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As part of the new nationwide push to reduce salt, some food companies have pledged to lower the sodium in their products. But we can also do a few things on our own to cut back. Check out these 7 creative ways to ditch the salt in our meals without losing the flavor.
I got these 7 tasty tips from Robin Miller, author of Robin Rescues Dinner: 52 Weeks of Quick-Fix Meals
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.
Go Nuts: Before roasting, create “crusts” for chicken, fish and pork by coating them with finely chopped, unsalted nuts, like almonds, walnuts and peanuts. As the food cooks, the nuts become golden brown and add 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. When simmered over medium heat, you can reduce it down to a syrupy consistency – the perfect topping for chicken, fish, pork, steak, and vegetables.
Spice it up: Grab these seasonings 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.
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.
I love these tips – some of them I had never heard before and can’t wait to try! Remember, having too much sodium is strongly linked to developing high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends we have less than 1500 mg of sodium a day.
Find out more about reducing sodium and living healthier through the AHA’s BetterU program – it’s a fabulous and free 12-week online nutrition and fitness makeover, so check it out!
Got any other sodium swaps you want to share?