A salt-free braai? It’s possible!

It’s hard to believe, but we did a salt-free braai with Ultimate Braai Master Judge Bertus Basson, and he was really impressed with the flavour he achieved without salt. He didn’t think he could do it!

The traditional braai is a South African institution, where the great outdoors becomes your kitchen, your cooler box converts into the kitchen table and the fire replaces your stove. But salt, along with black pepper and your favourite marinade, is a vital item. Or is it?

It’s time to break the rules

With hypertension (high blood pressure) being the leading cause of heart disease and strokes in South Africa, the second biggest killers in our country, limiting the amount of salt you use is important, regardless of where you do your cooking. By using a variety of fresh ingredients, herbs and spices when you braai, you enhance the overall nutritional content of your meal, and you reduce the amount of salt and seasoning needed to enhance those natural flavours.

As a judge on the reality cooking show, The Ultimate Braai Master, Bertus has picked up some helpful tips for novice “braaiers” – using seasonings like caraway seeds, honey, lemon or lime juice, chillies, garlic, pepper, ginger and other spices, you can achieve full, fresh favour while limiting (or eliminating) salt.

Rather than using processed sausages, which are usually high in salt, enjoy unprocessed meats such as steak, chops or chicken, and create your own marinade using the fresh ingredients above.

Tasty and healthy snacks and sides

Instead of the usual braai companion – crisps – why not serve unsalted pretzels and raw, unsalted nuts for a starter. Strawberries or veggie sticks with baby tomatoes served with cottage cheese dip also make for delicious snacks that are lower in salt.

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Be sure to serve fresh salads at your braai – these are packed full of healthy nutrients. Make your own salad dressing with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper and fresh herbs, rather than using the store-bought options. Corn-on-the-cob basted with olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper and spices, wrapped in tin foil and cooked on the braai is a delicious accompaniment for the main meal.

Bon appetite!

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