Cooking can sure be a pain if you’re watching your salt intake. How many recipes are there that don’t contain the stuff? You can certainly opt for a commercial salt substitute, but they tend to have weird aftertastes and aren’t healthy for everyone.
Using plenty of herbs and spices is a common way many people get around adding salt. And that can be a great way to flavor food. But it doesn’t always help with one of the most important reasons salt is so common in cooking: drawing out the flavor of other ingredients in a dish.
That’s where lemon comes in. Sour flavors, like lemon, have much more in common with salty flavors than any of the other main types of flavor — sweet, bitter and umami. Also like salt, sour flavors make your mouth water more, which helps your taste buds in, well, tasting. Sure, there are plenty of other sour flavors that will help in the same way, but lemon juice has the benefit of being so darn consistent.
Skip the salt shaker, and finish your dishes with a little lemon juice. Squeeze some on roasted vegetables, add a little to your pasta sauces or nearly-done soups, make salad dressings with the juice and add a little to rice dishes.