By Sheela Prakash
I was born with a sweet tooth — if there’s ice cream, cookies, or cake within reach, I’ll never turn it down. However, there are days (often after I’ve continued to allow my sugar cravings to rein free), that my salt tooth kicks in. In those moments, I need something that’s going to satisfy quickly. While there’s a whole range of salty foods to dig into, there are a select few that also have the added benefit of making me feel good, too. Here are five of my favorites:
Most nuts, as long as their salted of course, nip a salt craving in the bud, but marcona almonds are special. These almonds are more rounded in appearance than regular almonds and are a speciality product imported from Spain. They have a softer texture, a bit similar to macadamia nuts, and their flavor is buttery and a touch sweet. That means when they’re roasted and salted, the salt really pops and instantly hits your taste buds. Since they’re imported, they are definitely a splurge, but when I am really craving a salty treat, they’re hard to beat.
Prosciutto and Melon
The combination of salty prosciutto and sweet cantaloupe is classic in Italy, and as always, the Italians know what they’re doing when it comes to food. Wrap wedges of melon in thin slices of prosciutto and their flavors play wildly off each other. The sugar in the melon makes the saltiness of the prosciutto stand out before its refreshing juices clean your palate, causing you to eagerly go in for another bite. I like to enjoy this as a snack or an appetizer, or slip a bed of arugula underneath and make it a light lunch.
Maybe this is an obvious one, but I often forget about popcorn when my salt tooth kicks in and head straight for the pretzels. That’s a shame because popcorn has the added benefit of being a low-calorie snack that’s naturally gluten-free and fiber-rich. There are lots of great brands out there, but my favorite is Trader Joe’s Heirloom Popcorn. The kernels are a bit smaller than most and air-popped with avocado oil and pink sea salt. It’s popcorn that feels fancy enough to enjoy with a glass of wine at 5 o’clock, which I do often and think you should do the same.
Blue Cheese-Stuffed Olives
Speaking of 5 o’clock, blue cheese-stuffed olives are my other favorite salty happy hour snack. It’s salt stuffed into salt so your craving is sure to be satisfied almost immediately. You can buy these special olives at the grocery store or make them yourself if you’re in the DIY mood. Usually, though, I buy them because my salt tooth isn’t patient. Beyond wine, they go quite nice with a cold beer or martini, but I’ve also been known to reach for a small handful after lunch and snack on them on their own.
Edamame with Sea Salt
Get a serving of vegetables in while appeasing your salt tooth by reaching for salted edamame. You can run out to your favorite sushi restaurant and order a bowl, but it’s even easier to make it at home with a bag of frozen edamame and course or flaky sea salt. It’s a great choice mid-afternoon because it also contains a good amount of protein and fiber to give you an energy boost.