More and more health authorities are warning us about the dangers of eating salt -it’s just not good for us! It has been particularly targeted for its effect on blood pressure and the heart, but it has also been shown to contribute to osteoporosis and stomach cancer. However, for many people, they think nothing of adding salt to season their dishes, and our diets which are high in overly salty ready made foods doesn’t help matters. To ensure your dishes don’t end up completely bland, try out these tips to cut back on salt, while still tickling your taste buds.
1) Experiment with spices
Spices make excellent substitutes for salt, and what’s more, they are easy to use and good for your health. To add a little pep to a dish, regular pepper and chilli pepper are classics. If you want to go a little more oriental, curry works brilliantly with chicken or courgettes, cumin goes very well with carrots, while turmeric and paprika are great alternatives for many dishes.
You have an enormous range of herbs to choose from! We recommend that you go for fresh herbs over dried herbs, as they have a stronger taste. If you are buying fresh herbs, think about the quantities you need, as they do not generally last very long. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to buy frozen herbs, because they are ready to use and you can keep them for a very long time.
3) Aromatic vegetables
These are naturally strong in flavour and are great for seasoning dishes, adding character and depth. We are talking about onions, shallots and garlic, which you can use in your sauces and dishes. You could also include foodstuffs such as tomatoes and red peppers in this group, which add bright colours to your dishes as well as rich flavours.
4) Vegetables in general
Sometimes we think of vegetables as nothing but accompaniments to our dishes, but we shouldn’t forget that they are also full of flavour. This is why adding them can give depth and taste to your dishes.
5) Try playing with acidity, the close cousin of salt
Acidity stimulates the same taste buds as salty foods. This means you can fool the brain into forgetting about salt. You will find such acidity in lemon, of course, but also in vinegar, white wine or Granny Smith apples. In short, go for acidic foods!
6) Go for sweet and sour flavours
The challenge here is to adapt your recipes and dare to discover new flavours. Add fruits to your recipes (plums, pears, etc.) or add honey to your sauces to really stimulate your taste buds.
7) Choose the right cooking methods
You can’t hope to create delicious dishes by simply boiling things in water! There are other great techniques for sealing in taste: steam cooking, baking in parcels or stir frying are all nice options. Vegetables work very well roasted, and meats are tastier once they have been turned in a pan.
8) Boost your cooking water
The idea is to flavour your cooking water, particularly for rice and pasta, which will take on a more intense flavour. In order to do so, add a bouquet garni or chopped vegetables to the water to add taste. Avoid industrial stock cubes which are high in salt, and use home made stock instead.
9) Make your own marinades
You may think that marinading is just for meat, but it also works a treat for fish and vegetables. You can use vegetable juice, vinegar, lemon, herbs and spices of your choice to create the perfect aroma. It’s up to you to play around and try out different combinations to find the best recipes!
10) Nuts and seeds: crunchy and tasty
Seeds have so many advantages, being both healthy and delicious. But it doesn’t stop there, as you can roast a few pine nuts or almonds in a clean pan, and add them to your dishes for crunch and flavour.