Healthier Condiments

homemade ketchup

Many store bought condiments, like salad dressings and soy sauce, are high in salt. Lower sodium versions exist but they aren’t available everywhere or may still have a lot of salt.

As a tasty alternative, whip up you own condiments in your kitchen – you’ll save money, too!


Most store-bought ketchups aren’t too high in salt as long as you use only a tablespoon or less. These ketchups usually have extra sugar added in the form of high fructose corn syrup, another unwanted addition.

If you use ketchup often, here are some heart-healthy options to try:

  • Look for low-sodium or no-salt-added, no-added-sugar versions.
  • Try homemade salsa for a topping – you still get that tomato flavor but with less processed ingredients.
  • Make your own! Cook the following ingredients together on the stove at medium heat for an hour, adjusting the amounts to your liking:
    • 1 (6 ounce) can low sodium tomato paste
    • 1 tablespoons brown sugar or substitute sugar-brown sugar blend
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Hot Sauce

There are thousands of types of hot sauces from around the world. Their common ingredient? Chili peppers! Unfortunately, many of these sauces are high in sodium.

Here are some other ways to add heat to your food:

  • Use chopped hot peppers, like jalapeno, poblano or chipotle as an ingredient or a topping. Get these tips for cooking with peppers!
  • Try a few dashes of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
  • Make your own! Blend together in a blender:
    • 2 jalapeno peppers with seeds
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 2 tablespoons vinegar
    • 1 (6 ounce) can low-sodium tomato paste

Salad Dressings

Sodium levels in store bought dressings vary from medium to sky high. Often the ‘light’ or ‘fat free’ versions have even more than the original! It’s easy to make your own.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is extremely high in salt - in fact, just 1 tablespoon provides more than half of the daily 1,500 mg amount of sodium that the American Heart Association recommends! The reduced-sodium versions are still fairly high.

Instead, try this simple recipe that mimics the savory, meaty flavor of soy sauce:

  • 1 cup low sodium beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (balsamic, cider or rice)
  • 2 teaspoons molasses or brown sugar or substitute sugar-brown sugar blend
  • 1/8 teaspoon of each: ginger powder, garlic powder, black pepper & salt

Whisk all ingredients in pot. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute then reduce heat to medium. Cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Note: This recipe is a good substitute for other Asian condiments that tend to be high in salt like fish, hoisin, oyster and teriyaki sauces.

Last reviewed 1/2015

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