Food must taste good to be enjoyed. There are many interesting flavors to enjoy besides “salty,” including savory, sweet, spicy, peppery, and tangy.
This sheet offer tips for flavoring foods without salt and for cooking with low-sodium ingredients.
What to Use Instead of Salt
Here are some suggestions of herbs, spices, and flavorings to use in place of salt. Add them during cooking for a fuller flavor.
Beef: Bay leaf, garlic, marjoram, nutmeg, onion, pepper, sage, thyme
Lamb: Curry powder, garlic, mint, rosemary
Pork: Garlic, onion, oregano, pepper, sage
Veal: Bay leaf, curry powder, ginger, marjoram
Chicken: Ginger, lemon or lime juice, marjoram, oregano, paprika, poultry seasoning, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme
Fish: Basil, curry powder, dill, dry mustard, lemon or lime juice, marjoram, parsley, pepper
Carrots: Cinnamon, cloves, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage
Corn: Cumin, curry powder, onion, paprika, parsley
Green beans: Curry powder, dill, lemon juice, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme
Greens: Onion, pepper, vinegar
Peas: Ginger, marjoram, onion, parsley, sage
Potatoes: Dill, garlic, onion, paprika, parsley, pepper, sage
Squash: Summer—Cloves, curry powder, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sageWinter—Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, onion
Tomatoes: Basil, bay leaf, dill, garlic, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, pepper
More Seasoning Tips
- Try new seasonings one or two at a time so you can learn which ones you like best. If you aren’t sure where to start, we suggest all-purpose favorites like salt-free garlic and onion powders, oregano, parsley, and red or black pepper.
- In general, herbs have a more subtle flavor than salt does, so you can use more.
- If you don’t want to fuss with a lot of different seasonings, try the different herb blends such as Mrs. Dash and Parsley Patch. Choose brands that have no sodium in them.
- A splash of wine or flavored vinegar, added near the end of cooking, perks up the flavor of soups, stews, and sauces.
- If you still like a salty taste once in a while, try using a salt substitute. “Light” salt has half the sodium of regular salt and is okay to use if you have high blood pressure. If you have heart failure, you should not use salt substitutes.
How to Make Recipes Lower in Sodium
There’s no need to give up your favorite recipes just because you need to eat less sodium. Instead, try trading in the high-sodium ingredients for lower-sodium ones and of course, skip the salt.
|Canned soups/broth||Homemade or “Low-Sodium” soups and broth|
|Bouillon||Unsalted bouillon cubes|
|Canned vegetables||Fresh or frozen vegetables|
|Onion salt, garlic salt||Onion powder, garlic powder|
|Tomato juice||Tomato paste* mixed with 2–3 parts water|
*Canned tomato paste usually has little or no sodium.Check labels to be sure.
Developed by SDMS in conjunction with Nancy Houston Miller, RN, Mia Clark, RD, MPH, and C. Barr Taylor, MD of Stanford University, and Marvin Moser, MD of Yale University.