It is always a pleasure to pick up and flick through the glossy pages of a pristine new cookbook, and even more pleasurable when you realise you have all or most of the ingredients on hand, and that the selection of recipes offered are straightforward, quick and extremely healthy. The No Salt Cookbook is full of enticing but uncomplicated recipes which are accompanied by gloriously appetising photographs of many of the prepared dishes.
A newcomer to the cookbook world, Emily George was diagnosed with debilitating Meniere’s Disease in 2011 and discovered that minimising her sodium intake benefited her health enormously. Emily investigated the health benefits of a Mediterranean influenced eating style which focused on the addition of herbs and fresh produce to bring flavour and health benefits to those who live and eat that way. The recipes had to be simple and quick to prepare to fit into her busy lifestyle as a mum with young children.
Divided into eight sections, the book includes little bites, entrees, soups, salads, mains, sides, sweets and an additional bonus of how to make low-sodium homemade stocks to enhance flavour and goodness in the meals. Relying on herbs, spices, garlic and chilli to add freshness and flavour, minimises the need for added salt. Emily also encourages label reading to ensure sodium is not added to cans or packet ingredients used. For example, the chickpea hummus that I whizzed up in my blender used salt-free chickpeas and the resulting dip was bursting with flavour and got plenty of positive comments. It was also quick and easy – a bonus as I hate spending hours in the kitchen
Having so much basil in my garden, I also whizzed up some Basil Pesto. Store bought can be loaded with salt. I loved this one, much tastier than the store bought one, not fiddly to make and I didn’t miss the addition of Parmesan cheese at all. I haven’t fully explored all of the recipes, but plan to do the Portuguese-style chicken soon and the Balsamic Beetroot and Ricotta Salad looks simple to prepare and delicious.
Emily George has created a hands-on, “let’s keep it real and practical” style of cookbook which will resonate will all who are trying to eat a healthier more plant-based diet. By encouraging the use of herbs to enhance flavour, the recipes have a cleaner, more authentic taste which makes eating a pleasure.
I would encourage anyone who is after a cookbook which promotes good health, the use of local fresh produce and has quick and easy recipes which are suitable both for home and family and also entertaining, to give this one a serious read through. It is one I will be dipping into frequently.
The No Salt Cookbook, by Emily George, is available from Dymocks.
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