Sauce Swap: Instead of prepared sauces, make your own. In a blender, combine roasted red peppers (home-made!), balsamic vinegar, fresh garlic, fresh parsley or basil, olive oil, and ground black pepper. Puree until smooth. Add water until you reach the desired consistency. The same sauce can be made with rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes. Thick sauces can be used over chicken, fish, pork, steak, and vegetables. Thinner sauces can be used in pasta and rice dishes.
Better Broth: Make home-made broths with the liquid from rehydrated wild mushrooms such as porcini and shiitake. Soak 1 ounce of dried mushrooms in 1 cup of very hot water for at least 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve to remove any debris and use the broth and mushrooms in your favorite dishes that call for chicken or beef stock (soups, stews, sauces).
Go Nuts: Before roasting, create “crusts” for chicken, fish and pork by coating them with finely chopped, unsalted nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and peanuts. As the food cooks, the nuts become golden brown, while adding incredible texture and flavor to the dish.
Vinegar In, Salt Out: Use intensely-flavored, aged vinegars in place of salt in sauces, dressings, marinades, and “drizzles” for steamed and roasted meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables. Aged balsamic vinegar is an excellent choice and when simmered over medium heat, you can reduce it down to a syrupy consistency (the perfect topping for chicken, fish, pork, steak, and vegetables). Watch out for “seasoned” vinegars, they often have tons of sodium.
Pantry Raid: Keep of hearty stash of salt-free seasoning blends such as Mrs. Dash. Grab these instead of salt to truly enhance the flavor of sweet and savory dishes. For example, nutmeg brings out the cheese flavor in dishes made with cheese (casseroles, egg dishes, etc.). Cardamom, cumin, curry, and cinnamon add warmth and depth. Oregano, marjoram, bay leaves, and garlic add robust flavor to Italian, Spanish and Greek dishes. Sage and tarragon add a wonderful floral quality to meat, fish and vegetable recipes. Start experimenting (when first starting, read the labels – they often highlight the ideal food “partners” for the particular herb or spice!).
Secure Some Cedar: Roast chicken, beef, pork, fish, and vegetables on a cedar plank – the plank adds a delicious and delicate smoky-sweetness to the food.
Peel Out: Just before serving, add the grated peel of lemons and/or limes to pasta, rice, fish, and vegetable dishes. The subtle tartness eliminates the need for salt!
Be Wary of Dairy!: Check out the dairy products in your fridge right now. Shocking how much sodium is in one slice of processed cheese, huh? Check all your dairy and cheese products (1/2 cup of cottage cheese has almost 500 mg of sodium!!), and opt for reduced-sodium versions when available.
10 Additional Quick Tips to Lower Sodium Intake
1. Choose fresh, unprocessed or fresh, frozen foods
2. Read food labels for sodium content
3. Choose foods with less than 200mg of sodium per serving
4. Consume pre-prepared foods that are “low in sodium” or “no added sodium”
5. Limit processed foods such as canned or dried soups, canned vegetables, frozen dinners, “instant” foods and flavored rice/pasta packages
6. Use less sodium at the table and in cooking
7. Use no-sodium or low-sodium seasonings
8. Flavor food with lemon juice, fresh garlic, spices, herbs and flavored vinegar
9. Use only small amounts of condiments, like pickles, sauces, olives, etc.
10. Ask for less salt or sodium to be added to your food when eating in restaurants
Helpful Tips from author Robin Miller (Robin to the Rescue) and Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blend
Robin to the Rescue: Quick & Simple Recipes for Delicious Home Cooking by Robin Miller
Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blend is an all-natural blend of 14 natural herbs and spices that add a unique flavor to every dish, so you won’t ever miss the salt. In addition to their line of Seasoning Blends which are both salt- and MSG- free they also have 6 salt-free marinades including Spicy Teriyaki and Southwestern Chipotle.
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