Salt-Free Cooking; Spice Blends to Add Maximum Flavour the Healthy Way

Spice Blends

The terms ‘low-salt’, ‘low-sodium’ and ‘salt-free’ are splashed across many a food packaging and recipe these days with a surging trend in healthier cooking and eating. However, there’s still a common misconception that these terms equate to ‘flavour-free’, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, salt does have its well-earned place as a universal flavour-enhancer, but with its high sodium levels, too much of it can result in a myriad of health problems, so it’s important to be mindful of our intake and cut down where and when we can. In this blog, I’ll show you that with just a little clever flavour mixing and spice blending, you can season your food the healthy, low-sodium way without sacrificing on flavour.

Here on the site we have an entire shopping category dedicated to Salt-Free Blends with loads of exotic spice mixes from all over the globe. Below, I’ll be running through a few of my favourites along with some tips on how to use them with other clever ingredient additions as well as a couple of bonus recipes thrown in.

*For most of our spice blends, we recommend 1 tablespoon per 500g protein; with the salt-free blends, we suggest 2 tablespoons, as the extra bit of spice will give you a wonderful depth of flavour.

 

Mexican Taco Spice Mix

Tacos are a renowned family-favourite dinner across the world, however, so many of the commercial seasoning mixes and sauces that are available in supermarkets are loaded with salt, sugar, preservatives and not a lot else. Over the past year, I made it my mission to create a healthier, salt-free alternative that was just as fast, easy, affordable and of course, delicious. Our Mexican Taco Spice Mix is a clever blend of aromatic spices including cumin, sweet and smoky paprika, ancho chilli for a tiny kick, bell peppers for a little added sweetness and garlic, onion and oregano for that herby savouriness. I highlight the wonderful flavouring power of this blend in my Healthy Beef Tacos recipe; this recipe is so simple but with the clever layering of textures and fresh and cooked ingredients, the outcome is just delicious and tastes far more complex than it actually is.

As with most dishes, the beginning of the dish is one of the most crucial, as you must build a good flavour profile and foundation to then build upon –  I do this by taking the time to cook the red onion pieces on a low heat with some olive oil to caramelise them and turn them into sweet, translucent jewels that will stud the beef mixture and add bursts of sweetness. I’m then also sure to cook my spices off with the onion and oil to release their volatile oils, giving the dish a big whack of flavour and aroma. By putting in a little extra effort in these stages, you can make a big flavour impact and will not be missing the salt one bit!

Pepper Lemon Seasoning

This unique blend of cracked black pepper, lemon peel, citric acid, bell peppers, parsley, onion, garlic, and turmeric, adds a zesty, warm hum to so many dishes and its clever mix of aromatic herbs and spices adds all the flavour without the need for salt. This super versatile blend can be used to season just about anything – sprinkle over some fish before placing on a hot grill, dust over some cut potatoes before roasting for delicious zesty homemade wedges, or whip into some softened butter and baste over a whole chicken while roasting. The delicate combination of lemon, pepper and herbs in this seasoning works especially well with seafood; a favourite way of mine to use it is to make a simple light cream sauce of sautéed leek, a splash of white wine, a dash of cream and a generous seasoning of Pepper Lemon and then flaking through some cooked or smoked salmon off the heat before tossing through some spaghetti – the natural saltiness of the fish adds all the salt you need and the peppery, lemony seasoning adds a wonderful hit of flavour and zest! A super versatile pantry staple that every home cook must have.

Lebanese Baharat

This wonderfully aromatic authentic spice blend is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking, particularly Lebanese, and is to all of North Africa what Garam Masala is to India. ‘Baharat’ meaning ‘spice’, is used to add flavour to just about any dish whether it be vegetables, fish, beef, lamb or chicken. The blend of sweet paprika, black pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom is the perfect balance of sweet, spicy and herby with the black pepper adding the perfect amount of warmth without intense heat and the cumin adding a rounded earthy flavour that binds the blend together so well. By delicately blending these spices in very considered amounts, I don’t find the need for added salt whatsoever. If in the instance I do want a little salty umami kick, I add some olives or anchovy fillets to my dishes. The naturally salty, savoury flavour of them blends seamlessly with the aromatic spices in the Baharat and works so well in Middle Eastern dishes. I’m also almost always sure to add a generous spritzing of lemon to add another hit of flavour and balance out the richness of the spices.

I use this blend as a quick and easy marinade for any roasted or grilled meat by simply combining it with olive oil and lemon juice and allowing it to steep on the meat for a couple of hours before cooking. I also like to make a Middle Eastern-inspired dip by toasting the spices off lightly in a dry pan on low heat and then mixing with natural yoghurt, fresh coriander (or any fresh herb you have on-hand) and lemon juice – serve with some toasted flat bread and you have a super healthy and delicious ready-made starter that I’m sure none of your friends have tried before!

A favourite way of using this blend for me, is in my Lebanese Lamb and Chickpea Stew. This hearty one-pot wonder brings together all that I love about Middle Eastern cooking and showcases this exotic blend perfectly. In this recipe, I do add a touch of salt to bring out the other flavours in the stew however, if you’d like to leave out, you can use the handy seasoning tricks I mentioned earlier.

So, there you have it, a few blends, recipes and cooking hacks to prove to you that salt-free does not equal flavour-free and that with just a few clever additions and some considered flavour balancing, you can produce super delicious, super healthy, salt-free meals in a flash!

Scroll down below to check out a list of our entire salt-free blend range and click on their names to learn more about them and find links to some amazing recipes!

If you make anything from our site be sure to upload it onto social media and tag us. We love seeing what you create!

Ciao,

Liz

F | @thespicepeople I | @thespicepeopleaus

Our Salt-Free Blends Range