This week I am writing an article by request on tips and recipes for low sodium diets, so this one’s for you, Betty. First of all, the best way to control salt in a diet is to cook it yourself; that way you can control the amount of salt in your dishes.

Choose fresh poultry, fish, and meats instead of processed or smoked varieties. Choose fresh vegetables and fruits instead of canned. If you do use canned foods, rinse the contents first to wash away part of the salt. For side dishes, make brown rice and or whole baked sweet or white potatoes instead of instant mashed potatoes or flavored rice.

Read food labels for sodium content. Look for products that are low sodium or sodium free. Sodium free is less than 5 mg of sodium per serving, and very low sodium is less than 35 mg sodium per serving or no salt added.

Broths, salad dressings, soy sauce, bouillon cubes, meat tenderizers, and all condiments such as mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, barbeque sauce are all high in salt. Watch for additives such as MSG, baking soda, baking powder, and sodium benzoate are all sodium compounds.

Learn to love spices instead of salt. Instead of a pinch of salt, you can add onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, nutmeg, cumin, curry powder, ginger, cilantro, bay leaf, oregano, dry mustard, cinnamon, or dill for wonderful flavors.

Or you can use commercial products, such as Mrs. Dash. You can make your own seasoning mix, recipe to follow. Today I share with you recipes for the spice mix, Dukka-Spiced Salmon Patties, and Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad.

So here’s to healthier eating and cooking! Take good care of yourselves, my dear readers. And always enjoy.

Salt Free Seasoning Mix:

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp mace, ground

1 tsp basil, ground

1 tsp onion powder

1 TBSP garlic powder

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp thyme, ground

1 tsp sage, ground

1 tsp dried parsley flakes

1 tsp marjoram

1 tsp savory, ground

Combine all ingredients for a flavorful salt substitute

Dukka-Spiced Salmon Patties:

1-1/2 lbs salmon fillets, skin on and deboned

Dukka Spice Mix (see below)

1/4 white onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil

Zest of 1 lemon plus 1/2 lemon for squeezing

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 TBSP chickpea flour OR 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Vegetable oil for frying( or better, use coconut oil)

Carrot-Sweet Onion dressing (see below) OR Greek yogurt for serving

Dukka Spice Mix:

3/4 cup toasted salt-free pine nuts, pistachios or almonds

2 TBSP white sesame seeds

1 TBSP cumin seeds

1/4 tsp salt-free garlic powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

Carrot-Sweet Onion Dressing:

1 med carrot, roughly chopped

1/4 cup white onion, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

2 TBSP lemon juice

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place salmon fillets skin side down on prepared baking sheet.

Bake until the fish turns light pink, about 10 — 12 minutes.

Transfer to a plate to cool.

When cool enough to handle, peel off skin and discard.

Reline baking sheet with fresh parchment paper.

Using 2 forks, flake the cooked salmon into small pieces and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add the Dukka, green onions, white onion, cilantro, lemon zest and chickpea flour.

Stir to combine.

Make small salmon patties, using about 1/2 cup of the mixture per patty.

Place the patties on the baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight to help the patties firm up for successful frying.

Line a large plate with paper towels.

In a large skillet, heat 2 — 3 TBSP oil over medium-high heat until the oil begins to ripple.

Carefully put 2 patties into the skillet and cook until golden brown, about 3 — 4 minutes.

Flip patty and cook another 2 — 3 minutes.

Transfer to paper towel lined plate.

Discard any browned bits from the skillet and cook remaining patties.

Add more oil if needed.

Serve warm with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of dressing.

  • For the Dukka Spice Mix heat a medium sized skillet or saute pan over medium high-high heat.

Add the nuts and toast, stirring frequently until they turn brown, 3 — 5 minutes.

Add the sesame seeds and coriander seeds and cumin seeds into the skillet and toast until they become fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Transfer toasted nuts and seeds to a food processor.

Add garlic powder and pepper and pulse until the mixture becomes a crumbly powder.

Can be stored in an air-tight container for 1 month.

Carrot-Sweet Onion Dressing:

Fill a small pot with 2” water and place a metal steamer basket in the pot above the water.

Bring the water to a simmer over high heat.

Place the carrot pieces in the steamer.

Cook over medium-high heat for 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Transfer carrots to a small food processor.

Add the onion, oil, garlic powder, and 1 TBSP water and blend.

The dressing will be chunky, so if you want it smoother, add a little more water or lemon juice.

Can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

  • For a faster variation of this dish simply coat the salmon fillets with 1 TBSP oil each. Rub the dukka on top of each fillet and cook the fillets as directed above. Remove the skin and serve with lemon wedges and the dressing.

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad:

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1-1/2 TBSP canola oil

1 tsp lime zest

1 minced garlic clove

2 ears corn on the cob, shucked, grilled or boiled ,and sliced off cob

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 whole whole, pitted kalamata olives

1 head leaf lettuce, shredded

3 hard boiled eggs, cut in quarters

In a small bowl, whisk together cumin, coriander, canola oil, lime juice, zest, and garlic.

Set aside.

In a large bowl, gently combine corn, tomatoes, onion, olives, and the vinaigrette made above.

Divide lettuce among 4 plates and top with salad.

Garnish with hard boiled eggs.

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