If you’re on a salt-restricted diet, it isn’t easy to find foods you can eat at the typical summertime or tailgate cookout. Bratwurst (my personal favorite), potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans and chips — all cookout staples — are notorious for busting any low-sodium diet. In fact, if you enjoyed a single brat, and even a small serving (1/4 cup of the salads and 1 ounce of the chips) you’d take in 1,400 mg of sodium — nearly a day’s limit.
Dietary guidelines recommend no more than 2,000 mg of sodium each day to help control high blood pressure, a problem plaguing about a third of all Americans.
But with a little effort and low-sodium ingredients, you can solve this special diet challenge.
Here is a great slow-cooker recipe for lower-sodium baked beans. It has more than 500 mg less sodium than one of the most popular canned brands of baked beans.
In a hurry? Mix the ingredients in a soup pot and simmer over medium-low heat on the stovetop for at least 15 minutes. (But remember: The longer beans cook, the softer and more flavorful they become.)
Lower-Sodium Baked Beans
2 cans of no-salt pinto beans
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 single-serving cans low sodium V8 tomato juice, plain or spicy
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon or spicy mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
In a nonstick pan, sauté the onions and garlic in a bit of oil until onions are transparent. Set aside.
Drain and rinse beans, then pour into a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.
In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, V8, mustard, liquid smoke, onions and garlic. Pour over beans and mix well.
Cover the slow cooker and cook beans on low for 3-5 hours, stirring every hour or so.
Continue cooking until beans reach the desired consistency and sauce is thickened.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per ½-cup serving): 175 calories, 6 g protein, 1 g fat, 38 g carbohydrates, 40 mg sodium, 20 g sugars.