In Dinner Recipes

Low Sodium, Low Cholesterol Sauerbraten Dinner

Low cholesterol, low sodium sauerbraten….can it be done? It was a challenge I was prepared to tackle, especially since we haven’t had our German comfort food fix in over two years. My husband bought a nice lean piece of bottom round roast and a tub of fat-free sour cream and asked, “Can you try it?”

I did, and it was delicious!

Oktoberfest in January: Low cholesterol, low sodium sauerbraten

Sauerbraten is German comfort food. It’s pot roast with the richest spicy, sweet, sour gravy imaginable. I make it in the slow cooker (Crock Pot) which saves some time, but it is a labor-intensive meal that’s worth every bite.

Spaetzle or Noodles?

The traditional side dishes that accompany sauerbraten include red cabbage, which I made from scratch, and spaetzle. Spaetzle is a type of small dumpling popular in Alsace and southern Germany (where my family comes from) that’s truly delicious. But, like many delicious ethnic foods, it takes time to make, and on a workday, I did not have time to make it from scratch. I substituted noodles instead.

I found “no yolk” noodles which eliminated the cholesterol from the side dishes. No yolk noodles are very light and airy, too, which is good with a heavy meal like sauerbraten. The extra broad no-yolk egg noodles are great with this meal because the broad noodles provide more surface area for the gravy.

The Gravy: Zapping the Cholesterol from Sauerbraten Gravy

Typically, sauerbraten gravy drips with cholesterol and sodium. I guess that’s why it tastes so good! The recipe that I’ve been making for years utilizes the beef broth and apple cider vinegar base from the Crock-Pot and adds sour cream, crushed ginger snap cookies, brown sugar, and flour to the liquid to make a thick, heavy gravy.

To lighten the gravy, I started with a sodium-free base of water and apple cider vinegar. As the meat cooked in the slow cooker, the drippings added taste to the water and cider vinegar. I kept the ginger snaps the same and substituted fat-free sour cream for the full-fat version. I cut the flour by one-third and used the same amount of brown sugar. The result was a light yet extremely tasty gravy that mimicked the original recipe very well.

Cutting the Salt

Lastly, cutting the sodium in the recipe was easy. I simply eliminated the canned beef brother or bouillion cube from the Crock-Pot. The original recipe called for one cup of beef brother and one cup of apple cider vinegar in the Crock-Pot while the meat cooks. I simply used water and vinegar instead.

photo of red cabbage on white plate

Photo by dimitri.photography on Unsplash

Red Cabbage from Scratch

The red cabbage cooked on the stovetop while I worked on the gravy. I sliced red cabbage and half an onion very thin and cooked it in a saucepan. To make the red cabbage from scratch, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in the saucepan. Stir in 1 tablespoon of sugar. Then stir in the onion and cook it until translucent. Add the red cabbage. Stir. Add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup red wine or red wine vinegar. Stir, cover, and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Uncover and add 1 cup of water, stirring and covering but leaving the cover slightly ajar to release steam. Simmer for half an hour, stirring frequently and adding more water as needed to prevent sticking. That’s it! It came out delicious.

Our final numbers: Sodium, 480 mg per serving. Cholesterol, 80 mg per serving.

Print Recipe
Low Cholesterol, Low Sodium Sauerbraten
German comfort food is taken in a healthier direction by reducing the sodium and fat in the gravy. Leave plenty of time to cook the no-yolk egg noodles and the red cabbage (see recipe above) as well as the gravy. Look for ginger snap cookies with the lowest sodium per serving.
photo of red cabbage on white plate
Course Main Dish
Keyword dinner recipes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Sauerbraten Meat
Sauebraten Gravy
Course Main Dish
Keyword dinner recipes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Sauerbraten Meat
Sauebraten Gravy
photo of red cabbage on white plate
Instructions
  1. To make the sauerbraten, place the meat, water, apple cider vinegar and bay leaves in a Crock-Pot. Cover and cook on LOW 6-8 hours.
  2. To make the gravy, remove the meat and keep warm. Pour the hot liquid from the Crock-Pot into a saucepan. Stir in the crushed gingersnaps and brown sugar. Simmer on low. Stir in the sour cream with a whisk until blended. Add flour to thicken. Simmer. If the sauce is too thick, thin with water. Too thin, add a pinch of flour until it is the desired consistency.
  3. Cook egg noodles or no-yolk egg noodles (to eliminate excess cholesterol) according to package directions.
  4. Serve the meat warm, in slices, along with the noodles. Pour on gravy as desired. Add red cabbage and enjoy!

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