March 13, 2015

The New Salt: Lentil Dust


Last week I promised salt-free salt. So let’s get to it already.

What is salt-free salt?

Salt-free salt is not an herb, fresh and dried. Or any of the spices you find on the rack. Which are all great (GREAT!) alternatives to using salt.

But here’s the technical definition of a salt-free salt: It is a magical powder consisting of unusual ingredients, pulverized into a powder that then gets used to make your taste buds do a high kick. It wakes up the other ingredients in the dish. They may add texture, umami, and most definitely will make your brain explode. (And PS: by “technical” I mean I just made that all up).

I first discovered the idea of salt-free salt by way of Michelle Tam (from Nom Nom Paleo) and her Magic Mushroom Powder. Now, of course, Michelle’s version has salt in it. But even without it, this blend is a total savory, umami powerhouse. And I absolutely love the idea that pulverized mushrooms (yes MUSHROOMS) can act like a seasoning.

Thanks, Mother Nature. You’re awesome.

So next week, we’re going to talk about a version of Michelle Tam’s Magic Mushroom Powder. But today, we’re going to get into a new blend of our own: Red Lentil Dust.


Oh yes.

It’s simple. You take a cup of red lentils (uncooked). You add some dried onion flakes and salt-free garlic powder and some red chili pepper if you’re crazy like that. Then you put it all in a food processor and let it whirl until you have a fine grapefruit colored powder. Then you sprinkle this fairy dust into your scrambled eggs, over your kale chips, into the polenta, and right into that Shepard’s pie.

IMG_3602 IMG_3572

Of course, you also need to put it on diced carrots and potatoes. And when you do, something really wonderful happens. The lentils actually act like flour/batter that adds an extra crispiness to that roasted hash.

So add something colorful, savory, and totally unexpected to your meals this week   And give a new a new kind of seasoning a chance.



  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
  • 1 Tbsp salt-free garlic powder


Blend. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 month. Use like a spice in any cooked dishes.

Stephanie Weaver, MPH April 7, 2015 at 3:02 pm

What a clever idea! I’ll have to think of an alternative that’s also migraine-friendly, as lentils and onions are triggers. Hope you have been well.

Meryl Urdang April 13, 2015 at 10:27 am

Lentil Salt
I tried this what I thought were red lentils – they were too hard for the cuisenart (yes, it’s realllly old). Is it my cuisenart or are there different types of ‘red’ lentils.

Thanks so much!

jessg23 February 5, 2016 at 10:17 am

Hmmm…there are yellow and green lentils but they will all be hard. You could try putting them in a bag first and pounding them to soften/break them up before they hit the blade. Let us know if it works.

Paul February 5, 2017 at 12:45 pm

I have made this yet but what purpose do the lentils serve? Lentils don’t really have any flavour of their own so what’s the point of them in this seasoning? Do it thicken the dish?

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