In 1964, the US Supreme Court had to determine whether or not the state of Ohio might ban the exhibiting of Louis Malle’s film The Lovers on the grounds that it was pornographic. Justice Potter Stewart, writing to strike down the ban, admitted that whereas he couldn’t give a exact definition of obscenity, however, “I know it when I see it.”

Somewhat equally, there’s numerous debate over what meals qualify as “condiments.” Some are fairly apparent: ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard. But what about dressings? Bacon bits? Hummus? Rather than give you a condiment definition, definitive condiment record, or file any Supreme Court briefs about it, let’s simply say that any spice, sauce, dip, or topping that provides potent taste or texture to a dish is, for our functions, a condiment.

Many meals can go both method, relying on how you employ them. Add barbecue sauce to a lentil sloppy joe recipe, and it’s an ingredient. Drizzle it on prime of an already baked lentil loaf, and voila — a condiment. Top your salad with ranch dressing, and it’s a condiment. Put it in a bowl subsequent to a uncooked veggie platter, and it’s a dip.

Typically, condiments add robust flavors to dishes. They may be candy (maple syrup), salty (soy sauce), spicy (sriracha), savory (tartar sauce), or regularly, a mix. All cultures have their very own well-liked condiments. In truth, condiments are sometimes essentially the most emblematic meals representing explicit cultures. Think of Cajun scorching pepper sauces like Tabasco and Crystal, Indonesian peanut sauce, Japanese miso, and Mexican salsa.

Popular Condiments List

Mustard, mayo, and ketchup condiment botttles

While there are many unique and area of interest condiments (the Wikipedia entry listed so many who my hand obtained uninterested in scrolling earlier than I reached the P’s in an alphabetical record), many people depend on a brief condiments record after we need to amp up our meals. In the United States it sometimes contains:

  • Ketchup
  • Mayo
  • BBQ & steak sauce
  • Pancake syrup
  • Soy sauce
  • Ranch dressing
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Whipped cream
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Cheese

The Problem with Most of These Condiments

Woman putting ketchup and mustard on fast food

To be clear, I don’t maintain condiments to the identical requirements of dietary excellence as different meals. If a condiment is a bit excessive in unhealthy fats or sodium, that is probably not a giant deal so long as we deal with it as a condiment. Which is to say, in small quantities. We all know an individual or two who will drown their burgers in ketchup and undergo pancake syrup by the cup as a substitute of the tablespoon. That’s not wholesome! Condiments generally is a bit saltier than our common meals with out inflicting hurt, although solely if we devour them in small quantities.

If a condiment is a bit excessive in unhealthy fats or sodium, that is probably not a giant deal so long as we deal with it as a condiment. Which is to say, in small quantities.

And even after we deal with condiments as condiments, numerous them are problematic. Many mayos and dressings are stuffed with GMO substances like canola or soybean oil. Some condiments attempt to pack an additional punch of taste by together with the flavour enhancer MSG, which reportedly may cause complications, coronary heart palpitations, and nausea in prone folks. And many are stuffed with so-called “natural flavors,” most of that are removed from pure. And they’re deemed secure by the US authorities by way of numerous loopholes that cover the truth that there’s no testing accomplished, and we actually do not know how they’re affecting our well being.

Many condiments are shockingly excessive in added sugar, both because the acquainted white crystals or within the type of excessive fructose corn syrup, which just about all the time comes from genetically modified corn. They’re additionally fairly often excessive in sodium, which contributes to coronary heart illness. And numerous standard condiments are made fairly with dangerous synthetic meals dyes.

Numerous the preferred condiments are dairy-based, like shredded cheese, whipped cream, bitter cream, creamy dressings, margarine, and butter. Dairy is linked to most cancers, coronary heart illness, and lots of allergic reactions, in addition to being fraught with environmental and moral issues.

And most store-bought condiments are extremely processed, with all of the fiber stripped out to intensify the remaining flavors.

Top 10 Healthy Condiments

Crudite with variety of sauces, dips, and spices

But concern not! Just as a result of many well-liked condiments don’t belong in a nutritious diet, doesn’t imply you might have to eat plain celery sticks or bare tofu canines. There are loads of scrumptious and wholesome condiments you should buy. And lots of them are literally very easy to make at residence, with minimal substances and instruments.

Here are some more healthy condiments that can fulfill your style buds with out damaging the remainder of you:


Of all of the store-bought condiments, mustard is often the cleanest — with the fewest substances. Even a nationwide model like Heinz provides a good yellow mustard. Its substances embrace distilled white vinegar (warning: it might come from GMO grains), mustard seed, water, salt, turmeric, pure taste, and spices. The solely pink flag right here, apart from doable GMOs within the vinegar, is the “natural flavor.” And, excellent news right here, Heinz natural model of its yellow mustard is non-GMO and pure flavor-free.

Look for mustards which are coloured with turmeric fairly than meals dyes (not solely are meals dyes problematic, turmeric is a fairly wonderful superfood). Whole grain mustards use entire mustard seeds fairly than floor powder — an additional bonus. And be certain that the producer hasn’t added sugar or different flavorings.

Hot Sauce

Most scorching sauces, like mustards, include just a few key substances like peppers, vinegar, and salt. Vinegar may be wholesome (intention for natural or non-GMO licensed), and scorching peppers can help digestion, contribute to wholesome intestine micro organism, and are even related to longer life expectancy.

When selecting a scorching sauce, be careful for extra sodium. Tabasco’s authentic pink sauce has simply 35 mg of sodium per teaspoon-sized serving, whereas Louisiana scorching sauce delivers 210 mg per serving. But if, like most individuals, you’re consuming your scorching sauce by the splash, or at most by the teaspoon, sodium doubtless isn’t an enormous concern. A bit of can go a good distance, particularly with names like Spontaneous Combustion, Belligerent Blaze, and Dave’s Insanity Sauce. (And these are the PG ones!)

Fermented Foods

These add a ton of taste and are sometimes excessive in probiotics and nutritional vitamins. Also, they’re much less doubtless to embrace preservatives, because the fermentation course of itself preserves the meals. Look for kimchis and sauerkrauts that want refrigeration. And, if doable, purchase from native, small-batch producers that get their veggies from the farmers close to you. Fermented meals may be very salty, so use them reasonably (or make them the salt supply in a dish). Again, a bit goes a good distance with tangy, and particularly spicy, fermented meals.

Herbs and Spices

Condiments don’t have to be fancy sauces, in fact. Herbs and spices can add new flavors, in addition to deliver out the flavors already in your meals. Researchers discovered that folks loved broccoli way more when flavored with a mix of garlic, onion, pepper, and basil. Fresh or dried thyme leaf is an efficient pal to beans and lentils. And you’ll be able to add pop and zest to your steamed carrots, beets, and cauliflower by sprinkling contemporary or dried dill simply earlier than serving.

Many herbs and spices have highly effective well being advantages, too, so you’ll be able to take pleasure in each their health-enhancing and culinary properties.

Salsa and Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes are a superb supply of biotin, potassium, iron, and zinc. They’re among the finest sources of lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces irritation in addition to situations associated to oxidative stress. And they’re good for coronary heart well being, too. So deliver on the salsas and tomato sauces!

Classic pink salsa, constituted of tomatoes, onions, and jalapeno peppers, can perk up bean and lentil dishes, in addition to something within the Tex-Mex class. But it’s also possible to shake salsa on actually easy dishes to flip them into satisfying meals. Pour salsa onto a baked potato or a bowl of steamed greens, to go from bland and boring to ultra-yummy. You can even use salsa as a salad dressing, particularly over chunky salads with carrots, bell peppers, pink onions, and tomato wedges.

Even common previous tomato sauce can function a condiment over baked or air-fried potatoes or candy potatoes, or on prime of a freshly minimize bowl of zoodles (zucchini spiralized into noodle shapes). Tomato sauce will get even more healthy and extra flavorful with the addition of mushrooms, garlic, and basil. For a wild time, toss in some chopped olive and pink pepper flakes to create a piquant puttanesca sauce.

You can usually discover clear and natural salsas and tomato sauces in supermarkets (search for decrease sodium and keep away from unhealthy oils and dairy, particularly within the tomato sauces). And another choice is to make your personal. That method, you’ll be able to have it contemporary, taste it precisely to your tastes, and maximize the antioxidants, nutritional vitamins, and minerals in your condiments.


While most store-bought ketchup incorporates numerous sugar (even in healthy-looking natural ones, sugar is commonly the second ingredient after tomato paste), you may make your personal tangy and candy, sugar-free model that takes benefit of the synergistic well being results of tomatoes cooked with herbs and spices. If you’re on the lookout for a particular model, Primal Kitchen makes some fairly scrumptious sugar-free ketchup.


Tahini is a paste constituted of sesame seeds that’s highly regarded in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean international locations, the place it’s used to prime falafel, salads, and fundamental dishes. In its basic type, the thick paste is combined with a mix of water and lemon juice to a runny consistency, then drizzled over nearly any savory dish. Thanks to the sesame seeds, it supplies iron, calcium, and protein, and is nice for coronary heart well being. Tahini is a good alternative for fatty and creamy condiments constituted of processed oils and dairy.


This spicy root may be grated and used to prime veggie dishes, casseroles, and stews. It’s not the “mouth-on-fire” spicy you get from scorching peppers; as a substitute, it’s extra of the “blow your sinuses off” spicy you could be aware of should you’ve eaten sushi with wasabi paste. Horseradish is a dietary in addition to taste powerhouse, sporting anti-bacterial and anti inflammatory properties, in addition to being nice for intestine well being. If you’re questioning about its pedigree, horseradish doesn’t, in actual fact, have any identified historic relationship to massive hooved mammals. Instead, it belongs to the royal household of brassicas, which incorporates dietary superstars like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and different antioxidant heroes.

Fresh and Frozen Fruit

Why not chop some apples and pears in your veggie or rice salad? Or drizzle the defrosted juice and berries from a bag of frozen raspberries onto a inexperienced salad. Fruit provides you sweetness in a wholesome bundle and provides antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. What’s not to love?

Nutritional Yeast

No plant-based record of wholesome condiments could be full with out mentioning the terribly-named but incredibly-delicious dietary yeast, which is available in both flake or powder type. Nooch, because it’s typically known as (and what different meals has a nickname that lovable?) is excessive in plant-based protein and B nutritional vitamins. And it’s regularly deployed as an alternative to cheese. You can combine nooch in a meals processor with flippantly pan-roasted nuts and seeds (cashews and sunflower do properly), together with a bit salt and a few caraway and fennel seed), and find yourself with a scrumptious various to grated parmesan cheese for Italian dishes.

Healthy Condiment Recipes

If you’re keen on mayonnaise or ketchup, you’ll be able to actually discover store-bought variations a lot more healthy than Hellman’s and Heinz. Look for variations with out GMOs, unhealthy oils, sugars, “natural” flavorings. And, within the case of mayonnaise-type merchandise, search for variations made with out industrial eggs. Generally, keep away from any “diet” variations, as these have a tendency to include synthetic sweeteners and presumably bizarre thickeners as effectively. To be extra-safe, search for natural varieties. Or, take issues into your personal arms and make your favourite condiments at residence utilizing wholesome, entire meals. Here are some wholesome condiments you’ll be able to whip up each time the temper strikes.

Easy Vegan Mayo

Healthy condiments: Easy vegan mayo

This easy, plant-based vegan condiment is mayo after which some. Not solely can or not it’s your go-to unfold for plant-based burgers, bowls, and sandwiches, however it’s also possible to use it as a base for different flavored sauces. Add garlic to make an aioli, jalapeño to make a spicy dip, or curry to make an Indian-inspired unfold. The choices are infinite!

Lemon Tahini Sauce

Healthy condiments: Lemon tahini sauce

The nutty tahini mixed with lemon and cumin makes for the proper mix on this sauce that’s so good, it’s nearly drinkable (no judgment right here)!  Add a bit extra water than what’s listed within the recipe for a scrumptious salad dressing. Or go away it as is for a flavorful sauce that’s yummy on prime of grain bowls, candy potatoes, or as a dip for veggies.

Garlicky Cheesy Hemp Spread

Healthy condiments: Garlicky cheesy hemp seed spread

The dietary evaluation for this tacky topper is fairly spectacular — beneficiant quantities of B nutritional vitamins, 5 grams of fiber per 2-tablespoon serving, with respectable ranges of zinc and selenium, as effectively. Nutritional yeast provides it a tacky style, whereas miso lends an umami taste. And hemp provides an additional enhance in diet. Made with solely 5 substances, this can be the best plant-based “cheese” you’ll ever make!

Vegan BBQ Sauce

Healthy condiments: Vegan bbq sauce

Enjoy this candy and tangy vegan condiment in a sandwich, on prime of baked natural tempeh or tofu, or with grilled greens. This home made model tempts your style buds with a savory mix of spices in nutrient-dense natural tomato paste with out extreme sugar.

Mint Chutney

Healthy condiments: Mint chutney

Can condiments be refreshing? This chutney positive is! Made with contemporary mint, cilantro, avocado, and lemon, you’re receiving a pleasing mix of vitamins with every tablespoon. This Mint Chutney incorporates wholesome fats from avocado, vitamin C from the greens, and citrus, not to point out loads of phytonutrients!

Healthy Condiments for the Win

Woman with veggies and dip ignjatovic

Condiments are a good way to enliven peculiar dishes and meals. By considering “outside the squeeze bottle,” you’ll be able to deliver fabulous flavors and nice textures into your food regimen with out filling your self with junky substances. Healthy condiments can delight your palate and improve your life!

Tell us within the feedback:

  • What are your favourite wholesome condiments?
  • What new condiment would you like to attempt subsequent? And what’s going to you place it on?
  • Are there any uncommon condiments that you simply like?

Feature picture: Shadrina

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