February 23, 2011

Low Sodium Veggie Burgers

This one’s for the vegetarians.

As much as I love a hunk of steak and a medium-rare burger that drips with meat juices – and I confess, I am now a proud participant in a beef CSA! – red meat can actually be high in natural sodium.

Three ounces of chuck can land you upwards of 90mg, depending on brand and percentage of fat (other kinds can be much lower). So like any health conscious Jack or Jill, sometimes a beef overload gets the best of you and you want to balance your carnivorous tendencies with occasional herbivore fare.

That’s how we get to the garden burger.

Supposedly packed with vegetables, healthy grains, and less fat, this alternative patty seems like a good choice. It even tastes like a good choice. Especially when piled high with condiments and pickles. But when you look beyond the delightful pictures of tomatoes and leafy greens on the package and catch sight of the nutritional information, you’ll discover that many of these products replace the umami flavor of meat with loads of salt.

Gardenburger’s Original veggie burger contains a whopping 400mg of sodium (and a whole other host of ingredients that don’t seem like they could grow in your garden), and we haven’t even gotten to the bun yet. Which would be another 400mg of sodium and that’s almost a day’s worth of the salty stuff in one measly muesli meal.

But don’t fear. A low sodium veggie version is here. Actually, right here. Like, look below.

This garbanzo based patty (with some surprise ricotta inside) was seared on the outside and moist on the inside – just how you want ’em. I topped it with roasted fennel and peppers and some sauteed arugula. And to really make them special, I used portabella mushrooms as the buns, adding sesame seeds to one of them to look more like bread. Tricky, tricky and suspiciously delicious.

Hopefully you’re drooling over these tasty toadstools. They were incredibly easy to make – thank you Cuisinart – and only require a pan to “grill.” I’m hoping to test out a few other bean-based burgers in the coming weeks, so if you have a favorite recipe or combination, let me know.

And a quick announcement before I sign off for the day: thank you to everyone for participating in the Love Your Heart Recipe Rally! Did you have as much fun as I did? Did you make any of the new recipes? Do you have any new ideas of meals you want to Salt-Free? Post below and let us know!

With that, happy Wednesday. Stay warm and full and as always, chow on.

Kate February 23, 2011 at 8:55 am

This looks wonderful! I have been wanting to experiment with veggie burger recipes so I appreciate the inspiration:)

sodium girl February 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

Consider yourself welcomed. Let me know how your experiments go!

sgelman February 23, 2011 at 1:06 pm

That looks insanely delicious. I may have to fly out to SF so you can whip me up a batch of those chickpea burgers…mmm. Great idea with the portobello bun too!

sodium girl February 25, 2011 at 8:11 am


Lauren February 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm


I just wanted to leave a note telling you how incredibly excited I am to have found you and your site!! You are an inspiration! I’m 30 and have had SLE for about 15 years but Nephritis has been a more recent and major development requiring hospitalizations (not nearly as long or as severe as your case) and tackling all of the issues with sodium has been overwhelming and frustrating. I have wonderful doctors but they don’t seem to be able to tell me what i’ve learned from about an hour perusing your site. I also just really appreciate your honesty regarding your struggle to put your health first, especially following your 4 month hospitalization. I feel like i’ve been there so many times – that pull to jump right back into what most people consider “normal” and pretend like everything has been taken care of in terms of health concerns. I think so many of my healthy friends don’t understand that mentality – to them it seems the priorities should be obvious for me.

Anyway, I LOVE your site, I LOVE the thought that there will be a book out, and I LOVE your courage, strength, perspective, and positivity.

Thank you for showing me that it is possible to have a new normal and cook AND order out delicious low sodium meals.


sodium girl February 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

Lauren! Welcome, welcome, and WELCOME. I am so glad that you have found the site. Because your enthusiasm is exactly why I started it. Please feel free to send questions my way. We have a growing community here and together we will find all the answers that make living a low sodium life totally awesome.

Katie @ Shared Bites February 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm

This looks delish. Just chickpeas and ricotta?

sodium girl February 25, 2011 at 8:10 am

Oh no, a few other surprises. Some carrots, pine nuts, and a secret kind of “bread” crumb. But still experimenting!

terri April 4, 2012 at 11:57 am

I’d love to have this recipe!

jennifer August 25, 2012 at 7:28 am

I would love to have the recipe for any wheat free, soy free meat alternatives to make veggie patties

chris October 13, 2012 at 11:50 pm

would also like to get this recipe – looks delicious! and the portobello bun is a great idea. Thanks for a wonderful blog!

elaine saloka February 5, 2013 at 4:22 am

Thank you for all your info on this site. I truly watch my sodium intake because of high bp and heart issues. Low sodium makes a BIG difference. Your recipe for veggie burgers looks yummy, can’t wait to try it. I have been dismayed by the veggie burgers like Boca and others, very high in sodium.

donidiom March 28, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I’m confused. That looks tasty, and I’d love to make it, but where is the recipe?

jessg23 March 29, 2013 at 8:12 am

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