If last week’s baked bow-tie pasta blew your mind, just wait until you see the countless other ways to give favorite bready ingredients a low-sodium makeover. From crackers to breadcrumbs to baguettes, I’ve got you covered with creative low-so stand-ins that will stand up to the original. And satisfy anyone, including salt eaters. Because they’re fun and fresh and way more exciting than, well, white bread. Plus, they’re simply easier to make than a loaf, from-scratch. Which is great for those times when you are in a rush or faced with unexpected guests. Or simply not in the mood to bake.
Of course, later this week, we will roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty making the real thing (if you’re into that). So look forward to a no-knead boule, easy challah, and challah buns. Yeah, you heard right. I said challah buns–perfect for Super Bowl entertaining.
But for now, let’s put on our creative caps and party hats, and give some of these wheat-free and low-sodium options a test drive.
When you crave crispy coated chicken, vegetables, or noodle casserole, skip the high-sodium store-bought bread crumbs and have fun using a mix of crushed nuts or seeds, crushed tortilla chips (hello, Scotch Egg!), crispy quinoa, and toasted coconut in its place. Or for a truly healthful alternative, give broccoli a try, on your next fish sticks or casserole.
Some brands of store-bought, seasoned breadstick dough can equal over 500mg per two sticks–or 1/3 of the recommended 1,500mg daily lower limit. But you can complete your appetizer spread with Low-So Pasta Breadsticks. Using thick papardelle noodles as the base, coat with oil and any spices you desire. You can even make some with parmesan or asiago, for those guests who can handle the extra sodium. Cook them in a 450 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes and serve while hot and crispy. They’re so good, I made a little stop action film about it.
These days you can find crackers that have less sodium (than their original salty version) or sometimes, even, no-sodium. But if you find these options needing a little flavor pick-me-up, then take matters into your own hands by adding your own spice blends to matzoh crackers. Or, using our good friend pasta, making your own seasoned pasta crackers in the oven, in minutes.
Mini toast slices (or crostini) are an appetizer mainstay. They are also often filled with salt, cheese, and sodium-heavy seasonings. But with these crostini alternatives (including apple slices, sweet potatoes, hash browns, and mushrooms) or some cute cucumber cups you can enjoy your spreads while sticking to your low-so diet.
Whether you make something sweet or something savory, there’s an easy solution for a low-so pie crust. That won’t eat up your time. For those berry filled tarts or lemon chiffon pies, ditch the graham crackers and use jam and sugar spiced matzoh crackers instead. For vegetable quiches, make mini crusts from baked hash browns.
Yes, you can make no-salt pizza dough from scratch and yes, you can actually purchase ready-to-make pizza dough (and I suggest stocking up–they make making beet carrot tarts was easy as 1, 2, 3). But you can also make pizza in less time than it takes to order delivery with the help of chickpea flour.
You can always purchase no-salt-added bread at a store or online to make your own low-so version of favorite sandwiches, like Bahn Mi. Or simply slap those fillings on a corn tortilla and call it a day. But if you want to find a more thrilling non-bread alternative for those lunchtime nibbles, try this low-so collard leaf lavash that takes the place high-sodium flour tortillas, wraps, and pitas. For something less constrained, try using cucumbers like an open-faced baguette, stacking each half with spreads, low-so deli meat, and veggies. Or whatever you have in the fridge.
Sandwiches (Ice Cream!)
Toss those cookies! And when summer and stone fruit decide to return, take full advantage of those apricots, nectarines, and peaches for a juicy low-so take on the classic ice cream sandwich.
Avocado toast has taken over breakfast (and the Internet). But you don’t have to miss out. Simply spread avocado on rice crackers or toasted corn tortillas for your morning fix. Or for those times when you have time, use sliced bell peppers and delicata squash to make a traditional Egg in the Hole, without the toast.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have a low-so swap for a common bread product? Post in the comments, on Instagram, or on the Sodium Girl Facebook page. And be sure to use the has tag #lowsogood. I can’t wait to see what creative ideas you come up with.