Healthy Seasoning Ideas To Consume Less Salt
In honor of More Herbs, Less Salt Day, we thought it would be a good time to talk about the many ways you can add flavor to your food without reaching for those sodium-filled crystals. You may have noticed that some of the tastiest food in the world doesn’t even use much salt. Many cuisines, like Thai, Himalayan, and Mediterranean, barely rely on salt to get the umami they’re able to achieve. And, the truth is that, salt doesn’t really offer much beyond taste. We do need some sodium in our diet but, most of us are nowhere near risking a sodium deficiency. Most of us suffer from consuming too much salt. Which is a shame because, the hundreds of herbs we could be using instead not only taste better, but offer health benefits ranging from immunity boosting to calorie burning. So here are herbs and spices you should be using instead of salt.
Oregano is just as good fresh or dried and makes a wonderful addition to Mediteranean and Greek food. Add it to your vegetable salad with olive oil and a little vinegar, or pump up the flavor in your bruschetta with it.
Coriander is very unique and is both earthy and zesty at the same time, making it wonderful in chicken meatball and vegetable soups, white fish recipes, and salsa. When the seeds are crushed, they’re often used in curry.
If you want something like an onion that’s slightly less potent, try chives. Use them to make a sour cream and onion dip, and cut out that manufactured powdered flavoring packet. Only add them to a dish once it’s done—don’t cook them, since heat removes chives’ flavor. They’re great on all potato dishes.
Sage is similar to rosemary with a bit more zest. It’s potent stuff so a little goes a long way. It stays tasty after long cooking periods, making it a nice addition to slow cooking stews and roasted meats.
Black pepper can almost replace salt in most circumstances, and it can at least help you cut back. But it also packs a nice little punch that makes it great over milder food like cauliflower or chicken breasts. You can also put the full, uncrushed peppercorns over chicken or fish before putting it in the oven. Combine with lemon juice for a perfect flavor.
Some compare rosemary to pine in both flavor and aroma. This is another herb that packs a punch so use it sparingly. It’s a nice addition to roasted vegetable trays (like with carrots, parsnips, beets, and potatoes) and should be in your pantry during the winter months as it’s great over sweet potatoes.
If you love Asian fusion then you’ll love cardamom. This warmer spice can go in sweet or savory dishes, and you can either use the whole pod or the seeds inside of it. It’s good in orange chicken dishes, sweet and spicy shrimp dishes, and baked goods.
Make sure to buy fresh mint in the summer because it will brighten up all of your dishes. If you’ve heard about the benefits of keeping indoor plants, then this is one that’s easy to grow on a windowsill. It’s great in couscous and pasta salad.
Tarragon tastes a bit like black licorice and star anise. Slightly bittersweet, it’s tasty in egg dishes and can take an omelet from boring to crave-worthy. It’s also good on beef dishes.
Thyme is an herb that you’ll need to let cook for a while in order to draw out all its flavors. This versatile herb goes well with a lot of others, like rosemary, oregano, and sage, making it good on roasted vegetables and roasted meats.
Basil is, naturally, wonderful in a caprese salad. But you can also blend it up to make a delicious pesto sauce, or add it to sandwiches for a little burst of flavor.
Cayenne pepper is quite spicy so use with caution. Use either whole chillies, flakes, or the powder, but don’t get chili sauce because that will contain added salt. It’s a nice way to make soups bolder, or spice up cheese sauces.
Ginger is another very versatile spice. Just a tablespoon of the stuff will brighten up curries. You can also mince some for a unique salad dressing. Or, try rubbing meat with it before cooking for an Asian fusion flavor.
Dill is another summer go-to as it’s really tasty in cucumber salads with just a little vinegar, as well as potato salads (or hot potatoes, for that matter). You’ll get the most out of this one when you go with fresh rather than dried.
Parsley is a bit grassy in flavor, and works well with a lot of recipes. It remains potent even after prolonged cooking times, which makes it good in marinades, soups, sauces, and roasted meat dishes.