4 Delicious Lower-Sodium Sauce and Dressing Recipes

Eating less red meat? Check. Avoiding trans fat? Check. Eating more vegetables and fruit? Check. Limiting sodium to a healthful level? Oops.

Of all the aspects of a healthy diet, perhaps the toughest one to achieve is keeping sodium down. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that younger adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Anyone with high blood pressure or “pre-hypertension” should aim for no more than 1,500 mg per day.


But the average American consumes roughly 3,800 mg of sodium a day—men more, women less. That extra sodium may be the most dangerous thing in our diet, unnecessarily killing tens of thousands of people every year due to heart attacks and strokes.

To give you a sense of how hard it is to get down to 1,500 milligrams of sodium, consider this: two slices of bread have 200 to 400 mg, just half a cup of a typical spaghetti sauce has 300 to 600 mg, and a mere cup of canned soup has 400 to 800 mg. And you’d blow your daily sodium allowance to smithereens by eating a Smoked Turkey sandwich at Panera (1,790 mg) or a Lasagna Classico at Olive Garden (2,360 mg).

The easiest way to steer clear of excess sodium is to look for low sodium sauce, salad dressing, and other foods at the grocery store—or make your own. That’s why we put together these four lower-sodium sauce and dressing recipes. You’d never know that these great-tasting, lower-sodium sauce makeovers of tomato sauce, cream sauce, and salad dressing have far less sodium than their traditional counterparts.

Lower-Sodium Sauce and Dressing Recipes

For the first two recipes, put all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Each recipe makes 1 cup of salad dressing. You can refrigerate what you don’t use for up to a week.

Apple Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt


  • Calories: 90
  • Sodium: 150 mg

Avocado Yogurt Lemon Dill Dressing

  • 1/2 ripe Hass avocado
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 2 Tbs. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. fresh dill sprigs
  • 2 Tbs. diced white onion
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. tsp. kosher salt


  • Calories: 45
  • Sodium: 150 mg

Sauces can be too salty. Not these two. These lower-sodium sauce recipes have no more than 270 milligrams of sodium per serving.

No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Don’t feel like pasta? Just toss this simple sauce with 2 cans (3 cups) of cannellini or other white beans. Mmmm.

  • 2 lbs. ripe fresh tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and diced
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¹∕3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups basil leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To make this lower sodium sauce, toss the fresh and sundried tomatoes together in a large bowl. Combine the oil, garlic, parmesan, and basil in a food processor and pulse until well minced. Stir into the tomatoes. Season with up to 1 tsp. of the salt and plenty of black pepper. Allow to stand at room temperature while your pasta cooks. Makes 5 cups.

PER SERVING (1/2 cup)

  • Calories: 80
  • Total Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Sodium: 250 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Parmesan Cream Sauce

If the sauce separates, process with a hand blender or in a regular blender.

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. zucchini, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice, more to taste

In a large sauce pan, gently sauté the garlic in the olive oil for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parmesan. Season with up to 1/2 tsp. of the salt plus the pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

PER SERVING (1/4 cup)

  • Calories: 90
  • Total Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Sodium: 270 mg
  • Cholesterol: 10 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Protein: 5 g

3 Replies to “4 Delicious Lower-Sodium Sauce and Dressing Recipes”

  1. For a 1500 mg daily sodium goal, those numbers seem high. How about skipping the kosher salt and substituting some various Mrs. Dash spices?

  2. Not sure why there is a need to add any salt? Especially the one that has Parmesan in it, I bet no one would notice if salt was left out. I use zero salt when cooking anything (my husband hates the taste) and add salt at the table as needed. I warn any guests that they need to add salt as needed as I do not use when cooking but find that most do not reach for the salt shaker….

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