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By cutting back on the amount of table salt used in a recipe, and adding a little MSG, you can boost the flavor of the dish with very little sodium.

If you’re trying to cut back on sodium in your diet, MSG can definitely help add flavor to your food while keeping sodium levels in check. Getting the dish to taste exactly as you like may take some experimentation, but it’s not difficult.

Low Sodium Recipes for Soups

For example, for low sodium recipes for soup: if the traditional recipe that yields 6 servings calls for 1 teaspoon of salt, cut it back to 1/2 teaspoon and add 1/2 teaspoon of MSG to it. This change would result in a “savings” of 900 mg of sodium, or 150 mg of sodium per serving.

When to Add MSG to a Dish:

Generally MSG is added to foods before or during cooking and not at the table. For steaks or other meats, sprinkle it on before cooking at the same time you season the meat with salt, pepper, etc. For casseroles, soup or vegetable dishes, you’d add MSG during the cooking process.

Note: If you are on a strict reduced-sodium diet, you’ll need to have your dietitian look at the recipe and calculate the sodium content to see if it fits into your diet.

Black Bean Soup

Here is an example of how to easily reduce the sodium in a traditional recipe
without giving up taste by using MSG to replace some of the salt.


  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 2 quarts water
  • 3 teaspoons salt (1 3/4 teaspoons salt)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • add 3/4 teaspoon MSG


  1. Presoak beans in water overnight or use quick-cook method on package.
  2. After soaking beans, add salt and bring to a boil; cover and simmer on low heat for 2 hours.
  3. Heat oil, add onions, and sauté about 5 minutes. Add green pepper and sauté until onions are tender.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients (add MSG here). Add about 3/4 cup hot bean liquid, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  5. Add onion seasoning mixture to beans and continue to cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve with rice, if desired.
black bean soup

Yield: 8 cups (8 servings)
Revised as an example of low sodium recipes with MSG!

Sodium Analysis (Per 1-cup serving, without rice)

Original Recipe: Sodium: 833 mg
Modified Recipe: Using MSG Sodium: 548 mg
Sodium Savings: 285mg (a 34% reduction)

* Modified from The American Diabetes Association and The American Dietetic Association Family Cookbook, Volume II, 1984.

Recipe example and information on “Tips on Cooking Low Sodium Recipes with MSG” courtesy of

Learn More: 5 Facts about MSG as Part of a Lower Sodium Diet