How to Get the Salt Out of Sausage
For breakfast, in a sandwich or topping a pizza, sausage is an American favorite. But most sausage products contain sky-high salt levels. If you're trying to cut down on sodium in your diet, do you have to avoid this tasty treat?
Trying to follow a low-sodium and kidney-healthy diet can be difficult when foods you love are high in salt. Sausage is one of those high-sodium foods that just doesn't have many good alternatives.
You can buy regular ground pork and mix it half and half with ground sausage to dilute the salt a bit. But even then, a small patty can have 400 to 800 milligrams of sodium, which is one-quarter or one-third of your salt intake for the entire day.
If you have to have a salty meat at breakfast, bacon is actually lower in salt than sausage, but that's just because it weighs so much less. Ounce for ounce, both are equally salty. Most low-salt bacons still have about 200mg per two slices, or about a tenth of your 2,000mg daily limit. Ham is also salty. A 3-ounce serving has about 500-700mg of sodium. Don't be fooled by the label; low-salt ham is not actually low in salt.
A great solution to lower your sodium and still enjoy sausage is to make your own. Don't worry, you don't have to buy sausage casings to make this great treat.
Sweet Maple Low-Salt Sausage
1 1/2 pounds ground pork or beef (you can substitute 3-4 ounces ground turkey if desired)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried sage or 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped fine, and sautéed lightly
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons maple sugar or maple syrup
1 teaspoon water
Italian Sausage Variation
Substitute these spices for those above for a nice Italian sausage to use on homemade, low-salt pizza, or in stuffed pasta shells.
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (or less for less spiciness)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight. Cook or freeze the next day.
Form into about 12 patties, cook in a large skillet over medium high heat until well browned, about 10 minutes.
Nutrition Information (per 1/4 cup patty):
Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. She has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington.