet salad is simple to make and a great side dish for lunch or dinner. As an added bonus, this salad is low in sodium and reducing sodium in your diet can help reduce high blood pressure.

“This heart-healthy vegetarian, nutrient-dense medley of fruit and vegetables, gets thumbs up. The higher potassium content of the salad ingredients, and the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of betalains, which gives beets its reddish-purple colour, may help with blood pressure control. Mandarins and beets turn to sugar when we eat them, so portions count.”  – Kathy

Yields: 4


  • 2 whole beets
  • 1 can mandarin oranges
  • 3 cups mixed greens (baby kale, arugula or spinach)

Salad dressing

  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp  ground dry mustard
  • To taste thyme and black pepper


  • Set oven to 375°F
  • Place onto a baking tray and drizzle beets with olive oil before roasting
  • Roast ​beets in the oven for 60 to 90 minutes
  • When beets are fork tender, cool beets for a few hours either in the fridge or at room temperature
  • While waiting for the beets to cool, make the salad dressing. In a small mixing bowl, combine 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp ground dry mustard and thyme and black pepper (to taste)
  • Once beets are cooled off, begin peeling off the skin with a paring knife
  • Place mixed greens into a large mixing bowl, add mandarin oranges and beets (add whole if small or chop) and toss salad
  • Add 2 tbsp of the salad dressing to your salad and serve

Mediterranean baked trout

This baked trout uses fresh fish and simple ingredients. This recipe is not only delicious but it follows a Mediterranean style of eating which can help reduce risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

“Including cold water, fatty fish, rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, like trout can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. The fibre content in brown rice or other nutrient–rich whole-grain starches like quinoa helps with blood sugar control. Using olive oil and lemon juice to flavour can decrease the glycemic index, reducing blood sugar spikes. Adding half a plate of non-starchy vegetables that contain very little carbohydrate such as broccoli and cauliflower, fruit on the side and water to hydrate completes a well-balanced meal.” – Kathy

Yields: 4


  • 5 oz portion raw trout (one for each person)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups dry long-grain brown rice
  • 4 cups water


  • Make the ​marinade by combining 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, juice from 1 lemon, 2 tsp dried oregano and 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Pour marinade over trout and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes
  • Make the brown rice by adding 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil into a small pot on medium heat. Add 4 cups of water and 2 cups of brown rice and bring to a boil and​stirring regularly. Cook until done, approximately 30 minutes.
  • Remove trout from refrigerator and place on parchment paper on a baking tray
  • Place trout in pre-heated over set to 375°F and cook for 30 minutes (OPTIONAL: Can add sliced tomatoes and onions inside the cavity of the trout during cooking)
  • Serve cooked trout on a bed of brown rice

Minestrone soup

This comforting minestrone soup is perfect for those long and cold days ahead. Low in sodium, and made with hearty vegetables and navy beans for added protein, this soup will be a go-to all season long! 

“This budget-friendly soup is a great way to eat more vegetables and increase intake of plant-based protein. Having legumes in place of meats more often can decrease saturated fats and improve cholesterol levels. The starches in this soup include pasta, potatoes and navy beans. Choosing whole-grain al dente pasta, and sweet potatoes can decrease the glycemic index and increase the nutrient value. Depending on the amount of starches desired, the contents of the recipe can be modified to help with blood sugar control. Enjoy!” – Kathy

Yields: 4-6


  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups no salt vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 cup potato, diced
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups fresh plum tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf, diced​
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup seashell pasta
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach
  • To garnish sharp cheese


  • Prep your vegetables ahead of time: dice onion, mince garlic, peel and chop potato and carrots, cut plum tomatoes into ½ pieces, chop celery and chop zucchini into half-moons. Drain and rinse navy beans, set aside.
  • In a Dutch oven or stockpot, sauté 1 cup of chopped onions in 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • Once onions are cooked, add 4 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups of water
  • Add all vegetables to the pot: tomatoes, celery, carrots, diced tomatoes, zucchini, navy beans and potatoes. Stir to combine.
  • Add 1-2 tbsps of dried herbs and spices to the pot: 1 bay leaf, basil, oregano and thyme. Mix well.
  • Add 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer for 60-90 minutes
  • While the soup simmers, make seashell pasta ahead of time. Drain pasta and drizzle with olive oil to avoid pasta from sticking.
  • Once soup is finished simmering, remove the pot from the burner, add cooked pasta and fresh spinach to soup. Allow spinach to wilt for a few minutes.
  • Garnish with a sharp cheese and serve!

*Kathy is providing general information, which doesn’t replace individualized recommendations from your doctor or dietitian.

Which diabetes-friendly recipe was your favourite? Upload a picture of your hearty dish to social media and tag us @uhnfoundation.

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