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Healthy Cooking: How to Cook Without Fat and Salt and Make it Delicious

Updated on October 5, 2010
Use a large skillet with a Lid
Use a large skillet with a Lid

Use the Right Pan

For cooking without fat and salt, you need the right pan.  A large non-stick skillet with a glass cover is perfect for this purpose.   It should be deep and hold at least 6 quarts.  A pan like this will make all the difference in the world.  You will be able to cook for 4 people or more and most of the meal will be cooked right in this pan.

The secret here is to cook at low temperatures, longer cooking times, using the natural moisture in the foods as a steaming method.  Foods that you wish to brown and cook for less time can also be done, it is just a matter of timing.   Meat may take longer to cook than vegetables.  Onions and garlic may be used to season and provide base for cooking other items because they release their moisture easily.

Some People Want to Reduce Salt and Fat Intake

The two reasons that I want to lower my salt and fat consumption are: 1. The doctor has ordered it due to high blood pressure and overweight. 2. I want to control my blood pressure, edema, and weight.

Salt is a flavor enhancer but it contains sodium which is not good for you in large amounts. But salt is necessary for life functions of the body and should be consumed in recommended daily amounts.

The problem is, that most foods contain salt, and there is no reason to add salt to your food except that salty foods may taste better. How can you make food taste better without adding salt?

Although there are many functions of the body that require fat, the type of fat and the amount of fat are big concerns. The fat from meats is not good for you in large amounts. Some is ok and the type of fat consumed has various benefits. For example, the fats found in oatmeal are extremely beneficial to you and you should eat some of these every day. Fats contained in meats are not as healthy and should be reduced whenever possible. Trim fat from steak and roast, but add olive oil to salads and for cooking if you choose because it has some benefits in being consumed in small quantities.

Calories from fat are high. A small portion of meat fat will have a lot of calories. The calorie content from lean meats can be fairly low and so on a calorie restricted diet, a larger portion is ok because it has lower fat content and lower calories.

Compare ground beef to chicken breast:

Lean ground beef 4 oz 80% lean: 280

Chicken breast 4 oz boneless skinless: 110

So if you choose carefully, you can increase your portions and decrease your calories at the same time.

Fat and Salt are Tasty but Substitute with Herbs and Spices

Flavor and taste are important in eating. You don't have to sacrifice flavor and taste in cooking without salt and oil. You do have to change some things.

Please check out MrsDash. This brand has lots of varieties and you should try several, I like the Table Blend that can be used like table salt, and Southwest Chilpote, Original Blend is a very good one as well. These salt-free blends are wonderful.

Now before you pooh pooh the idea, read on. One of my favorite ways to add flavor to a dish is to use hot sauce. Now mind you, I am not a fan of hot. If you add just a couple of drops to a bowl full of food, you will be barely able to discern the heat, yet you will be amazed at the difference in the taste. My favorites are green jalapeno, red Cock Sauce, and any kind of Chipolte. These used in moderation tend to change the flavor and taste completely of your foods.

Another great item to use as a flavor enhancer is Basalmic Vinegar.  Use it sparingly and try it on a lot of different things.   You will be surprised at how many things it works in.

You may use any and all of your favorite herbs to flavor with, some popular and tasty ones that you are no doubt familiar with are:

  • garlic greens
  • garlic
  • greenonion/shallots
  • chives
  • parsley
  • mushrooms
  • Be sure to add anything to the list that you commonly use.

Rice, chicken, veggie, egg.
Rice, chicken, veggie, egg.

Ingredients for Low Fat Low Salt Vegetable Rice Dish

Ingredients for Low Fat Low Salt Vegetable Rice Dish

  • Brown Rice 2 Cups Cooked
  • Savory Herbs:
  • 2 Yellow or White Onions Coarsly Chopped
  • Green Garlic Tops or green onions or chives
  • Mushrooms About 1 cup sliced
  • Add other herbs to taste.  (parsley, fresh basil, or whatever you like)
  • 8 Ounce Chicken Breast 1/2 inch or larger cubes
  • Stir Fry Vegetables Cooked and Drained: You are not going to fry these, you are just going to heat them and cook slightly. Frozen are quick and easy, I like the ones that have red and yellow pepper, green beans, asparagus, carrots, broccoli, mushroom, etc. I like to cook them in the microwave, because they come out perfect.

Hot Sauce
Hot Sauce
Siracha "Cock"  Sauce  Commonly called cock sauce due to Graphic
Siracha "Cock" Sauce Commonly called cock sauce due to Graphic
Green Sauce
Green Sauce

Low Salt and Oil Recipe for a Delicious Meal

Prepare Brown Rice in a rice cooker about 40 minutes before serving.

In a large skillet, Place two onions chopped. Add any savory ingredients at this time,cook covered on medium low heat for 30 minutes. This will soften the ingredients and will make several tablespoons of liquid. If this dries up, add a tablespoon of water at a time to keep the mixture moist.

Cut chicken breast into 1/2 inch cubes. Add to the onion mixture at the 30 minute mark. Cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Taste for flavor. Add a few drops of chipolte hot sauce and taste again. Add a couple of drops of chipolte hot sauce until the desired flavor is achieved.

Add mixed vegetables, My favorites are frozen mixed vegetables for stir fry.  You may precook them in the microwave for 5 or 6 minutes and then add them to the mixture, or add them to the mixture and simmer until the vegetables are done.   It is important to not overcook the vegetables, if the vegetables are overcooked, the dish is unappetizing. 

Serve by spooning a large portion of chicken vegetable mix over the rice.  About a 3/4 cup serving of rice, less or more is ok, and topped with 1  or  2 cups of vegetables. 

This makes a great hearty low salt, no fat added, meal.  

This recipe without the chicken makes a great vegetarian menal. 

Versatile Recipe

Use the recipe to adapt to other cooking situations:

Start with the same plan and substitute lean pork for the chicken. Or lean beef, or turkey.

Choose completely different vegetable mixes.

Season with different seasonings this would probably be good with a curry or teriyaki sauce. There is teriyaki with very low sodium, you must search but you can find it.

Chiplote seasoning would be good with a grilled carne asada served with hot tortillas.

Mix the rice into the dish.

Add scrambled eggs to the dish.


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great healthy cooking tips, Steve. I've been used Mrs. Dash salt in place of salt these days. Voted up for useful!

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      @quuenieproac Thanks for stopping by, I need to use balsamic vinegar more, I love it and you are right, it makes a good seasoning.

    • quuenieproac profile image


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      You are so practical, good tips, use chilli, balsamic vinegar . Thanks for the info.

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Dana it does. Thanks.

    • danatheteacher profile image

      Dana Rock 

      8 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I bet your food tastes real good Steve!

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Thanks dawnM, I appreciate your reading.....and I will try some lemon to see if I like it. Also, balsamic vinegar is a great flavor enhancer. I need to do more on this.

    • dawnM profile image

      Dawn Michael 

      8 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

      Loved it, great suggestions, I cook all the time and I use lemon believe it or not to enhance the flavor, but it's great to have other options too. great hub steve!!!

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      dtn2885 Still a funny guy...young no doubt from your complete lack of conern over what people think. Thanks for not reading my hub. Maybe I can come and not read one or yours sometime. LOL

    • dtn2885 profile image


      8 years ago from San Fernando Swap Meet

      I didn't read your hub, but looking at the pictures made me hungry. brb going out to get In N Out.

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      katiem2 Thanks for the is amazing how good stuff tastes cooked slow and using herbs. The natural flavors come out and you start appreciating that.

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      8 years ago from Westerville

      Oh so true about the pan. Love these great tips on how to cook without fat and salt and make it delicious. Love it! Now Hungry! :)

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Welcome to hubpages wordsscriber The pan is essential, slow cooking makes the flavors come out. Timing is essential to not over cook some things.

      Thanks for the comment,

    • wordsscriber profile image


      8 years ago from California

      I tend to have better success when I cook on a lower heat with some foods. I agree that you do need the right pan.

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Feline I know what you mean. It is a lot like fat, fat free stuff tastes bland and watery at first. Then you get used to it and even low fat foods seem fatty and gross. The salt thing though is pretty amazing, there is plenty of salt found naturally in foods.

      Thanks for reading my hub.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      8 years ago

      I've been trying to cut down on salt for a long time and realise that once you get used to eating less or no salt, even a smidgen extra in your food can have you gagging!

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Samiaali thanks for reading again, I appreciate it and the comments. Really, you can do it....this works great and I am enjoying more healthy meals.

    • samiaali profile image


      8 years ago

      These are GREAT tips for cutting down on salt. They are great examples of how we can make food flavorful without depending on a boat-load of salt. Thanks SteveoMc.

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Tkumah, thanks for the comment....and the encouragement. I appreciate it.

    • Tkumah profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a delicious cooking. Most foods that are not meat base can be flavoured with hot spices and it is magic.

      It actually accent the flavour and aroma of vegetables.

      You nailed it in your hub.

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Nellieanna I know what you mean. Eliminate the fat and salt and after a couple of weeks you start to taste differently. It is amazing how you get used to the lower fat foods, etc. We have been using fat free milk for the past 5 months and at first i thought it was awful and watery, now I think it is just fine. 2% seems fatty tasting and very creamy. So you need to work at it and then you get used to it.

      We are all agreed on the flavors in fresh ingredients.

      Thanks for the comment and for reading.

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Kiwi the pan makes all the difference in the world....and remember to cook low and slow....nothing in the world will stick to that pan. Thanks for reading and for reading.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Steve - it's surprising how tasty FOOD is, itself, when we get used to having it unbrined & au natural. Seriously - salt does mask the food's more subtle flavors and makes things taste somewhat all alike - salty!

      As drbj said, onion and garlic are wonderful additions to foods. And using the real things is best, - there are no hidden ingredients and the fresh versions are high in health benefits too, such as anti-oxidants and they help prevent some major diseases. And nothing mousy about the flavors, either.

    • kiwi91 profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I've tried to almost completely eliminate butter from my diet, though it's hard when you come from a family of butter lovers (6 sticks of butter in a pan of apple crisp - I'd call that a butter love fest). The cooking pan does make a difference too, so you won't have to add more oil to keep the food from sticking. Thanks for the suggestions!

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      drbj Thanks for the come all that stuff is so good? Wouldn't be a lot easier if msg and salt and fat were nasty tasting? I will check your hub. And, once again thanks for visiting my hub.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Onions and garlic are my favorite additions to "spice up" foods without using salt. Thanks for all the interesting info, Steve. One caution though. Check out the ingredients in the flavor enhancers for MSG which is often hidden under another name. See my hub "MSG and Fat Rats and Us."

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Nellieanna, thanks for your supportive comments as usual. Hopefully, someone can benefit from my experiences.

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Thanks for dropping by breakfastpop! I appreciate it.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      I'm glad you're taking care of your diet, Steve. Not only is it good for a person to limit salt and fat after a problem has developed, but it can help prevent the problems from developing, for those reading here and thinking they don't need to be careful of diet because the doctor hasn't diagnosed a problem.

      I would only add that, in addition to cutting back on the kinds & amounts of harmful foods & additives, improving the overall quality of the diet by increasing the percentage of fresh fruits & veggies in it will do even more to increase your long and healthy life!

    • breakfastpop profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the advice.

    • SteveoMc profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      sanjeeta kk Thanks for the comment and for reading, I think it actually can be good for anyone but as you point out especially those with blood pressure and heart ailment.

    • Edweirdo profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Great tips, Steve!

      I am addicted to Sriracha sauce!! I know it by its "less-rude" name - Rooster sauce - and it's great on everything: pizza, chicken, rice and almost everything else ;)

      And Mrs Dash is great! Next time you make a roast, try rubbing the meat with Mrs Dash instead of salt and pepper - terrific! I use it because it's tasty - the low sodium aspect is just a nice side effect, IMHO

      Great hub :D

    • sanjeeta kk profile image

      sanjeeta kk 

      8 years ago from India

      Very informative read. Good for those suffering from blood pressure and heart ailment.


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