VEGETARIAN JOURNAL



Vegetarian Journal 2005 Issue 4

One-Week Low-Sodium Vegan Menu

Prepared by Mark Rifkin, VRG Dietetic Intern

Given the overwhelming evidence that high sodium intake is linked to high blood pressure, many authorities are redoubling their efforts to reduce America’s daily sodium intake, which currently averages 4,300 milligrams for men and 2,900 milligrams for women.1 In fact, the new Dietary Guidelines, issued in January 2005, decreased the recommended intake for children and adults younger than middle-aged to 2,300 milligrams (a slight drop). More importantly, for the first time, the responsible agencies issued a specific, lower recommendation of no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium for those with high blood pressure (hypertension), African-Americans, and adults who are middle-aged or older. African-Americans and middle-aged and older Americans may be more salt-sensitive and at higher risk for high blood pressure.2

Vegetarians may be lured by the convenience of packaged and processed foods and may find it challenging to embark on a low-sodium eating plan. Thus, we have designed a low-sodium menu for vegetarians with an average sodium content of 1,500 milligrams or less. Be advised that this menu plan is a guide to low-sodium eating and is intended to provide an idea of what a low-sodium diet can look like. It may not meet the nutritional needs of every reader. Adjustments for your tastes and preferences, as well as additions of condiments, beverages, etc., may change the sodium content listed.

If you are not vegan and wish to become one, this meal plan may support such a change. You can read the vegan nutrition section on The VRG website, www.vrg.org/nutrition/, and consult a registered dietitian or other qualified nutrition professional, if necessary.

Since food labels can change, label reading is still necessary. It is best not to presume that your favorite low-sodium food item has the same sodium content as it did a year ago.

Salt Equivalents


Terms on labels follow rules established by the Federal Food and Drug Administration:

Although cooking dried beans will provide less sodium at less cost, canned beans offer convenience. If you buy canned beans, we recommend buying low-sodium varieties, such as those from Westbrae, Eden, ShariAnn’s, or Whole Foods’ “365” brand, all of which contain no more than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving. Rinsing well is also recommended to remove a significant portion of the salt (as well as the compounds that cause flatulence). The exact amount of sodium remaining may be hard to determine; therefore, we analyzed the sodium content of each meal based on the nutrition label (unrinsed). If you want to use cooked dried beans instead of canned, assume each reference to a can of beans is equivalent to about 1-2/3 to 1-3/4 cups of cooked beans. Be sure to drain both canned or dried beans.

The sodium content in each recipe using plain beans is based on an assumption of 140 milligrams of sodium per serving, the highest content in any of the brands of canned beans listed. Using a brand with less sodium (or cooked dried beans) can only reduce the already low sodium content shown. The refried bean recipes use Eden’s chili beans (not technically refried), although ShariAnn’s also offers refried beans.

The approximate sodium content for each meal is listed in milligrams. Total sodium content for each day is listed to the right, and the average of all seven days is at the bottom of the column. Additionally, average sodium contents for the week’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner are specified at the bottom. Average sodium content in the snacks is not listed but is reflected in the average of all totals for all seven days. Other points to note:

Sources:

References

  1. www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/report/HTML/D7_Fluid.htm
  2. www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/pdf/Chapter8.pdf

Special thanks to those individuals who provided their own unique tips on low-sodium eating.


DAY BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER SNACK
SUN Sodium:
250 mg
Sodium:
866 mg
  • Stuffed Peppers
  • Steamed carrots
  • Mixed garden salad with raspberry vinaigrette
Sodium:
570 mg
  • Grilled plantain
Sodium:
8 mg

DAILY TOTAL
Sodium:
1,694 mg

MON
  • Hot Kashi pilaf cereal with banana slices and pecans
  • 1 slice whole grain toast
  • Trans fat-free margarine
  • Ca-fortified orange juice
Sodium:
255 mg
Sodium:
710 mg
Sodium:
540 mg
  • Banana
Sodium:
1 mg

DAILY TOTAL
Sodium:
1,506 mg

TUES
  • Nature's Path Flax Plus ready-to-eat cereal
  • ˝ cup Ca-fortified soymilk
  • ˝ whole grain English muffin
  • Trans fat-free margarine
  • Grapefruit
Sodium:
600 mg
  • Pinto Bean Salad on whole wheat pita with romaine and tomato
  • Carrot sticks
  • 1 cup red grapes
Sodium:
500 mg
Sodium:
227 mg
  • 1 cup dried fruit and nut mix
Sodium:
3 mg

DAILY TOTAL
Sodium:
1,330 mg

WED
  • Regular oatmeal with apples, walnuts, cinnamon
  • 1 slice whole wheat toast
  • Trans fat-free margarine
  • ˝ cup Ca-fortified soymilk
  • 1 cup cubed watermelon
Sodium:
300 mg
Sodium:
500 mg
Sodium:
670 mg
  • 1 cup mango slices
Sodium:
4 mg

DAILY TOTAL
Sodium:
1,474 mg

THURS
  • Almond butter and jelly on whole grain bagel
  • 1 cup fruit salad
  • ˝ cup Ca-fortified soymilk
Sodium:
800 mg
Sodium:
419 mg
  • Vegetable stir-fry with Lightlife flax tempeh and Mr. Spice curry sauce
  • Barley (boiled, no salt added)
  • 1 cup pineapple cubes
Sodium:
65 mg
Sodium:
172 mg

DAILY TOTAL
Sodium:
1,456 mg

FRI
  • Nature's Path 8 Grain Flakes ready-to-eat cereal
  • ˝ cup Ca-fortified soymilk
  • ˝ whole grain English muffin
  • Trans fat-free margarine
  • Ca-fortified orange juice
Sodium:
410 mg
  • Chickpea Salad on whole wheat with romaine and tomato
  • Carrot sticks
  • 1 cup red grapes
Sodium:
485 mg
  • Roasted vegetables over pasta with Morningstar Burger Crumbles and Muir Glen Italian Herb Pasta Sauce
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
Sodium:
557 mg
  • 1 cup cubed cantaloupe
Sodium:
16 mg

DAILY TOTAL
Sodium:
1,468mg

SAT
  • Hash brown potatoes with Lightlife GimmeLean sausage, onions, and peppers
  • Grapefruit
  • ˝ cup Ca-fortified soymilk
Sodium:
450 mg
Sodium:
615 mg
Sodium:
367 mg
  • Soy Delicious soy ice cream
Sodium:
85 mg

DAILY TOTAL
Sodium:
1517 mg

  Breakfast avg:
438 mg
Lunch avg:
585 mg
Dinner avg:
428 mg
Daily avg:
1,492 mg

Recipe Index


Hot Cereal with a Twist

(Serves 2)

1 cup whole grain cereal for cooking, such as oatmeal or Mother’s Four Grain cereal
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, or diced apple

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for approximately 1-3 minutes. Cook until the cereal is fully cooked and the fruit is tender and hot.

Total calories per serving: 311 Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 75 grams Protein: 6 grams
Sodium: 10 milligrams Fiber: 8 grams

Bean-Vegetable Tacos

(Serves 3)

One 15-ounce can Eden’s chili beans, drained
1/2 cup salsa of your choice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cups vegetables of your choice (such as onions, carrots, mushrooms, corn, eggplant, peppers, broccoli, etc.), chopped as needed
9 regular-sized taco shells
Hot sauce or additional salsa (optional)

Pour beans into a sauté pan and mash well. Cook over low heat. Add salsa, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches the thickness of refried beans. Set aside.

In another sauté pan, heat the oil and sauté vegetables until medium tender.

Fill the taco shells with the beans and top with the vegetables. Add hot sauce or additional salsa, if desired.

Total calories per serving: 471 Fat: 14 grams
Carbohydrates: 59 grams Protein: 15 grams
Sodium: 635 milligrams Fiber: 5 grams

Cornbread

(Serves 6)

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup oil
1 cup soymilk
1/3 cup molasses or maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine cornmeal, flour, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine oil, soymilk, and molasses and add to the cornmeal mixture, blending just enough to moisten. Pour batter into lightly oiled 8" round pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

Total calories per serving: 289 Fat: 11 grams
Carbohydrates: 45 grams Protein: 6 grams
Sodium: 260 milligrams Fiber: 5 grams

Note: Sodium may be reduced by around 250 mg per serving by using low-sodium baking powder.

From Simply Vegan, by Debra Wasserman, published by VRG, 1999.


Stuffed Peppers

(Serves 6)

6 large green bell peppers, tops and seeds removed
2 teaspoons light olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
One 14-ounce package vegan ground meat, such as Lightlife GimmeLean sausage
3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cups cooked barley

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Submerge peppers in water and boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove peppers and drain.

In a large frying pan, heat oil and sauté onions and vegan sausage, breaking up meat completely. Add tomatoes and barley and stir mixture 1 minute longer or until heated through. Stuff peppers with mixture and serve immediately.

Total calories per serving: 249 Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 44 grams Protein: 15 grams
Sodium: 392 milligrams Fiber: 10 grams

Healthy Sweet Potato Fries

(Serves 1)

1 sweet potato
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
Your choice of low-sodium seasonings (Cajun, Italian, Mrs. Dash, etc.) to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub and peel the potato. Slice about 1/4-inch thick. In a small bowl, combine oil and seasonings. Brush both sides of each slice with oil mixture, then bake 20-30 minutes or until brown.

Total calories per serving: 249 Fat: 14 grams
Carbohydrates: 33 grams Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 20 milligrams Fiber: 4 grams

Chickpea Fruit Delight

(Serves 4)

1 Tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
One 1-pound can chopped tomatoes, no salt added
One 1-pound can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots or dried plums
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 cups chopped collard greens
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan or skillet and add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for approximately 5 minutes or until tender. Add small amounts of water to prevent sticking, if necessary. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Longer cooking will improve the flavor. Serve over couscous or rice.

Total calories per serving: 282 Fat: 5 grams
Carbohydrates: 53 grams Protein: 8 grams
Sodium: 390 milligrams Fiber: 9 grams

Pinto Bean Salad

(Makes 6 servings)

This recipe is adapted from “Bean Bag: A Primer of Easy Bean Recipes” by Mary Clifford, RD, published in the November 1994 issue of Vegetarian Journal.

4 cups (approximately two-and-a-half 15-ounce cans) cooked pinto beans
2 Tablespoons dried minced onion
3 Tablespoons relish
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pepper to taste

Drain pinto beans. Using a food processor, a blender, or a potato masher and a large bowl, combine all ingredients until smooth.

Total calories per serving: 180 Fat: 1 gram
Carbohydrates: 33 grams Protein: 10 grams
Sodium: 103 milligrams Fiber: 10 grams

Tofu with Mustard-Fruit Sauce

(Serves 4)

1 pound firm tofu
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil, if desired
1-1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar (preferred) or plain vinegar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 Tablespoon liquid sweetener
1 Tablespoon nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
Four 1/2-inch-thick pineapple slices
1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Freeze tofu completely, then thaw in the refrigerator. When thawed, squeeze water out as much as possible by placing the tofu on plate and stacking several plates on top of the tofu. Slice tofu so that it is approximately 1/4-inch thick. Pour the oil into a skillet and pan-grill tofu slices in a non-stick pan until brown on both sides.

Combine grated ginger, mustard, vinegar, and pineapple juice in a baking dish. Add the tofu and marinate for at least 30 minutes, spooning marinade over tofu occasionally. Remove tofu, reserving marinade.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small saucepan, reduce reserved marinade to approximately 1/2 cup. Stir in liquid sweetener and pour over tofu. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a skillet. Add pineapple slices and sauté over low heat for 5 minutes. Combine sugar and ginger and sprinkle over pineapple. Heat just until sugar melts. Serve with tofu.

Total calories per serving: 192 Fat: 8 grams
Carbohydrates: 23 grams Protein: 10 grams
Sodium: 119 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Sweet-and-Sour Bean and Barley Salad

(Makes eight 1-cup servings)

Adapted from “Using the Ol’ Bean” by Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, published in the Jan/Feb 2001 issue of Vegetarian Journal.

1/2 cup dried white beans
3 cups peeled and cubed eggplant
Salt to lightly coat eggplant
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Two 15-ounce cans Muir Glen low-sodium diced tomatoes, with juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 ounces orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 pound barley, cooked and drained
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Soak dried beans in water to cover until they have doubled in size, at least 3 hours. Drain and place in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover with fresh water and cook until tender, approximately 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Place eggplant in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and allow to drain for 20 minutes. Rinse eggplant and squeeze out excess water.

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onions and garlic and sauté until soft, approximately 5 minutes. Add eggplant, stirring, and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, lemon juice, and orange juice concentrate. Cover and simmer until eggplant is tender, about 20 minutes. Add cooked beans and barley and stir to combine. Season with pepper.

Total calories per serving: 347 Fat: 5 grams
Carbohydrates: 67 grams Protein: 12 grams
Sodium: 180 milligrams Fiber: 16 grams

Simple Bean Stew

(Serves 3)

1 medium onion
1/4 teaspoon McCormick’s Season-All
2 Tablespoons olive oil
One 15-ounce can low-sodium beans (see article), rinsed and drained
One 15-ounce can Muir Glen low-sodium stewed tomatoes, any flavor, such as basil and garlic
2 cups fresh collard greens, cleaned, stems removed, and diced
1-1/2 cups diced vegetables of your choice (such as fresh mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, peas, zucchini, corn, etc.)
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
2 Tablespoons molasses (optional)

In a large saucepan, sauté onions and Season-All in olive oil. When onions are soft, add remaining ingredients, except hot sauce and molasses. Simmer 20 minutes or until collard greens are fully cooked and sauce has thickened. Finish with hot sauce and molasses. Serve over whole grains, such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, barley, or quinoa.

Total calories per serving: 290 Fat: 9 grams
Carbohydrates: 38 grams Protein: 14 grams
Sodium: 660 milligrams Fiber: 12 grams

Black Bean And Corn Chowder

(Serves 6)

Adapted from Conveniently Vegan, by Debra Wasserman, 1999, published by VRG.

One 15-ounce can low-sodium black beans, drained
One 15-ounce can Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes with chilies
10 ounces frozen corn
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups soymilk or other non-dairy milk
4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a large pot and simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes.

Total calories per serving: 142 Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 22 grams Protein: 9 grams
Sodium: 130 milligrams Fiber: 6 grams

Squash-Corn Muffins

(Makes 18 muffins)

1-1/2 cups cornmeal
1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon basil
1-1/2 pounds zucchini or yellow squash, grated
10 ounces frozen corn, partially thawed
1/2 cup molasses or other vegan liquid sweetener

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into 18 lightly oiled muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from muffin tins.

Total calories per muffin: 119 Fat: <1 gram
Carbohydrates: 26 grams Protein: 3 grams
Sodium: 254 milligrams Fiber: 2 grams

From Conveniently Vegan, by Debra Wasserman, 1999, published by VRG.


Vegan Snack Cake

(Makes approximately twenty-eight 2" x 2" servings)

3-1/3 cups unbleached flour
2 cups sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt with fork, breaking up the lumps. Mix in the remaining ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour mixture into a 9" x 13" pan. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Total calories per serving: 145 Fat: 5 grams
Carbohydrates: 24 grams Protein: 1 gram
Sodium: 172 milligrams Fiber: <1 gram

Variations


Chickpea Salad/Spread

(Serves 3)

One 15-ounce can low-sodium chickpeas or 1˝-2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
2 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice
Onion powder, onion flakes, garlic powder, or oregano to taste
Relish or finely diced vegetables of your choice (such as carrots, red peppers, celery, or onions)

Mash chickpeas well. Add lemon juice, spices, and vegetables to taste. Serve on a sandwich or as a dip.

Total calories per serving: 137 Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 23 grams Protein: 7 grams
Sodium: 150 milligrams Fiber: 6 grams

Indonesian Pasta Salad

(Serves 4)

Adapted from “Healthy Asian Cuisine” by Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, CCE, published in the Issue 4, 2004, issue of Vegetarian Journal.

Dressing
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chilies
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar or plain vinegar
1/3 cup water

Place oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add garlic, ginger, and chilies and cook, tossing, for 1 minute. Add vinegar and water. Stir and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Salad
1 cup dry whole grain pasta
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green beans
1-1/4 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup fresh or frozen and thawed snow pea pods
3/4 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.

Trim green beans and cut into 4-inch pieces. Steam broccoli and green beans until just tender. Remove from heat and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Combine all salad ingredients and refrigerate. When ready to serve, toss salad with dressing.

Total calories per serving: 140 Fat: 7 grams
Carbohydrates: 17 grams Protein: 4 grams
Sodium: 16 milligrams Fiber: 3 grams

Tofu with Peanut Sauce and Collard Greens

(Serves 4)

1 pound firm tofu

Sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 chopped scallion
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup peanut butter (no salt added)
1/2 cup water

To Add To Tofu
3 cups collard greens, cleaned, stems removed, and diced
4 cups cooked brown rice

Drain tofu and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Pan-fry (oil optional) for approximately 6-8 minutes on each side until both are brown.

Heat oil in a small saucepan over very low heat, add scallions and garlic, and sauté until slightly brown. Add remaining sauce ingredients and heat until mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. If needed, add more water to make medium-thick consistency.

Steam collard greens until tender. Combine with tofu, peanut sauce, and brown rice.

Total calories per serving: 525 Fat: 24 grams
Carbohydrates: 59 grams Protein: 22 grams
Sodium: 367 milligrams Fiber: 7 grams


Mark Rifkin recently completed a Master’s in Health Education and his dietetic internship. He plans to be a dietitian in private practice focusing on plant-based diets.




Excerpts from the 2005 Issue 4:
Make-Ahead Baked Pasta Delights
Debra Daniels-Zeller creates noodle dishes that go from freezer to oven to table in no time flat.
Whole Grain Vegan Quick Breads
Peggy Rynk bakes healthy loaves, muffins, biscuits, and more.
How Many Youth Are Vegetarian?
VRG polls 8- to 18-year-olds about their dietary habits.
One-Week Low-Sodium Vegan Menu
Dietetic intern Mark Rifkin considers the advantages of low-sodium diets and designs a meal plan to keep salt intake down.
Nutrition Hotline
What is the government doing to help low-income vegetarian families?
Note from the Coordinators
Notes from the VRG Scientific Department
Interviews our dietitians granted, outreach to students and chefs.
Scientific Update
Vegan Cooking Tips
Holiday Potatoes, by Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, CCE.
Book Reviews
Catalog
Vegetarian Action
Chicago Soydairy Brings Vegan Treats to Midwest Market and Beyond, by Jim Dunn.
Veggie Bits

The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone who wishes to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.

Thanks to volunteer Stephanie Schueler for converting this article to HTML.



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PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203
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Last Updated
Oct. 7, 2005

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