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Author Topic: Favorite low sodium recipes?  (Read 3142 times)

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Favorite low sodium recipes?
« on: January 10, 2007, 04:55:24 PM »
My doctor has chided me back into agreeing that I will return to the very-low-sodium diet I grew up with (but I don't have to like it! that's the deal, I *don't* have to like it!). I'm a much better cook than I was when I was 12, and many of my favorite meals I've already adjusted to reduce the sodium (I never use salt in my cooking, or at the table, but some ingredients I've had to switch to low sodium options). This means more home cooking, which wont be bad in the long run, but it means that I need some more recipes :). Especially baked goods, which don't turn out right without salt. Does anyone know how much I can cut the salt in (for example) a bread recipe and have it still turn out OK?

Does anyone else have a favorite low sodium casserole or ragout they're willing to share?


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Re: Favorite low sodium recipes?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2007, 03:59:47 PM »
Bread is not a really good place to cut sodium (unless you're doing something like a salt crust)... because the salt in the dough helps control the rate of fermentation.  Without it, the dough rises too quickly -- sometimes so much that the gluten tears and you get really strange consistencies.  An ounce of my standard white or whole wheat bread is about 165 mg sodium, fwiw.

Do you know NATS?

This is the USDA's nutrient analysis tool, and can help you figure out where and how to best "spend" your sodium allotment.

The best ways I know of to cut your sodium intake are to dump as much processed food and restaurant food from your diet as possible.  I use lemon zest or lemon juice in a lot of the veggies and casseroles and  such that I'd normally have used more salt in. 

As far as a casserole... well, this is an everyday takeoff on the Cuban dish Ropa Vieja:

2-3 lbs tough, stringy, long fibered, beef potroast (flank steak is traditional, but I use what's cheap)
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
2-6 cloves of garlic
1-2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 small can tomato sauce (can substitute 3/4 c wine)
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp celery seed (celery itself is high in sodium, celery seed is not)
1/4 tsp pepper

Brown roast in oil; toss everything else in with enough water to cover
and cook over low heat for several hours, until beef is very well done.
Add water as needed during cooking.  (The tomato sauce or wine adds acid and helps the meat fall apart easily).  Slow cookers are great for this.

Pull out the roast and let it cool -- shred with two forks, or just your fingers -- you're looking for a shredded texture, much like pulled pork bbq.  Discard fat, gristle, etc.

Cool the cooking liquid down and skim any fat from it.  Measure out 2 cups, and run it through the blender, with any chunks of vegetables that may have survived cooking.  At this point, you can continue with the recipe or freeze the meat and pureed liquid for up to 6 months.

Finishing the dish:
3-4 bell peppers, cut in thin strips (nice if you can find red, yellow and green)
1 medium onion, cut in thin strips
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp oil
1 c peas, half-cooked
2 lbs tomatoes, peeled and chopped, with juice (or canned tomatoes)
1/4 tsp oregano
pepper, salt, lemon juice to taste

Braise the peppers, garlic and onion in the oil, cooking till they're soft.   Add peas and tomato and the 2 c of reserved cooking liquid from the roast, and  the shredded meat and heat to serving temperature.  Correct seasonings (I usually wind up with a little lemon juice and maybe some cumin, sometimes more oregano and black pepper).

Serve over cooked rice -- about 1 part ropa vieja to 3 of rice. Makes about 12 servings.

If you want to fake it more, substitute 1 12 ounce can of low sodium V-8 for the carrots and tomato sauce in with the roast.  It's the only use I've ever found for low sodium V8 that produces something good. <G>


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Re: Favorite low sodium recipes?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2007, 05:51:25 PM »
  An ounce of my standard white or whole wheat bread is about 165 mg sodium, fwiw.
which, unfortunately represents >25% of my daily allowance. Have I mentioned I'm pouty about going back to this? :).
Thank you very much for the recipe, I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you!


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Re: Favorite low sodium recipes?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2007, 11:00:17 PM »
One of the things you can try, if you're going to cut sodium in bread, is to raise the dough
in a cool spot -- in a plastic bag in a vegetable drawer of the refrigerator can work well --
but keep a good eye on it so you can work out the total rise time for yourself.... it may be on the order of a couple of days for the first rise.  Might want to toss some cooked, smashed potato in to the dough, too, to help the texture.

You may also want to try different brands of yeast for this experiment, because the flavors developed by yeast doughs when they're risen slowly are pretty definite and complex.  Fast risen yeast breads all pretty much have similar flavors to me, while slow breads can be quite different.