Condiments take up a rather large chunk of my refrigerator side door. The list is varied and each condiment is used in a unique way. Most condiments seem to be standard in every kitchen but there are a couple you may not have tried before. If you’ve got time, you can make a few of these condiments at home- maybe not all the time but it’s a fun learning experience.
While BBQ sauce goes hand in hand with meat, there’s a lot of great vegetarian uses (most simply- on a burger!). There are many different varieties of BBQ sauce based on region (I won’t get into it too much here), but it’s worth mentioning so that you can try a few. The base for BBQ sauce is tomatoes with vinegar and some sort of sweetener (give or take a few outliers like the Alabama White Sauce).
Beyond topping burgers, I like to keep bbq sauce on hand for to use with lentil meatballs, tempeh, or crumbles that top potatoes. If you’re looking to make you’re own BBQ sauce (a couple links below), just remember to pick up vegan Worcestershire sauce.
If you like a little kick to your meals, I recommend keeping a jar of chili paste on hand. Chili paste is often used in Asian cooking and goes by a few other names including sambal oelek. Occasionally the chili paste will include garlic but the ones I use contain minimal ingredients (usually chilis, salt, and vinegar). Chili paste is perfect to use in sauces and soups.
If you have a hard time finding chili paste or want to use something you might have on hand, try using hot sauce, sriracha, or crushed red pepper flakes (a favorite of mine). Different brands will have different flavors and amount of heat to them- test a couple to find the one you like best.
This particular condiment has a bit of a broad spectrum. Chutney can range from yogurt based garnish to fruit based. For my particular use, I’ll be referring to chutney as an American-styled fruit based condiment. My preference is to make chutney with apples, pears, rhubarb, or tomatoes balanced with dates (not sugars) for sweetness. Also, the inclusion of vinegar in the chutney recipes makes a few different recipes perfect for canning.
I like to keep chutney on hand to go with curries, egg skillets, and omelettes. I’ll make different recipes depending on the time of year and what’s in season.
The most famous of condiments, ketchup is a staple in most American homes. This sweet tomato-based condiment is the perfect mate for burgers and fries or can serve as a base for vegan sloppy joe’s. For a while, there seemed to be only a few kinds of ketchup. Now I’m noticing an extensive variety available, ranging from small-batch produced to low/no sweetener added.
Ketchup is one condiment that I find easier to buy that make (unless I have an abundance of tomatoes during the summer months). Most recipes require peeling the tomatoes but the recipe linked below skips that part.
You won’t find many recipes on my site with mayonnaise (but this might change). For most of my life, I avoided mayonnaise on every sandwich and burger. However, my love of egg salad and chickpea salad acted as a gateway for my tolerance of mayonnaise. Like most things, I find mayonnaise to be better when homemade. But if you’re buying it, select a solid, high-quality brand.
Beyond using mayonnaise as a condiment for sandwiches and a binder for egg salad, I occasionally use mayonnaise in a homemade ranch dressing or potato salad (but otherwise, greek yogurt is a great substitute).
Mirin is a rice wine that’s been fermented, which gives it a natural sweetness. It’s used often in Japanese cooking. Mirin serves a few key rolls in my kitchen. It’s instrumental in this homemade teriyaki sauce and will occasionally find it’s way into my homemade peanut sauce.
Not every store carries Mirin. If you don’t think you’ll use it a lot, you can try a substitute. Mix together dry white wine (about 1/4 cup) with 2 teaspoons of sweetener- either sugar or honey. Mirin has a distinct flavor so use in small amounts.
Mustard is a heavily used condiment in our house. Beyond the use on a sandwich, I love mustard in homemade dressings, tossed with roasted nuts, and as an addition to grain bowls. There are many different varieties of mustard available that vary in flavor and heat. My favorite is a grainy mustard but there’s also Dijon, Yellow, and Sweet Mustard (which is a close second- especially on a vegan bratwurst).
Mustard is one of the easier condiments to make at home. All it takes is soaking mustard seeds in a bit of vinegar. From there, the flavor combinations are endless. Look for brown and yellow mustard seeds in the bulk spice section or order online.
To start out, I use soy sauce and tamari interchangeably in my kitchen but they are not the same thing. Both are made from fermented soybeans but tamari contains less wheat (some brands can even boast they are gluten-free) while soy sauce contains gluten. I find tamari to have a richer flavor without the saltiness of soy sauce. I usually have both in my pantry and use tamari as a finishing condiment/dip whereas I’ll use low-sodium soy sauce in sauces.
If you’re looking to avoid soy products all together, you can substitute liquid aminos or coconut aminos for soy sauce/tamari. The flavor profiles won’t be the same but the umami (savory) quality is similar.
Given that this is a vegetarian site, it may seem a bit misplaced to have Worcestershire in my pantry since the standard list of ingredients includes anchovy. However, this fermented liquid in small portions can add a complex flavor to dishes. Fear not, there are recipes and companies that make vegan/vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.
My favorite uses for Worcestershire sauce include adding it to sloppy joe’s, soups, and making homemade BBQ sauces.