What is Black Salt? Discover Its Powerful Benefits PLUS 5 Tasty Recipes

In this episode of The Vegetarian Zen podcast, we talk about black salt, also known as Himalayan black salt or kala namak. We discuss its benefits and side effects, share where you can buy it, and provide a few recipes to kickstart your adventures in cooking with this seasoning.

No time to listen? No problem! Read on for a quick summary of what we discuss.

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scoop of black salt

What is Black Salt?

Black salt is one of those things I had never heard of before I became plant-based.  As I researched my new lifestyle I began seeing this ingredient in plant-based recipes.

It is a type of rock salt commonly used in Asian and Indian food, primarily for its umami flavor.

It comes from salt mines in Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and a few other Himalayan Mountain locales. It can also be produced synthetically.

It consists of sodium chloride plus trace amounts of sodium sulfate, sodium bisulfate, sodium bisulfite, sodium sulfide, iron sulfide, and hydrogen sulfide.

Despite being called “black” some varieties can have more of a pinkish or gray hue.


What Does Black Salt Taste Like?

Kala namak has an umami taste, making it great for Indian and Asian foods. Umami is one of the 5 basic tastes and is described as savory and even “meaty.” This is also why it works well in plant-based cuisine–it adds the taste without the meat!

In addition to being savory, it also has a sulfurous taste and smell that is similar to eggs. Some plant-based dishes like vegan tuna and scrambled tofu may include black salt as a way of adding eggy flavor.


Health Benefits of Black Salt

Kala namak has been around for a long time and is often associated with Ayurvedic medicine and holistic healing. While these holistic healing claims are primarily anecdotal, some benefits do have scientific backing.

  • Good For Digestion

Black salt is said to have a “cooling effect” on the body and has been used to treat gas, heartburn, bloating, and indigestion. This is primarily because it helps your liver make bile and ramps up your body’s ability to absorb vitamins in the small intestine.


  • Lower Sodium Than Regular Table Salt

Because it has a slightly lower sodium content than traditional table salt, black salt can be a great way to season your food without all of the extra sodium. Don’t go overboard, though! It still has sodium so if this is something you’re concerned with, use it moderately.


  • Fewer Additives

Because it is less processed than traditional table salt, it contains fewer potentially harmful additives such as anti-caking ingredients.


  • Use In Body Scrubs

Salt scrubs in general are great for removing dry, dead skin and improving circulation. The magnesium in salt can also help to flush away toxins. The added minerals in black salt give it an extra boost of goodness to your body.


Are There Any Side Effects of Black Salt?

While there isn’t a ton of information to suggest that it’s bad for you or has negative side effects, some people have experienced nausea or upset stomach when consuming it.

It’s also important to know that, unlike traditional table salt, black salt isn’t iodized. Because our bodies need iodine to ensure proper thyroid functioning, be sure that you are finding other sources of iodine if you use it in place of iodized salt.

Black salt can also alter your blood pressure, so always check with your doctor before using it (or any new supplement), particularly if you have preexisting conditions.


Where Can I Buy Black Salt?

Because it isn’t that uncommon, you can find kala namak at most large grocery stores, Your local Indian or Asian grocer should also carry it.  Additionally, as with most things, you can easily purchase black salt online.

Rani Black Salt (Kala Namak Mineral) Powder
  • Gluten-free
  • Non-GMO
  • No harmful additives such as anti-caking or anti-dumping agents
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5 Recipes To Get You Started with Black Salt

  1. Super Eggy Tofu Scramble from Loving It Vegan

If you’re an egg-loving vegetarian just looking to reduce your consumption, a tofu scramble using kala namak is a great way to do this.

This eggy dish from Loving It Vegan will have you asking, “What eggs?”


  1. Vegan “Egg” and Veggie Stir Fry from Elephantastic Vegan

What I love about stir fry is that the leftovers heat up nicely. This recipe only takes about 15 minutes to cook and will leave you with leftovers for days.


  1. Black Salt Egg Salad by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

With just 7 ingredients and no animal products, you can whip up this lunch deli favorite vegan-style.


  1. Chaat Sauce (Chaat Masala Dressing) from My Heart Beats

Add some spice to your next fruit salad or ANY dish by adding some of this Chaat sauce. So versatile!


  1. Jal Jeera: Refreshing Indian Spiced Lemonade from One Green Planet

Let’s finish off our list of veg dishes with a drink. This refreshing drink is vegan and gluten-free and takes just minutes to make. A nice twist to traditional lemonade.



We hope this has helped you understand what black salt is and has given you some good ideas to get you started cooking!


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