Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Mar 16, 2009 09:24 PM

tasty low salt and EASY, please-y

hubs' new med regime requires very low sodium to prevent excess fluid retention.

Can you hounds rattle off some easy, tasty, but low salt dishes? I'm running out of ideas. Trying for simple dishes with protein, and vitamins & mineral.

I'm steering clear of most canned foods unless low or no sodium. He can't eat any raw foods at this time either, so no salads, etc. He prefers not too spicy, but herbs are ok if they get cooked.

thanks much!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. you could marinate some chicken in olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, and the herb of your choice and grill or roast it. The acid will offset the need tor salt.

    1. I'm a long time low ("lower" is probably more accurate) cook. As my dad was on a sodium-restricted diet when I learned to cook, it's a habit I picked up and it stuck. I tell first-time guests they may want more salt, but few reach for the shaker. Not sure why, unless it's that I try to serve dishes that have some flavor layers happening. Maybe people hit something they didn't expect and don't notice that the whole dish is not as salty
      as what they might be used to.

      Grated lemon zest brightens the flavor of many vegetables. Toss string beans with zest, olive oil, pepper, and toasted walnuts. Or broccoli with zest, olive oil, pepper, and roasted garlic.

      Finish off meat braises or even a pan sauce with a gremolata of lemon zest, parsley, and minced garlic.

      Citrus juice, as bw2082 suggests, can wake up a dish. Use as a marinade. Squeeze a lime wedge over corn-on-the-cob, with some unsalted butter (and sneak just a little bit of ground chiles in).

      Vinegar is another "secret" ingredient. There are a number of variations on what I call French "vinegar chicken," chicken pieces braised in different sauces, but all of which included vinegar. Google around for some. Several are in "Bistro Cooking," by Patricia Wells, and my favorite appears in "Saveur Cooks Authentic French."

      Make pan sauces using wine, or "topped" with a hit of vinegar, whenever you saute meat, deglazing the pan to get the brown bits into the sauce, and get another flavor layer.

      I know you said herbs are okay if cooked, but with summer approaching I just have to mention pesto. Good on pasta, tossed with fresh local tomatoes, or even with steamed potatoes for a different twist on potato salad.

      If you have a charcoal grill, see if your husband misses the salt as much on steaks or chops that have been infused with that grilled charcoal flavor. Top grilled steak with a pat of herb butter. (Without salt, he may find a new appreciation for herbs.)

      Think about ways you can incorporate strongly flavored ingredients into your recipes in a way that your husband would like. Fresh ginger root, for example.

      Personal weirdness, but I never salt avocados. When I'm eating guacamole, seems like there's always enough salt in the chips, so I don't add any. And lime juice and pepper is how I like to dress a sliced avocado.

      Parmalot and Muir Glen both market tomatoes with no added salt, FYI.

      Hope some of this helps.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Old Spice

        thanks for the reminder about gremolata. Meyer lemon is cranking right now.

        1. re: Old Spice

          Great ideas- my hsuband's grandparents are on a salt restricted diet and over the years they've found a lot of enjoyable meals.

          Grilled chicken marinated in lemon juice and herbs- sometimes I use Mrs Dash. They also like roasted potaoes and onions with the Mrs Dash chipotle blend.

          Homemade roasted peppers- adds flavor to so many things and they stay well in the fridge. I've chopped them up with fresh parsley and a little balsamic. The mixture is good on top of whole wheat spaghetti.

          No salt added tomatoes- Stop and Shop makes tomato sauce, paste, crushed and diced tomatoes with no added salt. I liked the no salt added so much, it's what I use in my own kitchen. I make a large batch of sauce and use it for baked pasta and meat. My husband actually likes it better than his mother's recipe with marinara sauce.

          If your husband likes stir fries, try making it without soy sauce. I like stir fried zucchini slices with mint and lemon juice.

          Also- swiss cheese is very low in sodium.

          1. re: cheesecake17

            I was going to say I make a roasted red pepper, garlic, whole wheat pasta, grilled chicken lots of herbs, and just a touch of cream to thicken, a little fresh home made stock which I know has no salt. I also like to add some fresh sauteed mushroom and onions. All low fat and healthy.

            I love polenta, I grill some chicken and put in a simple pesto sauce, add a little liquid, broth but no salt and then top over polenta with some sauteed mushrooms and some grated cheese.

            Marinades are key for pork and chicken and beef.

            Turkey meatballs are great, low in sodium, healthy, lots of herbs and served over asian noddles with an asian sauce vs. marinara. Too many sauces to name.

            A simple pork roast with a pesto marinade ... lots of cooked vegetables., simple and no salt, very healthy and substantial. A roasted sweet potatoes.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              They love turkey meatballs with Trader Joe's low-sodium marinara. Mushrooms don't go over so well with them b/c they feel the dish needs salt.. but it doesn't bother me.

        2. i love garlic and onions - using these as a base for a dish enables a decreased use of salt. i'd use a pressure cooker to caramelize some onions and add in garlic at some point. then broil some fish, but coat it first with some low-sodium crumbs mixed with nutritional yeast for (reduced sodium) flavor.

          1. Old Spice is right...vinegar is your friend when on a low-sodium offers so much flavor and no sodium...balsamic vinegar, too...awesome taste! Fresh lemon too is excellent. Have you tried any of the Mrs. Dash seasonings? They are wonderful...we love the Garlic & herb. They also have a website with rated recipes, very helpful!

            Can you grill where you live? Here's our favorite chicken marinade for the grill--

            1/4 cup cider vinegar
            1 1/2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard ( CAN find no-sodium mustard...I think it's Westbrae--Boar's Head is only 40 mgs per serving, pretty good)
            1 1/2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
            3 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
            Juice of 1 lime (sometimes I use more of this if the lime is a little dry)
            1/3 cup brown sugar
            6 Tablespoons olive oil
            2 or 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

            I've successfully used just 3 Tablespoons of no-sodium mustard for this...mix everything and pour over 4 or 5 chicken pieces (we always remove the skin and fat), whatever you like. Marinate for at least 4-6 hours...then grill, basting with marinade.

            1. You simply do not need to cook with salt. There are thousands of herbs and spices that will flavor foods without any salt. Start with white and black pepper. Everywhere a recipe calls for salt substitute white or black pepper. Or just leave out the salt.

              *Cooking* without salt is a no-brainer, IMHO. Buying products that are low/no-salt takes a bit of reading. Avoid virtually all canned goods; most processed foods.

              1 Reply
              1. re: KiltedCook

                I already cook very low salt; what I'm looking for are some ideas for days we are both tired/stressed and still need to eat a satisfying meal; unusual or unconventional simple low-salt meals.