Flavourful low-salt cooking

Get tips from Best Health readers on reducing your salt intake without sacrificing flavour

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fresh herb garden

Grow your own herbs

“I keep a herb garden on my windowsill for easy access. When fresh is readily available I tend to use less salt!”
– Cheryl

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Be creative

“I find that if you do a little research and are creative with how you cook, you can use virtually no salt in all of your cooking. Fresh tarragon with fish is amazing and Indonesian sambal (hot sauce) is incredible mixed with anything! My in-laws are staying with us for the month and I have noticed that everything I cook lacks salt to them, so I am being extra creative in the kitchen with tangy flavours. Wish me luck!”
– Alida

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Flavour with citrus

“I use lemon juice on vegetables, fresh chives add onion flavor, parsley’s good and of course Mrs. Dash-y mixes are great”
– Gillian

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A spice for everything

“We save the leaves from celery-dry and grind them to sprinkle on food. Rosemary and summer savoury for beef and venison. Paprika on poultry and eggs. Summer savoury on fish, pork and poultry. Don’t forget garlic-it’s good for everything. Ginger on Asian dishes. Lemongrass (I have a small pot of it on the windowsill) for seafood. Cumin, chilli powder, allspice, parsley, onion powder-even cinnamon and cocoa (I have a chicken recipe that calls for the latter). So many spices, so little time.”
– Dawn

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red pepper flakes

Make it spicy

“I try to avoid salt as much as possible and do not put the salt shaker on the table. I like spicy food, and tend to add crushed red pepper flakes to my food.”
– Heather

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celery seed

Use herbs for variety

“Rather than salt, I have started focusing more on using herbs for enhancing flavours; celery seed is my latest favourite. I really like the spicy Mrs. Dash, it really adds some zing to pasta dishes and that way the kids can still have their blander version.”
– Lorraine

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Fresh summer herbs

“I love using herbs and spices to enhance the flavour of the meals I make. I recently started growing various types of herbs at home, so I often use fresh herbs (such as basil, oregano or chives) when preparing meals. Also, I often use garlic or lemon juice to add an extra zest to different foods.”
– Ally

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Homemade pesto

“I grow lots of basil and parsley in the summer and blend the following: 1 cup fresh basil leaves, 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, 2 gloves garlic, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. I take this mixture and freeze in ice cube trays. For great flavour and less salt to any pasta dish or sauce I’m making, I just throw in one ice cube. Yummy.”
– Chris

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A salt-free home

“I have had high blood pressure for about nine years and was able to stop my medication by adopting a salt-free diet and increasing my water intake. Salt is not allowed in our house and any processed foods have to be low sodium. I use many herbs and spices in my cooking, but I find the two used most often are garlic powder and onion powder, in almost everything. I use oregano, chives, thyme, sage, marjoram, coriander and parsley in my veggie dishes, and turmeric, curry, cumin, cinnamon in many chicken and meat dishes. Lots of basil goes well with my tomato sandwiches and paprika perks up my egg frittatas. I’m always trying to find new ways to use my spice rack contents!”
– Ellen

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market veggies

Choose fresh

“I avoid ALL canned foods, especially veggies, and cook only with fresh foods. You cut your salt intake dramatically if you avoid canned foods! (And they taste much better.)”
– Kim

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more spices

Experiment with classic dishes

“I have found that once you are used to cooking without added salt, you rarely miss it. I keep my spice cupboard well stocked and always experiment in casseroles and stir-frys with a different added spice for new flavour in an old dish each time.”
– Erin

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indian spices

More favourite spices

“I used to have a problem with adding more salt to my food-it was second nature. I weaned myself off by substituting where necessary with black pepper, a herb mix like herbes de provence and/or a Indian garam masala mix. It adds the extra flavour kick I’m looking for with the high sodium content. I also make sure to use unsalted butter when cooking.”
– Naveen

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Spice up your veggies

“I like to use paprika, oregano, thyme and pepper on potatoes, carrots and onions. Pour a little EVOO on veggie mixture, sprinkle with spices. Wrap in tinfoil and BBQ for about 20 min. Mmmm very tasty and no salt.”
– Leah

What are your favourite ways to cook without salt? Share your tips in the comments.

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