We’re three years into our low sodium lifestyle and I generally don’t crave fast food with two exceptions: McDonald’s egg McMuffins and In-N-Out, where you can apparently order an unsalted patty and unsalted fries, though I haven’t tried. Thankfully a really tasty homemade egg McMuffin isn’t out of reach. If you can get a Trader Joe’s English muffin and some lower sodium Canadian bacon, it’s as easy as steaming an egg. Or for an even lower sodium option, try making your own English muffins. I know it sounds daunting but they’re easier than I thought they would be and they freeze really well.
325 mg of sodium: This requires very little cooking (just the egg), tastes very much like a McDonald's egg McMuffin, and can easily fit into a 1,500 mg per day sodium diet. Start with a Trader Joe's English muffin (70 mg sodium-there's even a whole wheat option), one egg (70 mg sodium), one slice of Sargento thin sliced cheddar (70 mg sodium), and one slice of Kroger Canadian bacon (120 mg sodium). I think McDonald's uses butter to toast their bread, so you can add unsalted butter without changing the sodium. The cheese isn't actually low sodium, it's just a very thin slice that comes in at just under half an ounce--enough to give the sandwich plenty of flavor. If you can't find the Sargento's cheese, just have your deli slice the cheddar very thin. If you can't find a good Canadian bacon that works, Boar's head makes a low sodium ham.
261 mg of sodium: Swap out the Trader Joe's English muffin for a homemade low sodium English muffin and you can get the sandwich down to 261 mg of sodium. I know the thought of making your own English muffins sounds daunting, but they're much easier than most other breads I've tried and did you know they're cooked on the stove/griddle and not in the oven? They also freeze well. Use Swiss cheese in place of cheddar for even less sodium.
111 mg of sodium: This one is a bit of a departure from a McDonald's egg McMuffin because I use Swiss cheese and replace the Canadian bacon with a few slices of fresh tomatoes. But the combination of melted Swiss, fresh tomato and steamed egg is really good and will satisfy your breakfast sandwich cravings at just 111 mg of sodium. Start with a homemade low sodium English muffin , add a steamed egg, slice of thin sliced Swiss cheese, a few slices of fresh tomato, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
How to steam the egg
Now what about that egg? If you're really looking for that egg McMuffin taste you have to steam the egg. Here's the method I use, inspired by Serious Eats.
Start by lightly oiling a nonstick pan (mine is 10 inches) and a round mold. I use biscuit cutters for my mold, but any round, heat-safe mold will work (Serious Eats uses the lid of a wide mouth mason jar!). Allow the pan to get hot on high heat, and then crack one egg into the mold. Lightly pierce the yolk and let it cook for a few seconds. Then add about 1/4 cup of water, and cover to let the egg steam. Total cooking time is about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your egg. By 3 minutes the water should have evaporated and the egg will be well done. That's it!
McDonald's has a nice nutrition calculator and it turns out the single saltiest component of the egg McMuffin is the English muffin. Check it out here. I guess that's why bread is one of the salty six.