This Is Why You Should Substitute Oregano For Salt In Savory Dishes

Sometimes all you need to take the flavors in your dish up a notch is a pinch of salt. Whether you're making breakfast, lunch, or dinner, if your food tastes bland, the first thing you reach for is most likely salt. Too much salt, however, is never a good thing. Not only can it ruin an entire meal, consuming excessive amounts of salt puts you at risk for strokes and heart attacks, especially if you already have high blood pressure, per the Cleveland Clinic.

Giving up salt entirely may sound like the obvious solution, but fortunately, you don't always have to sacrifice good food for health. As it turns out, oregano is a great alternative for salt. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension (via TIME), oregano and salt satisfy the same type of craving — both in those with normal blood pressure levels and those with high blood pressure.

Researchers have also performed the experiment by substituting salt with onions, garlic, and rosemary, but none had the same effect as oregano (via Natural Cures).

When should you substitute oregano for salt?

Salted caramel tastes good, and so does sprinkling salt over chocolate chip cookies, but if your main goal is to cut back on the salt in your diet, substituting oregano for savory foods is the safest option. According to the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, the best time to substitute oregano for salt is when cooking Italian food, making bread from scratch, adding it to salad dressing, or using it to marinate chicken and lamb.

If, however, you're planning to experiment with new flavors, oregano can actually work in some desserts. Let's not forget, we add spices like nutmeg and cloves to sweets all the time. Epicurious suggests sticking to desserts high in fat, such as ice cream, or simple recipes such as shortbread cookies, that are more of a blank canvas. Combining it with sugar to make a spiced mixture similar to cinnamon sugar also works. It might not always be a 1-to-1 substitute, but at least you know if you don't have any salt on hand, oregano can be a great, if perhaps offbeat, alternative.