Making Bland Food More Flavorful

Wtn_Gurl
Wtn_Gurl Posts: 396 Member
So I am eating low sodium, watching my sugars, and calories. Now, I cook vegetables, chicken veg soup, etc. and trying to infuse better flavor (like the way restaurants taste however, they prolly add in more salt and sugars). So, I made some crab soup made with low sodium canned tomatos, and it came out kinda bland. I used onions, garlic, for flavor, but it still tasted bland.

So what do you do to add more flavors into your food without using sugars and salt. I have some no-salt Mrs Dash but it does not really add flavor.
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Replies

  • gamerbabe14
    gamerbabe14 Posts: 876 Member
    Fresh herbs!
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    I agree with fresh herbs. Or dried herbs and peppers. I like Mrs. Dash but I'm not fond of the generic one (table blend, I think?). But the garlic & herb, onion & herb and jalapeno & herb all get frequent use at our house. Other brands of no salt seasoning blends are also good. McCormick and Kroger have some good ones.

    Also, if you need to reduce salt and miss it you might try potassium chloride which is a common salt substitute.
  • xvolution
    xvolution Posts: 721 Member
    I would avoid salt substitutes, as they taste nothing like salt (the ones I've tried had a bit of a metallic, bland flavor). I do recommend fresh herbs and Ms. Dash as well, though it's the lemon pepper blend that gets the most use here (it's the most flavorful one to me, giving a nice citrus bite to what it's added to).
  • BaddS4
    BaddS4 Posts: 302 Member
    I use fresh herbs and chili peppers for more flavor... Seems to work..
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,577 Member
    Citrus zest and/or juice can add a lot of flavor. I love to zest some lemon on my vegetables.

    Oh yes! Also this ^

    Flavored vinegars can also add flavor. Balsamic is delicious on roasted vegetables.
  • Avocado_Angel
    Avocado_Angel Posts: 2,362 Member
    edited August 2017
    Garlic salt, chopped garlic is good with just about everything.
  • mjbnj0001
    mjbnj0001 Posts: 994 Member
    Lots of good advice here ... fresh herbs, or *good* dried herbs allowed to re-hydrate and re-invigorate, spices, vinegars, and especially citrus juice and zest. Fresh, ripe veggies and fruits are great.

    But mostly, you will find you tastebuds will change after a while as you wind down from a lot of added sugar and salt and the natural tastes of the foods will become sharper. One thing, during this transition, I found that employing prep methods that made a melange (mix) or mush of flavors tended to flatten the taste. Contrast worked better for me.

    I'm in the US, and only buy no-salt added canned tomato products. I find Hunts to be good. Also, Kitchen Basics no-salt-added stock. I can control the seasoning level this way. We find we can keep to around 1500 mg/day added sodium average and maintain good flavor.
  • SomebodyWakeUpHIcks
    SomebodyWakeUpHIcks Posts: 3,836 Member
    @abetterme9366 had some great ideas that she shared with me. It really helped.
  • lawled22
    lawled22 Posts: 6 Member
    Flavor God has some good low-sodium spices
    Balsamic vinegar is my go-to for lots of flavour and not much sodium and a little bit goes a long way
    Sesame oil and fresh ginger are good flavours for stirfrys
  • DKG28
    DKG28 Posts: 299 Member
    it's night and day difference if you brown or caramelize onions before adding them to a recipe, or toast garlic. Yes, you need a little butter or oil to do this, but not as much as most recipes call for. I use a very modest amount. Worth it for the overall flavor profile! Also - roasting veggies brings out their sweetness. tastes completely different than steaming or boiling. You do need to use some fats in cooking to get the mouthfeel and rich flavor. You can also steam veggies and put herbs in the water used for steaming, or use broth to cook veggies.
  • Crafty_camper123
    Crafty_camper123 Posts: 1,440 Member
    I use garlic and onion powder generously, in almost everything I cook. As for herbs, if you are using dried add way more then you normally would. I love Italian herb seasonings. Crushed red pepper, and ground chipotle peppers also add a lot of great flavors. Lemon juice, lime juice and balsamic vinegar are some other good ways to increace your flavor profile as others have mentioned.
  • savithny
    savithny Posts: 1,205 Member
    I have a cupboard full of spices and herbs and I use them all the time in everything.
    And yeah, I salt things in moderation.

    I also extract flavors into fat: don't just throw onions in a soup, sautee them in some olive oil first. Same with garlic. Many flavor compounds are fat-soluble, meaning that if you cook spices and herbs with fat you'll release more complex flavors. For even more fun, a little bit of alcohol will also extract flavors that you might not get otherwise.

  • toxikon
    toxikon Posts: 2,384 Member
    DKG28 wrote: »
    it's night and day difference if you brown or caramelize onions before adding them to a recipe, or toast garlic. Yes, you need a little butter or oil to do this, but not as much as most recipes call for. I use a very modest amount. Worth it for the overall flavor profile! Also - roasting veggies brings out their sweetness. tastes completely different than steaming or boiling. You do need to use some fats in cooking to get the mouthfeel and rich flavor. You can also steam veggies and put herbs in the water used for steaming, or use broth to cook veggies.

    Excellent point - caramalization and roasting goes a really long way for flavour! I love roasting my garlic before adding it to my recipes. Gives it a nice sweet, buttery flavour.
  • OnthatStuff
    OnthatStuff Posts: 141 Member
    edited August 2017
    I suggest that you put some respek on it.
  • _inHisGrace
    _inHisGrace Posts: 183 Member
    For crab or most seafood restaurants use old bay. Not sure what's in it.

    I'm not sure if you are using powered onion and garlic but if you use fresh or even roasted as mentioned above, it is way more flavorful.
  • cbailey989
    cbailey989 Posts: 13 Member
    lemon/or citrus, balsamic vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, fresh ground pepper tastes better than store bought ground in my opinion.