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Oct 29, 2012 06:20 AM

Is low-salt soup a reality?

I was discussing the topic of "salt and soup" with someone recently, and I stated that it was just about impossible to make a low-salt soup that had any taste. The other person responded that with sufficient amount of spicing it was possible.

Anyone have any opinions, experience, science, etc that might be enlightening?

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  1. I think it depends on what you mean by "low salt" I think it is totally do-able.

    1. I love salt, but one thing I've found is that if I make a soup without salt at all, but use plenty of herbs and aromatics, people really only need to add a bit of salt to their own portions. This provides far less sodium than actually cooking with salt. Of course, we are not on a low-sodium diet, so for someone who is, even salting one's own portion may too much sodium. Check with your doctor if this is the case for you.

      1. Not sure what you mean by low, but I tend to cook things with about 1/2 as much salt as called for, as that typically is what tastes good to me. When making soups (especially ones that are pureed and/or a bit creamy) I add a 1/4 teaspoon or so of hot sauce. The combination of salt, spice, and acid seems to give it a little punch (this is not enough to make it at all spicy or really add that much salt).

        Also, I find that soups that have been reheated (especially if they have been frozen) need more salt and/or hot sauce.

        1. How low is low? Some salt is always necessary but acid acts as a flavor amplifier, so try using less salt with some lemon juice or rice vinegar stirred in at the end.

          If you're not scared of MSG, a couple pinches also serves as a salty-taste enhancer.

          6 Replies
          1. re: RealMenJulienne

            MSG>>>monoSODIUMglutamate, of course it serves as a SALTY taste enhancer. It's still sodium, just not sodium chloride.

            1. re: bagelman01

              < It's still sodium>

              Yes, MSG has sodium. However, you can reduce sodium by using MSG instead of sodium chloride. What I mean is that you can easily substitute three molecules of NaCl (sodium chloride) for one molecule of MSG -- thus your overall consumption of Na is reduced. In reality, you can use even less.


              1. re: bagelman01

                MSG itself does not taste salty. It just makes the surrounding salt taste stronger.

                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                  It tastes a little salty - just less salty than salt. Taste a tiny bit of Accent just by itself.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    I have not tasted Accent but I have tried straight Aj Ni Moto, and I don't get any saltiness, just a mouth-coating slightly-sour mushroom flavor.

                  2. re: RealMenJulienne

                    :) I agree with cowboyardee. I have tasted MSG straight when I was young. It tastes salty, but also very complex.

              2. I never use salt in my cooking (nor do I add any to my own food at the table). The flavourings for my soups come from the stock, the primary ingredients and appropriate herbs and spices. I want my soups to taste of them and not salt.