A Bright Pickled Relish with a Low-Sodium Spin

Let’s talk a little about low-sodium pickles. It turns out that a lot of what our taste buds (and our hot dogs) expect is not just the salty lick of the brine, but the tangy kick of the acid. Which means, with the right ingredients and strong spices, you can make a low-sodium pickle (or relish!) that meets palate approval.

To kick up that “salty” factor, though, there’s one more trick you can use: Pick produce with a higher natural sodium content. Options could include beets (64 mg sodium for 1 beet), carrots (42 mg per medium carrot), cauliflower (32 mg per chopped cup, or 176 for a medium head), and celery (81 mg per chopped cup). When mixed with the other tastes of the brine — sweet, spicy and sour — they’ll create pickle nirvana and deliver a well-balanced bite (or dollop).

Start with this celery-based relish and then experiment with other spices and stars of the show. And while the relish will taste grand on burgers and sausage, it’s also worth mixing into your next potato or egg salad for tons of bright flavor — and no salt.

Pickled Celery Relish

Makes 2 cups


1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt-free curry powder (optional)

1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)

1/4 large white onion, diced

4 celery stalks, washed and thinly sliced

1/2 cup shredded carrots (1 carrot)

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seed

1/4 teaspoon ground yellow mustard

5 slices fresno or jalapeno pepper


In a medium saucepan, mix the apple cider vinegar, 1 cup water, orange juice and sugar until combined and the sugar has dissolved. Then bring to a boil for 3 minutes.

While the mixture is boiling, place the remaining ingredients in a pint-size jar or heat-safe container. Allow the pickling liquid to cool for 5 minutes and then pour the liquid into the jar or container. Wait until the liquid is completely cool and then cover and place in the refrigerator. The relish will stay good for a week.

Sodium Content: Apple cider vinegar: 0 mg, depending on brand; celery: 81 mg per cup (chopped) or 32 mg per medium stalk; carrots: 42 mg per medium carrot.

All sodium counts based on the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference release 26.

Related Links:

Jessica Goldman Foung began the blog SodiumGirl.com to capture her adventures in a low-sodium life. She regularly writes about salt-free flavor tips and ingredient swaps. Her first cookbook was Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook.

Next Up

Low-Sodium Double Pumpkin Butter

Discover double pumpkin butter, the perfect autumnal alternative to peanut butter.

Shopping for Low-Sodium Foods

About one in three adults have high blood pressure. One step to improve or prevent high blood pressure is to lower your salt intake -- especially from the biggest source, processed foods. These days many manufacturer's offer "low-sodium" or "no salt-added" foods, but labels can be confusing. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Label Decoder: Sodium Nitrite

If you think hot dogs, bacon and luncheon meats keep that pink and red hue naturally, think again! These are just a few of the foods that contain a preservative -- sodium nitrate -- that may be harmful to your health.

Label Decoder: Sodium Benzoate

Many ingredients listed on food labels might as well be in a foreign language. You see the same ones pop up all the time, but do you know what they really mean? In this new series, we're tackling some common label names -- some are perfectly fine for you, others not so much. First up: sodium benzoate.

10 Ways To Reduce Sodium

Nine out of 10 Americans eat too much salt; 77% of our salt comes from processed and restaurant foods. Here are 10 ways to consume less salt.

Sodium 101: Shaking the Salt Habit

Because doctors don’t routinely check for salt sensitivity, you may not know if you're one of those unlucky few with high blood pressure risks. To play it safe, everyone should be cutting back the salt in their diet and making a few other healthy tweaks.

5 Creative Spins on Hummus

Here are five delicious recipes that take your hummus to the next level.

Blogger Spotlight: Jessica Goldman, aka Sodium Girl

Join Food Network's Healthy Eats in discovering the best healthy bloggers around the web. Today we're talking to blogger and cookbook author Jessica Goldman, of the blog Sodium Girl.

Related Pages