If you have a history of high blood pressure or problems with your heart, it is advised that you reduce the salt in your diet. When you get this news from a doctor, you start looking at all the foods that you eat in your fridge, freezer and pantry and realise how much salt you are adding into your diet each day. Ideally, we are meant to eat foods which are as close to nature as possible, but if you have to buy something packaged, the salt content should be less than 120mg per 100 grams, with a maximum of 400mg per 100g. This information is shown on the nutrition table on the back of every product.
When a family member in our home got the news to reduce their salt intake, we went through all the food in our house and donated all the foods high in salt to friends, family and the food bank. We then had to look for new recipes for dinner and increase our use of herbs and spices, to add flavour to our meals in a different way. These have been our favourite salt reduced recipes, so far...
To make breadcrumbs, preheat the oven to 300 degrees fan-forced. Line a tray with baking paper. Remove crusts and rip up the bread into small pieces, then place in a food processor and blitz until fine breadcrumbs. Spread onto baking paper and cook for 5 minutes. When brown and crunchy, remove from oven and blitz it again in the food processor to make it a fine crumb - the finer the better. Coat the chicken with egg and roll in breadcrumbs.
In a non-stick frypan, add a small amount of oil on low heat and slowly cook both sides, then increase the heat and cook until brown and cooked through. To make a parmigiana, smear pasta sauce over the top of the cooked schnitzels and place under the grill for 5 minutes to warm up. Alternatively, serve your chicken schnitzel with a side of guacamole, below.
Ingredients: 4 frozen Basa Fillets (320mg/100g salt), 3 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, lettuce, tomato and low-salt tortillas (we use One Night In Mexico Tortilla With Corn, which is 400mg/100g salt).
Defrost the fish fillets and chop into large cubes. Place in a bowl with olive oil, lime juice, smoked paprika, cumin, chilli powder and cayenne pepper. Marinate for at least one hour before cooking (the longer you leave it, the hotter it gets!). Cook in a non-stick frypan or with a small amount of oil, for just a few minutes each side until cooked all the way through. Place on a plate with kitchen paper to soak up excess oil. Serve the fish in a bowl and place on the table with the heated tortillas and bowls of lettuce, tomato and homemade guacamole (above).
Tip: We take these to a BBQ as a low-salt, healthy alternative to sausages.
Ingredients: 500g chicken mince, 1 brown onion (finely chopped), 3/4 cup homemade breadcrumbs (see the recipe for chicken parmigiana, above), 1/2 cup fresh coriander (chopped), 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped), 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons ground coriander.
Soak bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl using your hands. Form the mince around the skewers, so they look like a sausage on a stick. BBQ for 15 minutes, turning regularly.
Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 onion (chopped), 1 capsicum (chopped), 3 garlic cloves (finely diced), 4 cups vegetable stock (salt reduced), 2 cups basmati rice, 400g can chickpeas (salt reduced - drained and rinsed), 1/2 cup sultanas or raisins, 1 and 1/2 cups frozen peas, 3/4 Tablespoon crushed ginger (Masterfoods is the lowest salt brand we have found), 1 Tablespoon cumin, 1 Tablespoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 3 cardamom pods (seeds only, shells removed), 1/2 teaspoon turmeric.
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add capsicum, garlic and ginger and cook for 5 minutes. Remove one cup of the vegetables and set aside.
To the remaining amount, add the cumin, coriander, chilli powder, cinnamon, cardamom seeds and turmeric and stir for 1 minute. Add the basmati rice and stir for 1 minute. Add vegetable stock, chickpeas, sultanas and the cup of vegetables that you took out before. Put the lid on and bring to the boil and simmer on very low for 5 minutes. Lift the lid to stir and then put the lid back on and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir again, ensuring it's not sticking to the bottom. Take a spoon of the rice and taste test, to check that it is soft and ready - if not, add hot water and put the lid back on for a few more minutes. When the liquid has evaporated, stir through frozen peas and serve.
Low salt doesn't necessarily mean low taste! Enjoy!