September 16, 2011

Salt-Free Savory Doughnuts

It’s our final day of mini doughnut pan fun and I think–in my humble opinion–that we’ve saved the best for last.

As soon as I bought the doughnut pan, I’ll admit that I did not think about sprinkles. Or sugar. Or frosting. Or apple fritters. Actually, I may have thought about apple fritters, but that had nothing to do with the mini doughnut pan.

What did cross my mind, however, was chili pepper flakes, fresh herbs, and other aromatics like leeks, onions, and toasted garlic. Because a good low-sodium doughnut is possible. But a great one is made with a savory filling.

Of course, these treats will never replace an old fashion or jelly-filled version. But what they will do is surprise your palate.

Your taste buds will never see the rosemary coming.

Or the buttery, melted leek. Or the picante of hot pepper flakes.

And while all those flavors taste great on their own, they taste even better when they defy expectations. Especially when they also come in a small round ring.

Surprises like these are the best defense against missing the salt. When you overwhelm your mouth with new and unexpected flavors, tastes, textures, and experiences, salt will be the last thing on your mind. Or tongue.

So try these savory doughnuts. Or simply put the savory doughnut theory to work in another recipe (like savory pancakes, savory cupcakes, and savory apple and pork fritters…now there’s an idea).

And as always, chow on.


Savory Salt-Free Doughnuts

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small leek (or 2 shallots), washed and finely diced
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Zest from 1 lemon (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Dried rosemary, thyme, tarragon, or chives (take your pick)
  • Red chili pepper flakes


Preheat oven to 425 dg F and spray or grease mini doughnut pan.

In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced leek (or shallots) and cook until they have softened, about 5 minutes. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

Then, in a large bowl, sift (or, let’s be hones, just mix) together all-purpose flour, baking powder, ground black pepper, and lemon zest.

Add in the egg, butter, water, and cooked leeks (or shallots). Stir until combined. Hooray. You made your batter.

Fill each doughnut mold with the batter until it is half full. And if you’re thinking, “hey, that’s not a lot of batter,” it’s perfect. Sprinkle your herbs and/or chili flakes on top of the batter. Then put your mini doughnut pan in the oven and bake until the doughnuts spring back when touched, about 4 to 6 minutes.

Let the doughnuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and then place them on a cooling rack while you fill up the pan again. Repeat the steps until all the batter is used.


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