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How To Fix Salty Pasta

by Gina Elizabeth

Here are 5 quick & easy fixes to reduce the sodium levels in your pasta dish.

#UltimatePasta

What do I do if my pasta is too salty?

How to Fix Salty Pasta

1. Add Unsalted Pasta

Add half the amount of (unsalted) cooked pasta you used into the pot of salty pasta. Double the original amount of pasta your dish is very salty. Gently combine both batches thoroughly.

2. Add a Veggie

Mix in some cooked cauliflower (finely chopped), peas, carrots, or avocado. These salt-thirsty ingredients will absorb quite a bit of salt.

An acidic ingredient — like chopped tomato — will further absorb quite a bit of the salty flavor. Of course, adding low-sodium cheese and veggies will also reduce the salty taste of your guacamole.

3. Add Egg Whites

Egg whites can counteract over salted food. This is also a great hack for adding more nutritious protein to your meals too. Add raw egg whites into your pasta, mixing thoroughly. Stir continually over a low heat until the egg whites are thoroughly cooked.

4. Add Tofu

Instead of eggs, use a good amount of tofu. This will also increase the protein quotient and keep it vegan. Simply crumble up extra-firm tofu and add to the pasta. Over a low heat, stir until well combined.

5. Rinse With Hot Water

Boil a pot of hot water. Place the salty pasta in a strainer. and move it around in the strainer. Pour the hot water the over the pasta thoroughly. Shake the excess water out of the strainer. Heat the pasta in a skillet to allow some evaporation of water.

Did you know?

There are approximately 350 shapes of pasta, and it’s estimated that there are about four times as many names as there are shapes.

Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs Recipe

When you need a filling and inexpensive staple, there’s nothing better than spaghetti & meatballs.

Ingredient

  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/3 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef with bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, egg, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes. Mix until just combined then form into 16 balls.
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate.
  4. Add onion to pot and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Return meatballs to pot and cover. Simmer until sauce has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Serve pasta with a healthy scoop of meatballs and sauce. Top with Parmesan before serving.

5 Pasta Cooking Tips

1. Use Enough Water

If you don’t add enough water, the pasta will be underdone and likely burn on the bottom. If you add too much water, the pasta will be mushy.

Tip: Salt the water during cooking, or else you’ll have bland pasta.

2. Place Pasta In Boiling Water

Combine water, oil, and a large pinch of salt and allow it to come to a boil. It’s important to place pasta in boiling water. Pasta breaks down in water as the starch dissolves. The intense heat of boiling water prevents the pasta from sticking together.

3. Do Not Cover With A Lid While Boiling

Covering your pasta while boiling will cook the pasta too quickly, the pasta will be soggy and overcooked.

4. Stir It

Stir your pasta during the first minute or two of cooking, this is when the pasta surface is coated with sticky, glue-like starch. If you don’t stir your pasta it will stick together.

9. Add Pasta To Sauce

Do not add your sauce to pasta, instead add your pasta to your sauce. The pasta cooking should be the last step in making your dish. Add pasta immediately after drained to warm sauce in a separate pot or pan.

Pasta and Salt Q&A

How is pasta served?

Pasta is most commonly served as a side dish in the United States and other countries. But it can also be combined with other ingredients to make a main dish.

Which cheeses have the most salt?

  • Halloumi (approx 330 mg sodium/serving)
  • Imported blue cheese (approx 325 mg sodium/serving)
  • Feta (approx 323 mg sodium/serving)
  • Processed cheeses (like string cheese) (approx 200-300 mg/serving)
  • Edam (approx 276 mg sodium/serving)

What are some dishes made with pasta?

If your pasta is too salty, make another dish out of it.

Here are some ideas for how to fix salty pasta by turning it into a masterpiece:

  • Chicken Pasta Soup
  • One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Pasta Casserole
  • Guacamole Pasta
  • Tomato-Basil Chicken and Pasta
  • Baked Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions

How do I fix soggy pasta?

To fix soggy pasta, saute in a pan with olive oil or butter for three to seven minutes, and the edges will become crisp.

How do you fix over salted food?

Here are the easiest ways to neutralize salt in food:

1. Add Bulk

If the dish is very salty, make another batch (without adding salt) to double the original amount. Then combine the salty and unsalted batches. Mix thoroughly over a low heat.

2. Add a Starch

Another way to easily add bulk to neutralize salt in food is to add pureed white pasta or instant potato flakes to your dish. Starchy foods absorb the salt while thickening your soup, stew, sauce, chili, casserole, or dish.

You can also mix in some cooked (unsalted) pasta or quinoa. These salt-thirsty ingredients will absorb quite a bit of salt.

3. Add Some Greens

Throw in some greens like finely chopped kale, spinach. Cooked cauliflower, carrots, peas, corn, avocado, and other veggies work great too.

These salt-thirsty ingredients will absorb quite a bit of salt.

An acidic ingredient — like chopped tomato — will further absorb quite a bit of the salty flavor. Of course, adding more avocado, or ingredients like corn, low-sodium cheese, and veggies will also reduce the salty taste of your guacamole.

Veggies will neutralize the saltiness. This is also a great hack for adding more nutritious vegetables to your meals.

4. Add Dairy

Dairy can counteract over salted food. Sour cream or a low-sodium cheese like fresh mozzarella, Swiss, goat, and ricotta are great fixes. There are also brands that offer low-sodium cheese options like Helluva Good Cheddar Cheese.

Yogurt and sour cream have a slightly-tangy flavor that counteracts too much salt in food. These ingredients works best in dishes that already contain dairy.

5. Add A Protein

Egg whites can counteract over salted food. This is also a great hack for adding more nutritious protein to your meals too. Add raw egg whites into your dish as it cooks, mixing thoroughly. Stir continually until the egg whites are thoroughly cooked.

Instead of eggs you may also use a good amount of tofu, beans, or lentils. This will also increase the protein quotient of your meal.

Simply cook these protein ingredients separately. Then add to the salty dish. Stir until well combined.

6. Add Fat

Fats neutralize salty flavors.

Butter, cream, milk, and plant-based oils like olive oil can help reduce the perception of saltiness by coating the tongue with fat.

Try adding a fatty cut of pork, beef, chicken, or fish to the salty dish. Be sure not to use cured bacon, ham, or other processed meats that may already contain salt.

Some other high-sodium proteins to avoid are canned meat, fish or poultry, cold cuts, frankfurters, sausage, sardines, caviar and anchovies.

7. Rinse With Hot Water

Boil a pot of hot water. Place the salty food in a strainer. and move it around in the strainer. Pour the hot water the over the food thoroughly. Shake the excess water out of the strainer. Heat the food in a skillet to allow some evaporation of water.

8. Add Sugar

Sweet ingredients like white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, and agave can fix over salted food. Add a little at a time and taste as you go to avoid adding too much sweetness

9. Add An Acid

Vinegar, lime/lemon, and tomato juices are also great for reducing the salty taste in dishes. This works best in dishes that already have a bit of acidity in them. But if you enjoy tangy flavors, you can experiment with other (non-dairy based) dishes like soups and beans.

10. Dilute With Liquid

Add either water, milk or stock to your over salted dish to mitigate the salty flavor. Water and stock work for most recipes. Milk works well with cream based dishes to reduce salinity.

Is kosher salt less salty than regular salt?

Yes, due to it’s larger crystal size, kosher salt is  less salty tasting because there’s less of it per unit of measure. Regular table salt crystals are more compact so there is salt in each teaspoon of salt when preparing food.

What is kosher flake salt?

Unlike table salt and kosher salt, which have even shapes to their crystals, flake salt has rough, flat, or spiky crystals. The flakes are can be sprinkling over dishes to provide a salty crunch.

Can you substitute sea salt for kosher salt?

You could use sea salt instead of kosher salt, but sea salt is generally more expensive.  

Which salt is the healthiest?

Sea salt is the least refined with no added preservatives. Pink Himalayan salt is considered the purest in the sea salt family.

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