Throughout many parts of the world we have an aging demographic bubble, thus we have a keen awareness and interest in a better and healthier lifestyle. One of the healthiest things we can do is cut down on the amount of salt in our diet. But for many of us raised on salt laden products, especially prepackaged foods, switching to a diet containing less salt can be a major change. But it doesn’t have to be.
There are a number of great tasting menu items that can be conjured up by using natural, organic grown herbs and spices combined to make some great seasonings that can be used in a variety of dishes. Below are some of my favorites:
You can warm a very good extra virgin olive oil (in a microwave about 30-45 seconds) in a dish with a good garlic and herb pepper seasoning. You will get a great dipping oil, like they give you in many of the Italian restaurants for your bread. Personally I like to add a little balsamic vinegar on the edge of the oil or some fresh squeezed lemon juice to it.
You can make a great tasting tuna salad using a zesty lemon and herb seasoning. It’s got lemon and dill in it to help give it a little of that dill pickle tang. Trader Joe’s has a very good no salt added canned white albacore tuna. There is nothing better than using fresh tuna to make your tuna salad. If you decide to go the route of fresh tuna, don’t panic. It is very dark in color, almost like beef, but it turns light in color when you cook it. The color you’re used to seeing in the can.
Flavored vinegars are a great way to add flavor to your food without salt. Tarragon is one of the saltiest tasting herbs, also one of the most expensive. Rice wine vinegar is very popular, as it doesn’t have a strong vinegar taste like most vinegar. Make sure you use the unseasoned rice vinegar as the seasoned rice vinegar has salt and sugar. Apple cider vinegar has always been touted as the one vinegar with the most health benefits and can be used in many recipes.
Adding a little vinegar to freshly boiled or steamed spinach or any greens, perks them up and gives a nice taste, usually added at the end of cooking. Greens can sometimes have a bite and oddly enough the vinegar cuts through that and mellows it out. Since you’re not cooking your greens in bacon fat anymore, you’ll need other flavorings. Fresh lemon juice will also work but sometimes the lemon juice will make the greens change color to a sort of khaki color instead of a deep green. Not as appealing to the eye. A zesty lemon herb seasoning works especially well with greens or green vegetables and keeps the colors bright. This also works great on green beans, asparagus, broccoli, artichokes, or anything green.
Another tip is to always keep fresh lemons and/or limes around. You won’t believe the difference they can make. Your tongue has trouble distinguishing between salt and sour as you pucker up with either. By adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end of your cooking or even at the table, you’ll find many dishes brighten up with a hint of saltiness. You may have noticed that many Mexican dishes, especially soups have a squeeze of lime at the table. Just take a little of your food to the side and try a little squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and test and see what the taste difference would be, before you add it to your whole plate or pot.
These are just a few of the ways that you can use seasonings to help you replace a salt laden diet with a salt free diet.