September 8, 2010

Toasts, Roasts, and BBQ Smoke

First of all, welcome back Sodium Girl readers! And thank you for the outpouring of love and lovely comments this past week while I took a brief hiatus to get hitched.

The weekend was filled with dancing, laughing, and lots of low sodium treats. My feet are resting, my heart is bursting, and my stomach is most definitely full. All in all, I’d say it was a successful celebration.

And as I jump out of the wedding whirlwind and back into reality, I thought I’d start off this short week with a quick recap of my favorite meal of the weekend: a lively plate of low sodium BBQ.

Sure, there were mouth-watering lunches and brunches and catered wedding menus abound. But as they say on Top Chef, when food is cooked with love it can’t be beat. And a punchy recipe for low sodium BBQ sauce doesn’t hurt either.

While the rest of the rehearsal dinner crowd chewed through a buffet of hickory slathered chicken, roasted vegetables, and the standard sides, my mother-in-law was busy in the back creating an identical looking plate of food for me, without salt.

She drummed up mounds of:

  1. Salt-free cabbage, carrot, and fennel slaw;
  2. Carrot and green bean pickles;
  3. Spice-rubbed chicken with salt-free BBQ sauce;
  4. And a silky, dill-flavored potato salad.

The only thing lacking in this meal was my sense of restraint. There was intense flavor, incredible color, and perfect low sodium substitutes. My new MIL swapped crème fraiche for sour cream and fennel for celery (which happens to be quite high in natural sodium), and of course, she used my favorite salt-free ground mustard by Westbrae. With her go-get-em attitude, my beloved MIL created an impressive low sodium BBQ feast that outdid its salty counterpart. And I can’t wait to have it again.

So this weekend, if you wish to relive the flavors of Labor Day, grab a towel and a picnic basket, and test out one of my MIL’s flawless low sodium BBQ sides below. They are all intricate in taste, but simple in execution.

Chow on.



  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of smashed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Westbrae no salt added stoneground mustard (0 mg of sodium)
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups thinly sliced savoy cabbage
  • 3 cups grated carrot
  • 3 cups grated zucchini


1. Remove upper stalks from fennel and discard.

2. Cut off a thin slice from base of bulb and quarter fennel bulb lengthwise. Slice very thinly and set aside.

3. For vinaigrette, use a small jar with a lid and combine the olive oil, vinegar, parsley, mustard, sugar, and black pepper. Cover and shake well.

4. In a large serving bowl, combine the sliced fennel, cabbage, carrot, and zucchini. Pour the vinaigrette over cabbage mixture, toss lightly to coat, cover, and chill for 2 to 24 hours.



  • 16oz potatoes, boiled
  • 2 teaspoons of dill, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup of fennel
  • 1/2 cup of crème fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice or cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Westbrae no salt added stoneground mustard (0 mg of sodium)
  • Cracked black pepper to taste


* A quick note from the Chef: When I went to make more of this recipe (to have more than enough for Sodium Girl), I decided to add extra dressing. I reached in the refrigerator, grabbed the bottle and poured, only to realize I had picked up the the wrong dressing. It was the lemon dijon mustard dressing from another potato salad recipe. But I said, OK, every mistake is a new recipe. So I added a few more dollops of the right dressing that was still in the fridge, mixed it with the lemon dijon dressing, and tasted it. I thought it was a bit too lemony, so I added a little more crème fraiche to mellow it out and then it was perfect – a truly unique dish.

1. Cube the potatoes and set aside.

2. Mix the crème fraiche, vinegar, mustard, onions, and potatoes.

3. Toss, then add the dill and celery, and toss again.



  • 1/8 cup sweet paprika
  • 1/8 cup smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper


1. Rub.

Dishy September 10, 2010 at 5:20 am

A hearty CONGRATS on getting hitched – yeehaw! And kudos to your amazing MIL for doing her very best on your big day – a remarkable feat on a “regular” one, let alone when the bells are ringing and guests abound.

Wishing you & your lucky hubby every happiness now, and for all the years to come.

Keep up the amazing work, Sodium Girl! I look forward to reading all about it.

Magdalena CAbrera September 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Thanks, SG, for the kudos. And thanks to Dishy too! Indeed, it was and always is great love that inspires. Here’s to a very happy life together for the two of you and our families. L’chaim!

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