You don't have to sacrifice taste whether you want to -- or have to -- cut salt and pepper from your diet. It's also helpful to know how to season food without salt and pepper should you run out and, at that moment, lack the time to restock your pantry. If cutting salt and pepper is you mission, experiment with a range of ingredients to determine which ones work best in your favorite recipes.
Bottled Liquid Flavorings
If you're not monitoring your salt intake, you can season food with salty sauces, such as soy sauce and liquid amino acids. You can season meats with thick sauces such as teryiaki and barbecue. You also can use stock -- bouillon cubes, canned or homemade -- to season a range of dishes, including soups, stews and rice or pasta dishes. Season cold dishes with bottled salad dressing and condiments like mayonnaise, duck sauce and peanut sauce. Spray steamed vegetables with cooking spray with olive or coconut oil food spray to enhance flavor.
Other Flavoring Liquids
Delicate citrus juices make good seasonings for salt-free poultry and seafood platters -- ceviche, a raw seafood dish, gets most of its flavor from lemon juice. A squeeze of orange, lime or grapefruit makes a flavorful basis for a salt-free vinaigrette. Vinegar -- balsamic, flavored or herb-infused -- can be used to enhance the flavor of raw and cooked dishes, and to marinate meats, without salt and pepper.
Fresh Herbs and Roots
Fresh herbs are a time-tested way to flavor food without salt and pepper. Finely chop your herbs, or pulverize them in a mortar and pestle to get the best flavor distribution in your dish. Use herbs in season -- ideally, from your own kitchen garden -- for optimum taste. Classic herbs include basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, parsley and cilantro. Roots, such as onions, garlic and shallots -- whether sauteed or used raw -- add a significant amount of flavor to food. You can use horseradish sparingly as a substitute for pepper. You also can season food with dried herbs, although you should try to buy dried herbs that haven't been on the shelf too long -- check the product's sell-by date before you buy. Dried herbs that have been sitting in your pantry for years won't impart much flavor and should be thrown out.
The Spice Rack
Sprinkle spice blends, such as curry powder and Chinese five spice, on your food to season it without salt and pepper. You also can blend your own spice mixes to season meats, chili and other dishes. Powdered ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon also make effective salt-free food seasonings, as do onion and garlic when dried and powdered. Cayenne pepper makes an effective substitute for black pepper, but avoid it if you're specifically avoiding spicy foods for medical reasons.
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