September 21, 2011

Counting Sodium

So let’s say that you wake up, drink your morning brew, and open up Sodium Girl.

And let’s say you find these low-sodium Zucchini Squash Soufflés staring at you, saying good afternoon.

First, you ask, what in Julia Child’s name are these things?

The answer is: a mixture of a 400 dg F oven + 1 large zucchini and 1 squash, finely grated + 1 beaten egg + sprinkles of chili powder and ground black pepper. A quick molding job (i.e. clumps plopped on a pan) and about an hour later, you have a fluffy veggie treat.

The second thing you ask, though, is how much sodium (or magnesium, potassium, carbohydrates, sugar, yada yada yada) are in these Zucchini Squash Soufflés?

Well, let me tell you about my little trick.

Since I don’t have any nutritional elves living in my apartment…yet…one of my favorite websites is a little site called the USDA National Nutrient Database. You can type in an ingredient–like zucchini–and find out almost anything you want to know about its nutritional makeup. Like the fact that 1 medium zucchini, raw with skin, has 16 mg of sodium.

Now, I don’t sit at every meal with a calculator and this website crunching sodium numbers. But I do use the site to figure out if wild rainbow trout (that my legal boyfriend caught) falls within my sodium limits (26mg for 3oz).

Or if that chard from your very own garden, which has such an amazing natural salinity to it, actually contains a high amount of sodium (77mg for 1 cup).

It’s a great resource for identifying the foods, ingredients, and even grocery store goodies that are safe for you to consume. And once you educate yourself, you can make quick, salt-free decisions–at home and when dining out–without wasting too much of your precious time or brain waves.

As for future posts, I’ll start including sodium counts. And you’ll have them memorized before you can say soufflé.

Learn on.

Oven-Baked Zucchini and Squash Soufflés


  • 1 medium zucchini (16mg of sodium)
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash (4mg of sodium)
  • 1 egg white (55mg of sodium)
  • Pinch smoked paprika
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • *special tools: cheesecloth, parchment paper


1. Preheat oven to 400dg F. Grease or spray a baking sheet.

2. With a handheld grater, shred the zucchini and yellow squash. Then place it in some cheesecloth (or just your hands) and squeeze until all the liquid from the vegetables is drained out. Five or six good squeezes should do the trick. If you do this over a bowl, you can save the juice to make a fresh, summer vegetable cocktail. Place the veggies into a small mixing bowl and set aside.

3. Add the egg white, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper. Use your hands to mix until well combined. Then form little meringue-shaped mounds on the parchment-covered baking sheet.

4. Place the baking sheet in the oven. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes until the outside is nice and crispy. Serve warm over sundried tomato and roasted red pepper pesto.

Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pesto


  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and stemmed (5mg of sodium)
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (5mg of sodium, depending on brand)
  • ¼ cup water, white wine, or olive oil


1. Preheat the broiler on high. Put the sun-dried tomatoes and the water, white wine, or oil in a small bowl.

2. Put the pepper on a small baking sheet and place in the oven on one of the top racks so it sits right below the broiler flame. Cook the pepper until it chars and blisters, about 5 to 8 minutes, and then turn a quarter turn to char and blister the next side. Repeat until the whole pepper has been roasted. Take the pepper out of the oven and put it into a paper bag. Close the bag and let the pepper steam and cool for 15 minutes. Then take the pepper out of the bag and using your hands, peel off the outer skin.

3. Place the peeled roasted pepper into a blender with the sun-dried tomatoes (reserving the soaking liquid in the small bowl). Add 2 tablespoons (should be about half) of the soaking liquid and blend until the sauce is smooth. Add the remaining liquid as needed until you get the consistency you desire.

4. Spoon warm sauce onto your plate and place the Ratatouille Souffle on top.

AnnieOH September 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Yum. And it’s still zucchini season. Give or take a day or two.

I have a burning question. My current heart’s desire is about five jars of Grey Poupon Savory Honey Mustard. I cannot find it in Cleveland, OH. How is this possible? Where does Sodium Girl find hers? Am I just not looking right? No plain Grey Poupon Honey Mustard either. Anywhere. I know I had some of that last summer….

Oh, and I had my bp checked yesterday and it was 125/76. Not perfect but much better. I’m pretty happy. Thank you Sodium Girl.

sodium girl September 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Congrats on the BP! And as for mustard, check out the SodiumGirl Facebook page for the answer!

waiwa September 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm

squash souffle, yum. that legal boyfriend of yours is such a catch!

lizthechef September 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Holy cow – great info and so glad you will be including sodium amounts. Thanks for a valuable post…

Magdalena CAbrera September 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm

HI SG! Yum, is right. I wonder if any kind of squash could be used for these little treats. Crooked neck? Patty Pan? Kabocha? And I agree with that WaiWa reader. The legal boyfriend of yours is quite the catch as is his fish! ; ^)

HF September 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Thanks for the tip re: sodium counts! Sodium is one of my top nutrition priorities and this is a helpful resource!

Jenn A September 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I’m not on facebook, but I’d love to know about your mustard. And those squash souffles look delish!

sodium girl September 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm
Christy Ellingsworth (@DailyDishTweets) September 22, 2011 at 8:46 am

Oooh LOVE the red pepper pesto. Am drooling just thinking about it. And as for the sodium counts on Sodium Girl – Huzzah!

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