Category Archives: Low-Sodium

Nacho Salad

Nacho salads make a great and flexible quick meal that you can make based on what you have lying around unused in the refrigerator. This is one of our standby meals for when we have an extra avocado and not much time to spend on dinner. Makes 2 servings.

1 can vegan chili
2 -3 cups lettuce (not spinach*)
20 tortilla chips
10 cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
1/2 cup Mango Guacamole recipe
2 tablespoons vegan sour cream
2 tablespoons salsa

Heat the chili in a pan on the stove or in the microwave.

Get 2 salad bowls. Split the lettuce between the two bowls. Layer 10 tortilla chips on top of the lettuce in each bowl. Pour half of the chili (more or less to taste) over the chips. Add cherry tomatoes. Top with a dollop of salsa, guacamole and sour cream.


  • Add a handful of grilled vegetables or grilled tofu.
  • Add some hominy.
  • Replace the chili with refried beans or black beans
  • Use sliced avocado, instead of guacamole.
  • For a low-sodium version, you could use black beans instead of chili and go light on the salsa and sour cream.
  • Can be easily made gluten-free.

* Note: I avoid using spinach in this recipe. When you pour the chili on the salad, the spinach starts to cook and you end up with slightly slimy spinach instead of a crisp salad. Romaine is a good choice, but most lettuce will work just fine.

More information for Nacho Salad recipe:

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 5 min
  • Total time: 10 min

Mango Guacamole

Serve with tortilla chips and salsa or as a topping for many salads. I even use it in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches, and it’s great on BLTs. This makes a great side dish for parties or as an appetizer or snack. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

2 avocados
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped mango
1/2 lime (squeezed for lime juice)
cayenne pepper and salt to taste
4 sprigs of fresh cilantro (chopped)

Scoop the avocados out of the shells, but save the pits. Lightly mash with a fork in a small mixing bowl. Add onion, mango, salt, pepper and lime. Stir to combine. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.

If you are keeping the guacamole for a while, throw the pits on top of the guacamole to slow the browning process.


  • Omit the mango for a more traditional guacamole.
  • Add some extra cilantro just for fun.
  • Someone here in this house likes to replace the onion with garlic, but the garlic always seems a little overpowering to me.
  • Can be easily made low-sodium and gluten-free.

More information for Mango Guacamole recipe:

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Total time: 10 min

Pasta Marinara

This is great served with garlic bread or bruchetta. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

1 pound pasta (cooked according to package directions)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cups chopped vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini)
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add vegetables. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add a small amount of water of vegetable broth if they get too dry.

Add crushed tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over pasta.


  • Experiment with different combinations of vegetables.
  • Used grilled vegetables and skip the step where you sauté the vegetables.
  • A can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes instead of regular crushed tomatoes is a great substitution.
  • Throw in a handful of sundried tomatoes.
  • Use fresh roma tomatoes or a can of low salt tomatoes for the low-sodium version.
  • Serve over gluten-free pasta or another grain for a gluten-free meal.

More information for Pasta Marinara recipe:

  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 30 min
  • Total time: 50 min

Portland Fig and Hazelnut Salad

This is a great late summer salad in Portland when the many fig trees spread throughout the city are covered in figs. Serves 2 as a main salad or 4 as a small side salad.

4 cups baby lettuce mix
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup hazelnuts
6 figs
balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste.

Toss the lettuce and carrots to combine.

Slice the figs and arrange on the salad.

Lightly crush or chop the hazelnuts and sprinkle on top of the salad.

Serve with a good quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar that people can drizzle on their salad to taste.


  • Use black figs if you can find them to add a nice color contrast.
  • Experiment with different vegetables in place of or with the carrots.
  • Portland is known for our abundant fig and hazelnut trees, but you can use almost any other fruit and nut combinations. Apple or pear and walnut, would be a good choice, too.
  • Naturally low-sodium and gluten-free.

More information for Portland Fig and Hazelnut Salad recipe:

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Total time: 10 min