Doable Challenge: Swap Salt for Herbs and Spices

As I mentioned last week, for this month’s Doable Challenge, we’re tackling excess sodium in our diets with advice and recipes from the American Heart Association and the cookbook author and blogger Jessica Goldman Foung, a.k.a. Sodium Girl. As Foung explained when I interviewed her, one of the reasons many people think low-sodium food is bland is because they’ve taken the salt out without adding anything to maximize the flavor. And herbs and spices are among her favorite ways to add punch to meals. Not only are herbs and spices a salt-free way to add a kick of flavor, they’re also extremely low in calories, virtually fat free, and contain many vitamins and disease fighting antioxidants (see our article on longevity-boosting power foods for more about the benefits of some herbs). Foung, who’s particularly partial to dill, advises an adventurous approach to herbs and spices: Pick a single herb and use it as many ways as possible over the course of the week, or choose a spice you’ve never used before and figure out what to do with it (the Epi recipe database can help with that). Summer is an especially great time to experiment with fresh herbs, so I’ve rounded up some recipes to get you started, below. And here’s an added challenge: If the recipe you choose calls for added salt, try skipping it and just using the herbs. I did this recently with a salad dressed with a garlicky citrus vinaigrette, chile flakes, and chopped mint and basil (grown on my roof), and I was amazed that I didn’t miss the salt I normally would have added to the dressing and on top. Orzo, Green Bean, and Fennel Salad with Dill Pesto (pictured) Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Herbs Asparagus, Green Onion, Cucumber and Herb Salad Summer Vegetable Stir-Fry Green Beans and Red Bell Peppers with Marjoram and Almonds (swap some or all of the butter for olive oil to make this dish healthier) For more herbaceous recipes, see Kerry’s recent blog about mint, as well as Epi’s guide to how to grow a windowsill herb garden, a visual guide to herbs, fresh herb tips, and more healthy herb recipes.

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