Kick that salt shaker with fresh, delicious herbs and spices! by: Abigail McCleery, MPH, RD


Enjoy Great Flavor Without Salt!

Would you like to reduce the sodium in your diet without sacrificing flavor?  Seasoning with herbs and spices is a healthy way to enjoy great flavor with less sodium.  Ready to kick-up the flavor but not sure where to start?  Follow our simple tips and let your taste buds be your guide!

First things first; know the strength of herbs:

Strong or dominant flavors: bay, cardamom, curry, ginger, mustard, pepper (black), rosemary, and sage.  These should be used sparingly as their flavors really stand out.  Use approximately one teaspoon for six servings. 

Medium flavors:  basil, celery seed and leaves, cumin, dill, fennel, tarragon, garlic, marjoram, mint, oregano, savory, thyme, and turmeric.  A moderate amount of these herbs is recommended.  Try one to two teaspoons for six servings.

Delicate flavors:  chervil, chives, parsley, and burnet.  These herbs can be used in larger amounts and in combination with most other herbs and spices.

 Channel your inner-gourmet:

Looking to add more flavor at the table?  Making your own salt-free seasoning mixtures is easier than you think.  Here are some ideas to get you started:  (The recipes below use dried herbs.  If you use fresh herbs, more will be needed.)


Saltless Surprise:               Pungent Salt Substitute:        Spicy:

2 tsp. garlic powder                3 tsp. basil                          1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. basil                            2 tsp. savory                        2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. oregano                       2 tsp. ground cumin seed     1 Tbsp. rosemary

1 tsp. powdered lemon rind      2 tsp. celery seed                       

or dehydrated lemon juice         2 tsp. sage                                   

2 tsp. marjoram

1 tsp. lemon thyme

For all recipes above: mix ingredients well with a mortar and pestle or combine in a blender. 


So…what goes with what??

Beef: bay leaf, caraway seed, chives, cloves, cumin, garlic, hot pepper, marjoram, nutmeg, onion, pepper, rosemary.

Bread: caraway, marjoram, oregano, poppy seed, rosemary, thyme.

Fish: chervil, dill, fennel, tarragon, garlic, parsley, thyme.

Fruit: anise, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, ginger, mint.

Lamb: basil, curry, garlic, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, thyme.

Pork: cloves, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, hot pepper, oregano, pepper, sage, savory, thyme.

Poultry: garlic, oregano, parsley, paprika, rosemary, savory, sage, thyme.

Soup:  bay leaf, chervil, tarragon, marjoram, parsley, savory, rosemary.

Vegetables: basil, chervil, chives, dill, tarragon, marjoram, mint, parsley, pepper, thyme.

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