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22 Best Salt Substitutes To Try Out For Everyday Cooking

Salt is one of the most popular and commonly used spices all around the world. Salt is an essential ingredient added to preserve and season foods and intensify the flavour of a dish. It also blends well with other spices used and improves the taste of both sweet and savoury dishes.

Salt is also called sodium chloride and the words 'salt' and 'sodium' are often used interchangeably. When used in moderation salt isn't usually a concern, but when used in excessive amounts it causes your blood pressure to rise and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke [1].

There are many herbs and spices that you can use instead of salt to season your meals. They will not only add flavour to your meals but also will provide the essential nutrients that your body requires. Read on to know the best salt substitutes.

Best Salt Substitutes

1. Garlic

From using it as a flavouring agent to eating it raw as a vegetable, the culinary uses of garlic are endless. Garlic has numerous health benefits: it strengthens the immune system, reduces blood pressure and supports brain health [2]. Garlic has a pungent taste that enhances the flavour of any dish, which is why it can be used as a substitute for salt.

  • You can use whole garlic, garlic powder and garlic flakes in all kinds of dishes.

2. Black pepper

Black pepper usually goes hand in hand with salt; adding black pepper to meals can just add as much flavour without the added salt. What's more, studies have linked black pepper to reduced inflammation risk, which is a risk factor for chronic diseases [3].

  • You can either use whole peppercorns or ground black pepper to savoury dishes like pasta, soups, baked chicken or fish.

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3. Paprika powder

Paprika powder can be used as an alternative to salt. It not only adds a deep red colour to roasted dishes, but also adds a spicy, smoky flavour.

  • You can use paprika in many recipes such as stews, nachos, baked meat or fish.

4. Lemon juice

Lemon juice can be used as a substitute for salt because it brings out the natural flavours of dishes. In addition, lemons will provide your body with vitamin C, which studies have shown reduces the severity of allergic reactions, boosts immunity and fights infections [4].

  • Drizzle lemon juice over cooked veggies and use it in marinades and salad dressings.

5. Ginger

Ginger has a peppery, lemony and a slightly sweet taste with a sharp aroma which makes this spice a perfect substitute for salt. Apart from its culinary uses, ginger has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years [5].

  • You can either use freshly chopped ginger or ginger powder in stir-fries, curries, sauces, soups, beverages and baked meat or fish.

6. Rosemary

Rosemary is an aromatic herb with a pine-like taste. It is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help boost immunity, promote brain health and improve digestion [6].

  • Add fresh or dried rosemary to sauces, roasted vegetables or meat, soups and stews.

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7. Oregano

Oregano is another aromatic herb that can be used as a substitute for salt. This herb is widely used in Greek and Italian cooking. Oregano can be used either fresh or dried in various kinds of recipes.

  • Oregano adds a bright flavour to pizza, sauces, chicken and fish dishes. It can also be used as a marinade for meat or fish.

8. Turmeric

Turmeric is a commonly used spice that is known for its health-promoting compounds. It also can be used as an alternative to salt, because it intensifies the flavour of your meals.

  • Use a dash of turmeric in soups, stews, roasted veggies or meat, curries and eggs.

9. Dill

Dill has a lemony-sweet and slightly bitter flavour. It is low in calories and a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron and manganese.

  • Dill pairs well with potato salads, tomato-based salads, chicken and fish dishes.

10. Onion powder

Just like ginger and garlic, onion powder enhances the flavour of dishes when added. Furthermore, onion powder contains no salt, which makes it a great alternative to salt.

  • Use onion powder in stir-fries, stews, soups, sauces, dips, chicken or egg salads and mashed potatoes.

11. Coriander

Both coriander seeds and coriander leaves can be used as substitutes for salt. The coriander leaves have a distinct earthy and lemony flavour and the seeds have a warm, spicy, lemony flavour when crushed.

  • You can either add coriander leaves or ground coriander seeds to salads, soups, curries, fish and chicken dishes and salsas.

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12. Red pepper flakes

Red pepper flakes are made from dried hot peppers which can be used as a food seasoning instead of salt. Red pepper flakes add a distinct flavour to a dish without making it hot and spicy.

  • Add red pepper flakes in soups, pasta, marinades and pizza.

13. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a wonder spice loaded with medicinal properties. It has a warm, slightly sweet and peppery flavour. Cinnamon is versatile and can be used both in sweet and savoury dishes. When you are cooking lentils or curries, add a cinnamon stick to the dish to get most of the flavour.

  • Use cinnamon powder in soups, marinades, roasted chicken or veggies, pies, cakes and other sweet dishes.

14. Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is another great substitute for salt. It has a sharp tart and slightly sweet flavour that will bring out the natural flavours of a dish.

  • Balsamic vinegar works well in soups, stews, salad dressings and marinades for meat and fish.

15. Sage

Sage is another herb that works as a perfect alternative to salt. It has an earthy, slightly peppery taste with hints of mint, lemon and eucalyptus.

  • Sage works well is heavier dishes like risotto, bean dishes, pasta and gnocchi dishes.

There are other ingredients which can also be used as a salt substitute:

  • Coconut aminos
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Cumin
  • Cardamom

Common FAQs

Q. What can I use instead of salt for high blood pressure?

A. You can use a wide variety of herbs and spices such as ginger, garlic, black pepper, cinnamon, lemon juice, turmeric, onion powder, coriander, rosemary and oregano.

Q. What can replace salt in baking?

A. Cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg can be used instead of salt in baking.

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