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How to Season Your Food Without Using Salt

A few herbs and spices go a long way
How to Season Your Food Without Using Salt
Photo: Tasting Table

Salt is everything when it comes to cooking and baking—but it's not the only way to add flavor to a dish. There are many other ingredients you can use and that you likely already have in your pantry.

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The cooking method you use can also add flavor without any additional ingredients required, other than a little olive oil. By searing, sautéing, grilling or roasting vegetables or proteins properly, they develop a delicious taste naturally.

Whether you're looking to lighten your salt intake or just interested in exploring new ways to season your dishes, these five ideas will make you wonder why you ever used salt in the first place.

① Herbs

Fresh herbs, such as parsley, rosemary, cilantro and mint, are an easy way to add flavor to all types of proteins and vegetables. You can incorporate raw herbs into marinades or chop them up and use them as a final garnish. To make a flavorful marinade, like this easy chicken version, blend together your favorite herbs with a little olive oil and pour over whatever dish you are preparing. For an extra kick, try using an olive oil that's already infused with herbs

② Spices

You can completely change the flavor profile of a dish with the addition of spices. Incorporate them into a marinade or make a dry rub  to maximize the flavor. Whether you choose to use ground or whole spice, enhance the flavor even more by toasting them first. Check out these recipes for a kola nut spice rub and homemade ranch powder for inspiration.

③ Citrus

Different types of citrus can brighten up any marinade or dish. A squeeze of the tangy fruit over steak or salmon balances out the fattiness and provides a hint of freshness. And we're not just talking lemons: Step up your game with juice from grapefruit, orange, tangerine and lime. Try Ina Garten's recipe for skillet-roasted lemon chicken (without the salt) to get started.

④ Vinegar

For a burst of flavor, reach for vinegars like red wine, sherry, balsamic and apple cider. Vinegars can range from fruity to tangy, and some are lighter than others, so it's important to taste them before incorporating them into recipes. While dressings are one way to use the liquid, you can also make delicious vegetables by tossing them in vinegar before roasting them in the oven. 

⑤ Red Wine

Other than post-work stress relief, red wine is also great for marinades. The acidity helps tenderize meat while adding flavor at the same time. Pour yourself a glass then check out this red wine and garlic steak recipe

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