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Lately I have taken up the challenge of cooking low sodium meals. My mother-in-law, who has congestive heart failure, just had open heart surgery. She’s not yet well enough to cook for herself, so I’ve been trying to help out. She is supposed to eat less that 2000mg of sodium a day; that’s one teaspoon!!! Eating out or even pre-made food from the store is basically out of the question if you’re going to meet this goal. Making meals that help her meet this goal has definitely been a learning experience! This 15 bean soup has been one of my favorite meals thus far. While keeping the salt level low, it still had lots of flavor, was packed with fiber, was lowfat and was also easy to make. Of course, you can always add more salt, if that is not an issue for you, but in case you are also looking for low sodium, great tasting foods I’ll give the recipe as I made it.

I wanted to add some meat to add to the heartiness of the soup. I looked to see if I could find a low sodium sausage. I was not successful! Even the sausages that said they contained “30% Less Salt”, less than what??? A salt lick??? So I kept scouring the meat section. Ham hocks? Nope! And then I found some unseasoned pork tenderloin that was cut into small pieces, like stew meat. This did the trick! If you can’t find this in your store, you could always buy a tenderloin and cut it up into bite size pieces yourself.

15 Bean Soup

1 pound unseasoned pork tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces

1/2 large onion, diced

1 20 oz bag 15 bean soup mix, found in bean section of grocery store

1/2 of seasoning packet included in bean soup mix (Even with the whole packet the sodium level in the whole recipe was only 70 mg, but I decided to only use half and add some other seasonings)

8 cups water

1 – 14.5 oz can of reduced salt diced tomatoes (luckily most tomato products come in reduced salt versions)

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic and herb Mrs. Dash

Juice of 1 lemon or 3 tbsp of bottled juice

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

Pepper to taste

Spray a frying pan with non-stick spray and brown pork over medium high heat. When almost browned add the onions and saute until tender and meat is browned. Add meat, onions and all other ingredients to a slow cooker, give a stir and cover. Cook over low heat for 8 hours.

As mentioned above, if you’re not watching your sodium some added salt would be a good add.