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Low sodium broccoli pasta with crispy eggs

This recipe was inspired by Smitten Kitchen's spaghetti pangrattato with crispy eggs. My sister-in-law made it for us when she visited a few years ago and it quickly became an almost weekly meal in our house. It's simple--just spaghetti topped with a crispy fried egg, toasted bread crumbs, capers, and pecorino cheese. The sodium comes from the salt, of course, but also the eggs, capers, and cheese. For this low sodium swap, I add some chopped broccoli and a lot of garlic to the pasta to give it more texture and flavor. I keep the egg, but only use 2 so each serving is about 1/2 an egg. Instead of capers, which are brined and very high in sodium, I used pickled red onions to give the dish a little tangy bite. With these swaps, the recipe makes 4 servings at 52 mg of sodium each. But if you have room for more sodium, you can sprinkle some toasted panko bread crumbs on top (which increases the sodium to 56 mg per serving), nutritional yeast (increases to 57 mg sodium per serving), or even add up to 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese (increases to 88 mg sodium per serving).

Servings: Serves 4

Sodium: 52 mg per serving (more with optional toppings, see above)

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients: 1/2 medium red onion, diced small

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup hot water

8 ounces dry pasta (I like spaghetti or linguine for this)

2 cups broccoli, chopped small

1 bulb of garlic, minced

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped

Ground black pepper to taste

Optional topppings:

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, or

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs plus 1 Tablespoon oil, or

2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast

1) In a small bowl, combine the diced onions, vinegar, and hot water and set aside.

2) In a large 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté chopped broccoli and garlic on medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes until cooked and slightly browned.

3) Cook pasta according to package instructions. When done, drain and combine with broccoli and add an additional tablespoon of olive oil. Let the pasta sit for at least 5 minutes while you fry your eggs. The egg should have a runny yolk and crispy edges.

4) If you're using bread crumbs, toast in a skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil until light brown. Once the bread crumbs turn light brown, transfer to a bowl so they don't burn in the hot skillet. You can flavor the bread crumbs with a pinch of garlic powder, paprika, or fresh herbs, or toast them in butter instead of oil also.

5) Toss the pasta with parsley, pickled red onions, and top with fried eggs. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, or Parmesan cheese if you can manage the additional sodium. Just remember that 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese has about 72 mg of sodium!

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