With World Salt Awareness Week just around the corner (February 29-March 6) here’s a healthy recipe by one of the island’s leading dieticians.
That excess salt consumption is bad for our health is a well-known fact; hence many of us are actively looking to reduce our intake. That said, given our lifestyle, dependence on ready-made, packaged foods and restaurant cooking, most of us regularly go over the global maximum salt limit of five grams per day. There’s certainly a need for more awareness in terms of different cooking ingredients and methods.
Danah Quintana is a licensed dietician at Bahrain Specialist Hospital and emphasises how important it is for us to take to a low sodium diet. Having worked for many years in Bahrain and the GCC, she is well aware of the local cultural dietary habits and is committed to helping us incorporate better nutritional habits into our hectic and busy lifestyles.
“Many foods are already rich in hidden salts, even those that don’t necessarily taste salty,” Danah says. “A good place to start is to carefully read the labels on packaged foods and choose the ones with less sodium content.”
She shares a tasty and low-salt recipe that will satisfy any palate.
Penne with Chicken and Asparagus
A light and tasty pasta dish low in salt (sodium), with fresh asparagus cooked in broth with sautéed garlic and seasoned chicken.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
• 1 (16 ounce) packet of dried penne pasta
• 5tbsp olive oil, divided
• 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes
• ½ pinch of salt and pepper
• Garlic powder to taste
• ½ cup chicken broth
• 1 bunch slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut diagonally into one-inch pieces
• 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
• 1tsp grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook for about eight to 10 minutes, till al dente. Drain, and set aside. Warm three tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook for about five minutes, until chicken is cooked through and browned. Remove chicken, and place on paper towels to drain any excess oil. Pour chicken broth into the skillet. Then stir in asparagus, garlic and a pinch more garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cover and steam until the asparagus is just tender, which may take about five to 10 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet and warm through. Stir chicken mixture into pasta and mix well. Let it sit for about five minutes. Drizzle with two tablespoons olive oil and stir again. Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve.