What is a Condiment?
A condiment is a spice, sauce, or preparation that is added to food, after cooking, to impart a specific flavor, to enhance the flavor, or to complement the dish. A table condiment or table sauce is more specifically a condiment that is served separately from the food and is added to taste by the diner.
Right now if you think about condiments the common three would be ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard. These are the ones that you will see on a restaurant table available for the diners. In most fast food restaurant, they now supply you with these condiments in a small package especially if the food was to go.
Different Kinds of Condiments.
When I checked to see these different kinds of condiments, I didn’t realize that we have so many at hand and it was listed as much as fifty. My goodness, I wonder if anyone ever used them all.
What I can list here are those that are very commonly known and used in everyday settings. Otherwise, I would be writing a novel. They typically include,
- BBQ & steak sauce
- Pancake syrup
- Soy sauce
- Ranch dressing
- Chocolate syrup
- Whipped cream
- Teriyaki sauce
- Fish Sauce
- Tartar Sauce
- Thousand Island Dressing
The Definitive Ranking of Your Favorite Condiments
- Most Trusted Condiment Brands. The winner of our Most Trusted Brands poll was Heinz, with a full 29 percent of the vote. …
- #12 Pickle Relish. …
- #9 Basil Pesto. …
- #4 Soy Sauce. …
- #2 Mustard. …
- #1 Mayonnaise.
As you see here on the list, the number one condiment is mayonnaise. That’s right—mayonnaise! According to sales figures, the creamy sandwich spread regularly accounts for more than $2 billion in annual revenue. Many consider mayo to be the top condiment in the U.S.
A Little Warning About Condiments.
Most of these condiments are loaded with sodium (salt). (For more information on salt, please click here. Thank you so much) or unhealthy fat which contributes to heart disease. A little bit of common sense here as with other things, use it sparingly.
We all know and maybe you as well who will drown their burgers in ketchup and go through pancake syrup by the cup instead of the tablespoon. That’s going overboard, surely not healthy at all.
Many mayos and dressings are full of GMO ingredients like canola or soybean oil. Some condiments try to pack an extra punch of flavor by including the flavor enhancer MSG, which reportedly can cause headaches, heart palpitations, and nausea in susceptible people.
Many are full of so-called “natural flavors,” most of which are far from natural. And they’re deemed safe by the US government via various loopholes that hide the fact that there’s no testing done, and we really have no idea how they’re affecting our health.
Many condiments are shockingly high in added sugar, (For more information on sugar please click here. Thank you so much) either as the familiar white crystals or in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which almost always comes from genetically modified corn. A lot of conventional condiments are made pretty with harmful artificial food dyes.
A number of the most popular condiments are dairy-based, like shredded cheese, whipped cream, sour cream, creamy dressings, margarine, and butter. Dairy is linked to cancer, heart disease, and many allergies, as well as being fraught with environmental and ethical concerns.
Furthermore, most store-bought condiments are highly processed, with all the fiber stripped out to intensify the remaining flavors.
Top 10 Healthy Condiments
There are plenty of delicious and healthy condiments you can buy and here are some healthier condiments that will satisfy your palate without feeling guilty.
1. Herbs and Spices
Condiments don’t have to be fancy sauces, of course. Herbs and spices can add new flavors, as well as bring out the flavors already in your food. Researchers found that people enjoyed broccoli much more when flavored with a combination of garlic, (For more information on garlic, please click here. Thank you so much) onion, pepper, and basil.
Fresh or dried thyme leaf is a good friend to beans and lentils. And you can add pop and zest to your steamed carrots, beets, (For more information on beets, please click here. Thank you so much), and cauliflower by sprinkling fresh or dried dill just before serving.
Many herbs and spices have powerful health benefits, too, so you can enjoy both their health-enhancing and culinary properties.
2. Fermented Foods
These add a ton of flavor and are typically high in probiotics and vitamins. Also, they’re less likely to include preservatives, since the fermentation process itself preserves the food. Look for kimchis and sauerkraut that need refrigeration. And, if possible, buy from local, small-batch producers that get their veggies from the farmers near you. Fermented foods can be very salty, so use them moderately (or make them the salt source in a dish). Again, a little goes a long way with tangy, and especially spicy, fermented foods.
Of all the store-bought condiments, mustard is usually the cleanest — with the fewest ingredients. Even a national brand like Heinz offers decent yellow mustard. Its ingredients include distilled white vinegar (warning: it could come from GMO grains), mustard seed, water, (For more information on water, please click here. Thank you so much), salt, turmeric, natural flavor, and spices.
The only red flag here, other than possible GMOs in the vinegar, is the “natural flavor.” And, the good news here, Heinz’s organic version of its yellow mustard is non-GMO and natural flavor-free.
Look for mustard that is colored with turmeric rather than food dyes (not only are food dyes problematic, turmeric is a pretty amazing superfood). (For more information on turmeric, please click here. Thank you so much). Whole grain mustard use whole mustard seeds rather than ground powder — an extra bonus. And make sure the manufacturer hasn’t added sugar or other flavorings.
Most hot sauces, like mustard, contain a few key ingredients like peppers, vinegar, and salt. Vinegar can be healthy (aim for organic or non-GMO certified), and hot peppers can aid digestion, contribute to healthy gut bacteria, and are even associated with longer life expectancy.
When choosing a hot sauce, watch out for excess sodium. Tabasco’s original red sauce has just 35 mg of sodium per teaspoon-sized serving, while Louisiana hot sauce delivers 210 mg per serving. But if like most people, you’re consuming your hot sauce by the splash, or at most by the teaspoon, sodium likely isn’t a huge concern. A little can go a long way, especially with names like Spontaneous Combustion, Belligerent Blaze, and Dave’s Insanity Sauce. (And those are the PG ones!)
While most store-bought ketchup contains a lot of sugar (even in healthy-looking organic ones, sugar is often the second ingredient after tomato paste), you can make your own tangy and sweet, sugar-free version that takes advantage of the synergistic health effects of tomatoes cooked with herbs and spices. If you’re looking for a specific brand, Primal Kitchen makes some pretty delicious sugar-free ketchup.
6. Salsa and Tomato Sauce
Tomatoes are an excellent source of biotin, potassium, iron, and zinc. They’re one of the best sources of lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation as well as conditions related to oxidative stress. And they’re good for heart health, (For more information on heart health, please click here. Thank you so much) too. So bring on the salsas and tomato sauces!
Classic red salsa, made from tomatoes, onions, and jalapeno peppers, can perk up bean and lentil dishes, as well as anything in the Tex-Mex category. But you can also shake salsa on really simple dishes to turn 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 also use salsa as a salad dressing, especially over chunky salads with carrots, bell peppers, red onions, and tomato wedges.
Even regular old tomato sauce can serve as a condiment over baked or air-fried potatoes or sweet potatoes, (For more information on sweet potatoes, please click here. Thank you so much) or on top of a freshly cut bowl of zoodles (zucchini spiralized into noodle shapes).
Tomato sauce gets even healthier and more flavorful with the addition of mushrooms, garlic, and basil. For a wild time, toss in some chopped olive and red pepper flakes to create a piquant puttanesca sauce.
You can often find clean and organic salsas and tomato sauces in supermarkets (look for lower sodium and avoid unhealthy oils and dairy, especially in tomato sauces). And another option is to make your own.
That way, you can have it fresh, flavor it exactly to your tastes, and maximize the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in your condiments.
7. Fresh and Frozen Fruit
Why not chop some apples and pears on your veggie or rice salad? Or drizzle the defrosted juice and berries from a bag of frozen raspberries onto a green salad. Fruit gives you sweetness in a healthy package and adds antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. What’s not to love?
8. Nutritional Yeast
No plant-based list of healthy condiments would be complete without mentioning the terribly named yet incredibly delicious nutritional yeast, which comes in either flake or powder form. Nooch, as it’s sometimes called (and what other food has a nickname that adorable?) is high in plant-based protein and B vitamins. And it is frequently deployed as a substitute for cheese.
You can mix nooch in a food processor with lightly pan-roasted nuts and seeds (cashews and sunflower do nicely), along with a little salt and some caraway and fennel seed), and end up with a delicious alternative to grated Parmesan cheese for Italian dishes.
This spicy root can be grated and used to top veggie dishes, casseroles, and stews. It’s not the “mouth-on-fire” spicy you get from hot peppers; instead, it’s more of the “blow your sinuses off” spicy you might be familiar with if you’ve eaten sushi with wasabi paste.
Horseradish is a nutritional as well as flavor powerhouse, sporting anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being great for gut health. If you’re wondering about its pedigree, horseradish does not, in fact, have any known historical relationship to large hooved mammals.
Instead, it belongs to the royal family of brassicas, which includes nutritional superstars like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, (For more information on kale, please click here. Thank you so much), and other antioxidant heroes.
Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds that’s very popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries, where it’s used to top falafel, salads, and main dishes. In its classic form, the thick paste is mixed with a combination of water and lemon juice to a runny consistency, then drizzled over just about any savory dish.
Thanks to the sesame seeds, it provides iron, calcium, and protein, and is good for heart health. Tahini is a great replacement for fatty and creamy condiments made from processed oils and dairy.
Condiments are a great way to liven up ordinary dishes and meals. By thinking “outside the squeeze bottle,” you can bring fabulous flavors and great textures into your diet without filling yourself with junky ingredients. Healthy condiments can delight your palate and enhance your life!
Please let us know in the comments:
- What are your favorite healthy condiments?
- Do you make your own condiment? How?
- Are there any unusual condiments that you like?
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Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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