Have you heard about all the crazy things you can do with salt?
According to the book, Solve it With Salt, you can put that salt shaker to work to: remove water stains from your porcelain tub (if you have one); make grease, red wine, and ketchup disappear from your rug; shine up your favorite brass candleholders; clean up oven spills (in place of smelly, toxic cleaners); razzle dazzle art projects with home-made salt glitter; keep ants out of your house; and soak up that smelly odor from your shoes.
But are you also aware of the number of crave-worthy meals, dishes, dinner parties, and please-can-I-have-seconds potlucks you can create WITHOUT salt?
I’m guessing if you’re here, than you’re ready to find out. Or you’ve already discovered the bounty of salt-free, low-sodium recipes that exist within these webpages. Like this roasted vegetable salad. Which we will get to in a second.
But before we dive into this colorful dish, I need to announce something big and even more exciting than chocolate covered matzo s’mores. Impossible, yes. But true.
Sodium Girl (this website) has been nominated as one of SAVEUR MAGAZINE’s BEST SPECIAL DIET BLOGS of 2012 (at this website).
Did your heart just flip? Because my kidneys are hosting a dance party right now.
For three years, I’ve been cooking, writing, sharing, and spilling low-sodium food in hopes of bringing color and excitement to a misunderstood and misrepresented diet. I wanted all of you — told to cut out the salt — to know that this new lifestyle did not have to stand in your way of enjoying the things you love, edible and otherwise. And that, by taking on the diet, you don’t have to be a second-class culinary citizen. That you can really embrace the “special” in special diet.
But a nod a from SAVEUR? I could not have dreamed this up if I had a dream machine.
It’s proof and validation that low-sodium food can be just as enjoyable in sight, smell, and taste as everything else out there. That as a low-sodium eater, you can nosh with the best of them. That creative substitutions and fun in the kitchen can get salt-free creamy red lentil soup and cauliflower white sauce pizza noticed by some of the most renowned palates in the food world. And that, while there is most definitely a place for salt in food, there are so many other spices, sauces, and whole ingredients ready and waiting to get their flavor on. Meaning losing that shaker is far from the end of the world — it is just the beginning of exploring it.
So I’m honored and thankful. And ready to tackle even more salty dishes with a salt-free twist.
I’m also asking you, if you have 30 seconds and a computer, to go and vote. To tell your best friend, your neighbor, and your grandmother to vote too. Maybe even tell your doctor, your mailman, and that guy operating the elevator. And help give low-sodium food the spotlight it deserves.
(You deserve it too)
Because did you see that salad?
Yeah. That’s some love, care, and low-sodium goodness with which no amount of bacon can compete.
LOW-SODIUM ROASTED VEGETABLE SALAD and FENNEL GARLIC DRESSING
serves 10 as a side
- 2 red or orange peppers, stem and seeds removed
- 1 zucchini, sliced into even-sized rounds
- 1 Japanese eggplant (the long kind), sliced into even-sized rounds
- 1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped off
- 5 small tomatoes, stems removed and sliced into even-sized rounds
- Olive oil
- Lemon pepper (salt free)
- 1 small fennel bulb
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped, fresh basil, parsley, or dill (optional)
- 1 to 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Lettuce mix, washed (baby kale, arugula, and other chicories work well) — grab enough for the number of your guests, I like to think of it as about two handfuls per person
Preheat oven to 375dg F. And get out a bunch of large sheet pans. I used three, plus a small non-stick bread pan for my peppers.
Cover all the sheet pans with parchment and lay out the zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, and tomatoes in a single layer, like so. And fit in those peppers wherever you can.
Use your hands or oil spray to glaze the veggies with olive oil and give them all a good sprinkle of lemon pepper. Place them in the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, while those goodies bake, this is a great time to mix up that salad dressing. Because the longer you let it sit and marinate, the stronger the flavor.
Start by cutting the bottom of the bulb and the antenna stems from fennel. Wash and remove the outer layer if it is bruised. And then dice, dice, dice until you have teeny tiny fennel cubes.
Place them in plastic container with a lid along with the garlic and fresh herbs. And then douse with a few good glugs of oil, the apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Give it a good shake and place in the fridge until you’re ready to dress the salad.
At this point, your timer is probably going off. So check on the veggies and take out those (like the zukes and eggplant, maybe even the asparagus) that are nice and soft and roasted. Leave the tomatoes and the peppers in for another 20 minutes. Then remove from the oven as well and place the peppers into a paper bag to steam and cool for 15 minutes. When cold enough to handle, remove the skin from the peppers and slice them up.
Finally to plate, lay out that lettuce or green mix on a serving platter. As a side note, I like to cut my asparagus into thirds, just for presentation points. Then layer the ingredients on top of those leaves: zukes and eggplant; roasted tomatoes; asparagus; and bell peppers. Use your hands to dig out the diced fennel and garlic from your dressing mixture and sprinkle along the top of the veggies. And right before dishing it out, drizzle with as much of the dressing as you like.
+Sodium Count: Zucchini: 16mg per medium zucchini; Eggplant:11mg per large eggplant; Tomatoes: 5mg per small tomato; Red bell peppers: 5mg sodium per medium pepper; Fennel: 45mg per cup, 122 per bulb; Kale: 29mg per cup chopped