10 Awesome Soy Sauce Substitutes That are Healthy and Tasty

Soy sauce alternative made with Worcestershire sauce and water
A dash of soy sauce is potent enough to add that quintessential oriental flavor to any delicacy. However, the need to find soy sauce substitutes has become essential nowadays given that numerous people are allergic to wheat present in soy sauces and also intend to avoid gluten in commercially available ones.
Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good. ~ Alice May Brock
Owing to its oriental flavor, soy sauce today has pervaded myriad cuisines and is widely used for not only its aroma but also the beautiful deep dark color that it infuses in any dish. Being Chinese in origin, soy sauces have been in use for over 2,500 years now and multiple Japanese, Indonesian, and Malaysian versions of it are available in the market, along with the original Chinese variations. However, one of the primary soy sauce ingredients is wheat. This poses problems for people who are victims of wheat allergy and thus, cannot indulge in the condiment. From this arises the need to tap other soy sauce substitutes. While some people do use balsamic vinegar with a good amount of salt added or olive brine or even ume plum vinegar (a.k.a. umeboshi vinegar) for that salty effect with a unique flavor instead of soy sauce, let us see the various alternatives that one can concoct and use in recipes that require helpings of this condiment.
Soy Sauce Alternatives
1) Opt for this when:

... you are looking for a substitute for soy sauce which can be stored for sometime. This concoction can be used for a month, if stored in the refrigerator.

... you want an alternative which is actually the best choice for those who are on a low-sodium diet owing to high blood pressure or cardiovascular issues.

... you wish to reap the health benefits of blackstrap molasses which includes regularization of bowel movement, arthritic pain relief, and restoration of color to graying hair.

Can be Replaced with: 5 garlic cloves + ½ a quart of white wine vinegar + 1½ tablespoons of peppercorns + 1 tablespoon of onion powder + ¼ of a teaspoon of ground ginger + 5 tablespoons of blackstrap (a spirituous mixture of rum and molasses)

Procedure:

>Prepare the garlic vinegar by adding the garlic cloves to the boiling white wine vinegar along with the peppercorns.

>Take it off the heat and then let it stand covered for 3 weeks.

>Run about 1¾ cups of this prepared garlic vinegar through a seive.

>After that, add the onion powder and ground ginger to the strained garlic vinegar.

>Next, add about 5 tablespoons of blackstrap (a spirituous mixture of rum and molasses) into it and taste.

Keep in Mind: You must take care to add the blackstrap or the vinegar in tandem with how sour or sweet you want it to be.
This mixture is very similar to the one given above.

2) Opt for this when:

... you do not have all the ingredients mentioned in the recipe above.

... you are hard-pressed for time but can finish the preparatory steps for making this concoction the evening before the day you need to use the substitute.

... you need to make a smaller batch quantity-wise.
... you do not mind making something that can be stored for 30 days and has a pretty low sodium content.

Can be Replaced with: 2 garlic cloves + ¾ cup of vinegar + 3 tablespoons of dark molasses + 3 teaspoons of onion powder

Procedure:

>Begin by warming the vinegar and add sliced cloves of garlic to it.

>Remove this mixture from the heat and let it stand covered for at least 10 hours (i.e., overnight).

>Next morning, run the solution through a sieve.

>Now add the dark molasses and onion powder to this clear solution.

>Mix the ingredients with a ladle and then pour the entire thing into a glass jar.

>Place this in the fridge for all the flavors to commingle.

>Before you wish to use this, you will need to shake and heat the liquid a tad.

Keep in Mind: Yield is approximately a cup.
3) Opt for this when:

... you do not have more than 15 minutes.
... you need to make a smaller batch quantity-wise.
... you need a substitute for people with acute soy allergies.
... you would love to make a fill-in marked with an accentuated savory or umami flavor that is generally brought forth by glutamates.

Can be Replaced with: 1½ cups of water + 4 tablespoons of beef bouillon + 4 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar (use apple cider vinegar if you wish to do away with the sulfite content) + 2 teaspoons of molasses (the dark variety) + ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger + 1 pinch of garlic powder + 1 pinch of white pepper

Procedure:

>You need to first commingle the water, the beef bouillon, the balsamic vinegar, molasses, ground ginger, and the garlic powder, and white pepper in a sauce pan.

>Let the concoction boil on medium-high heat until the quantity left behind is no more than one cup.

Keep in Mind: Yield is approximately a cup.
4) Opt for this when:

... you need an alternative that can be consumed during the 8 holy days of Passover.

... you do not have more than an hour.

... you need the replacement to last for only about 3 to 4 days.

Can be Replaced with: ¼ cup of water + 2 tablespoons of beef stock + 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar + 1 tablespoon of brown sugar + 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar + 1 teaspoon of cooking oil + ⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder + 1 pinch of black pepper

Procedure:

>Boil the water, take it off the heat, and to it add the beef stock, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, cooking oil, garlic powder, and some black pepper to taste.

>Let this solution stand for 60 minutes or so.

>This will allow all the different flavors of the ingredients to meld. And your soy sauce replacement is ready.

>If you want a denser sauce, bring the liquid to a steady boil. Once you see that only 3 tablespoons of it is left behind, use it for your delectables.

Keep in Mind: Yield is about ⅔ of a cup.
5) Opt for this when:

... you need a vegan-friendly replacement.

... you want an option that can be stored in well-sealed containers for as long as you want!

... you want an alternative which is actually the best choice for those who are on a low-sodium diet owing to high blood pressure or cardiovascular issues.

Can be Replaced with: 1½ cups of vegetable stock + 1½ cups of water + 4 tablespoons of cider vinegar + 1 tablespoon of dark molasses + 1 teaspoon of sesame oil + ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger + 1 pinch of pepper + 1 pinch of salt

Procedure:

>Blend together the vegetable stock, simmering water, cider vinegar, dark molasses, sesame oil, ground ginger, and a pinch of pepper and salt.

>Once all the ingredients form 2 cups worth of uniform liquid.

>For a denser sauce, boil the concoction till the quantity reduces to half (i.e., by one cup).

Keep in Mind: Yield is about 2 cups. Use 4 tablespoons of low-sodium, clear, seasoned beef broth powder instead of the vegetable stock if you do not need it to be vegan.
6) Opt for this when:

... you want a sub that can be made with the bare-minimum you have in the kitchen and yet you get a liquid potent enough to substitute for 1 cup of soy condiment.

Can be Replaced with: 8 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce + 2 tablespoons of water

Procedure: Just blend these two well et voila!
7) Opt for this when: ... you are looking for a substitute that has the longest shelf life - 6 whole months!

Can be Replaced with: 1 cup of water + 2 tablespoons of beef bouillon cubes (preferably the low-sodium variety) + 1 tablespoon of white vinegar + ½ a teaspoon of sesame OR vegetable oil + a pinch of freshly ground black pepper + a pinch of mustard powder

Procedure:

>Just dissolve the beef bouillon cubes into the cup of piping hot water.

>Once you get a solution with no lumps, add in the sesame or vegetable oil, freshly ground black pepper, mustard powder, and white vinegar.

>Refrigerate in a clean bottle.

>Shake the bottle well before you use it in a dish.

Keep in Mind: Make sure that the sauce is not chilled when you employ it to flavor up a dish.
8) Opt for this when:

... you want a sweeter soy sauce substitute.
... you want to make it really quickly.
... you want to reap balsamic vinegar health benefits of reduced cardiovascular problems and increased digestion.

Can be Replaced with: 90 ml of balsamic vinegar + 240 ml of molasses + sugar

Procedure:

>Just pour the balsamic vinegar and the molasses in a vessel.

>Add sugar according to how sweet you want it to be.

>Then whip them together to make a smooth sauce.
Gluten-free Soy Sauce Substitute
Most commercially sold soy sauces contain gluten, a protein composite, which causes chronic digestive problems in some people. For such gluten-intolerant people, the Chickpea Miso from South River Miso makes for an splendid choice. It has no soy ingredients in it, but it works wonders owing to its saltiness. Also, liquid aminos make for excellent soy sauce stand-ins, as they use caramel for imbuing purposes which are essentially gluten-free. These aminos are also low in sodium content. In fact, my favorite among these aminos happens to be a coconut-based one. You can buy such easily available and comfortably priced liquid aminos from the market. However, if you are also allergic to coconuts, then try the following concoction for a gluten-free soy condiment alternative.

9) Opt for this when:

... you are looking for a particular alternative that can also be consumed by people with coconut allergies.
... you cannot live without your regular consumption of Chinese food and need to make a soy sauce substitute at home that will prove to be more economical when stored well.

... you are looking for a substitute for soy sauce which can be stored for a considerable amount of time.

Can be Replaced with: 3 cups of water + ¼ cup of pure red wine vinegar (ensure that there is absolutely no malt present in the vinegar as any malt presence will mean the existence of gluten in the mixture) + ¼ cup of honey + 1 teaspoon of salt + ¼ of a teaspoon of ground ginger + ¼ of a teaspoon of ground garlic + ¼ of a teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper

Procedure:

>Add the malt-free red wine and honey to the water in a heating pan.

>Next, the minced ginger, minced garlic, and coarsely ground black pepper.

>Finally, put in the salt.

>Use a spoon to mix the ingredients once and then put it on the gas for boiling.

>Boil the mixture for at least 15 - 20 minutes straight.

>Once it has reduced to a volume of no more than ½ a cup, take the pot off the flame and allow the liquid to cool.

>Store this in a clean glass bottle with a fairly tight lid.

>If you do not want the bits of ginger and garlic to float in your sauce, strain it before pouring it in the bottle.
10) Opt for this when:

... you want a super easy recipe.

... you do not have more than 7 minutes to prepare the alternative.
.
.. you do not mind reaping some sesame oil benefits through the minerals of zinc, calcium, and magnesium, as well as the antioxidants present in the prescribed oil dosage for this recipe.

Can be Replaced with: 6 tablespoons of no-sodium gluten-free beef bouillon + ¾ cup of hot water + 3 tablespoons of red wine + 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar + 3 tablespoons of sesame oil + 6 teaspoons of molasses + ¼ teaspoon of gluten-free garlic powder + a sprinkle of ground black pepper

Procedure:

>Just mix the beef bouillon, hot water, red wine, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, molasses, garlic powder, and the ground black pepper.

>Now, just keep boiling this liquid until it reduces to only half of its original quantity.

>Store this thick liquid in a glass bottle and allow it to stand for four days before using it in a dish.

>If you are okay with it being thin, then just do not boil the mixture, but allow it to stand undisturbed for about 2 hours so that the individual aromas of each ingredient can mingle to create a combined super flavor and then use it immediately after.

Keep in Mind: Yield is approximately a cup when thickened.
Advertisement
Believe me, there will be minimal detectable taste differences in the delicacies you cook up using these soy sauce substitutes, that too by people with exceptionally sensitive and experienced palates. So, use them without fear, as they can add to the health quotient of your diet without drastic compromises of taste.