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Using Spices Instead of Salt – What We Ate This Week

using spices instead of salt

Using Spices Instead of Salt – What We Ate This Week

Using spices instead of salt has been a mission of mine since we came back from hospital with the list of ‘forbidden foods’ which, of course, featured salt. I know we need some salt in our diet, otherwise, we will die, but to go from liberally adding salt to everything when cooking to not using it at all was a challenge.

Well, not using salt was the easy bit, making food taste good was the challenge. I have always been rubbish at cooking with spices, either adding too much and making the food inedible or adding too little and not tasting any difference at all.

I would feel daunted by a recipe with a long list of spices, so dismissed many a dish because it looked ‘too complicated’ I also associated spices with heat which put me off most ‘spicy dishes.’ I realise I have been missing out on a lot of great food!

I like the idea of spices, they are exotic and bright and beautiful and I have always had them at home. I love to look at them in jars on my shelf, but I hardly ever used them in cooking unless it was a special occasion like a Friday night curry or cinnamon biscuits at Christmas. I do know that no kitchen is complete without spices and strangely back in March I spent ages making labels for all my spice jars (maybe I sensed I would be needing them soon..?)

Star Anise & Cinnamon
Star Anise & Cinnamon
Cumin & Cinnamon
Cumin & Cinnamon
Spices in jars with labels
Spices in jars with labels

I first began using spices instead of salt in my spicy roast chicken recipe and huevos rancheros with mixed results at first but now three months on, I am getting much better. When family came to stay (and this will be a whole other blog post!!) I was told my food was either bland and boring or responsible for ‘Gandhi’s Revenge’ or maybe it was the beans?  Either way, I really struggled that week to please everybody with healthy food that tasted good.

But, I stuck with it and am happy to report that as well as my (not hot) huevos rancheros and spicy chicken, I make delicious spicy sweet potatoes, my lentil chilli is more or less as we like it and I’ve even ventured into adding a sprinkling of zingy sumac to liven up salads and rice, shame it reminds me of a certain British politician…

Here is a roundup of what we ate this week and below you can check out my favourite spices so far.


  • Breakfast – Overnight oats with fruit, hazelnuts, and honey
  • Lunch –  Apple and walnut salad
  • Dinner – Leftover spicy roast chicken with salad & beans


  • Breakfast – Overnight oats with nectarine and nuts
  • Lunch – Tomatoes on toast
  • Dinner – Leftover spaghetti bolognese


  • Breakfast – Overnight oats with black cherries and plums
  • Lunch –Leftover bolognese
  • Dinner – Spicy green veggies with rice


  • Breakfast – Overnight oats with nectarine and honey
  • Lunch – A Not Boring Salad of black beans, rice, chickpeas, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber & sweet corn *with a sprinkling of sumac!
  • Dinner – Chicken Fajitas (joy of joys!)


  • Breakfast –  Overnight oats with plums and nuts
  • Lunch – Chickpea salad with tomatoes and cucumber
  • Dinner – Posh beans on toast with leftover broccoli        


  • Breakfast – Overnight oats with plums and honey
  • Lunch – Another Not Boring Salad of black beans, rice, chickpeas, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber & sweet corn
  • Dinner – The last of the Not Boring Salad with bread


  • Breakfast – Overnight oats with cranberries and nectarine
  • Lunch – Pan con tomate (bread and tomatoes with olive oil and black pepper)
  • Dinner –  Spicy chicken with salad, mixed beans, and spicy sweet potatoes

Things to note

I am still practicing using spices instead of salt and here are my favourite spices that I use pretty much most days (to no ill effect, I might add!):

  • Garam Masala
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin
  • Chilli
  • Paprika
  • Sumac
  • Fennel seeds

Wholegrain rice is tricky to cook, it comes out a bit stodgy (maybe that’s just me…?)

It’s been a pretty consistent week of fucked up porridge for breakfast!

The nut lady was not at the market this week, which meant we’d run out of nuts by Friday, also no flapjack this week and I noticed that I really missed the hazelnuts with oats for breakfast. On a positive note, the spice man was at our weekly market so I bought the fajita mix and more chia seeds.

Desserts have been yoghurt and fruit for Nico and Mac and a couple of squares of dark chocolate after dinner for me.

And finally, don’t soak your black beans with anything else, otherwise, your chickpeas turn grey and your white beans turn blue!

Have a fabulously spicy week everyone!

1800 1200 Gayle

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what we ate this week