November 22, 2011

Salt-Free Any Holiday Recipe

This is a salt-free curry coconut gravy. That took twenty minutes to whip up. That’s a perfect substitute for saltier, meat-based gravies. That comes from a recipe I borrowed from Todd & Diane.

And this Thanksgiving, I want you to do a little borrowing too.

I challenge you to cook from a cookbook. From memory. Or by the smells you remember and the tastes you crave for so-and-so’s so-and-so that you look forward to eating every November.

This Thanksgiving, I dare you to salt-free your favorite holiday recipes.

It doesn’t matter how much cheese, bacon, brine, or store-bought, sodium-filled ingredients are in the original. You have the tools, the know-how, and the creative genius to salt-free anything you want.

Sure, your version of a pancetta parmesan mashed potato won’t turn out exactly like it’s salty counterpart. But with a few twists and turns (and some uncured pork parts and other interesting spices), the salt-free version will be equally satisfying. If not more impressive.

So please, rip out pages from all the holiday feast-themed magazines you see. Even without the salt, these recipes will inspire you to try new flavor combinations (sake and green beans) and show you how to take on taste-boosting techniques (braising and cider poaching).

And when you hit a salty roadbloack, have fun climbing up and over them, and coming up with mind-blowing solutions.

Canned broth?

Simply boil shiitakes (dried or fresh) with water for 30 to 40 minutes. Not only do the mushrooms lend an earthy flavor to any soup, stuffing, or gravy, they also happen to be packed with natural umami.

Parmesan cheesiness?

Use low-sodium dairy products, like mascarpone, creme fraiche, and certain brands of ricotta to add creaminess. Or go for something completely different, and whip those potatoes with roasted ancho peppers, curry powder, or even homemade pesto.


Skip the salt bath and give your bird moisture by rubbing butter under the skin and spices (or a glaze) on the outside.

Time-consuming pie crust?

Matzo crackers + butter + cinnamon + sugar = winning.

Pancetta, Prosciutto, and Bacon?

Skip the cured versions and go back to the original with just some plain pork. Cube it. Buy it ground. Or use whole chunks of meat to introduce porkiness to potatoes, vegetables, and stuffings. Don’t forget to use smoky spices like paprika and cumin, or even a drizzle of maple syrup, to bring in recognizable “bacon” flavors.

And Gravy?

Serve this simple, low-sodium curry and coconut version and start a new tradition of your own.

Chow on.

(oh, and some more sweet holiday treats coming tomorrow)

COCONUT CURRY GRAVY (Salt-Free’d from White On Rice Couple’s Curried Smashed Potato Recipe)


  • 14 oz coconut milk (20mg sodium per 1/3 cup)
  • 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp salt-free chili powder


In a medium pot or sauce pan, combine coconut milk, curry powder, honey, molasses, and chili powder. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until it thickens to a gravy-like consistency.


Take the gravy off of heat and either serve immediately, or if you are ahead of the turkey game, put it in a closed container in the fridge and simply reheat before using the next day.


waiwa November 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

wow, that looks great! no meat stock at all in the gravy?

jessg23 November 22, 2011 at 10:16 am

Not one drip. Pure sweet and savory goodness without any broth or salt added!

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