Kitchen Staples: Coconut Aminos

a gluten-free, soy-free substitute that's changing the game
coconut aminos
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / yulka3ice

If you’re hankering for that hard-to-define but so-darn-tasty umami flavour, you’re first go-to in the pantry is probably a good old bottle of soy sauce. Salty, savoury, and tangy, soy sauce can elevate any dish in a flash. Unfortunately, most commercial soy sauces have several strikes against them. Rather than the traditional method of fermenting, most soy sauces at your local grocery store are mass-produced via acid hydrolysis, with genetically modified ingredients, and most likely contain gluten, which, along with soy, are off-limits to many people.

It may surprise you to know that an equally tasty, but definitely better-for-you, soy substitute has been quietly taking up space on North American grocery store shelves over the past few years. Meet your new favourite kitchen staple: coconut aminos!

Naturally gluten- and soy-free, coconut aminos come from the fermented sap of the coconut palm tree. It is nearly identical in colour and consistency to conventional soy sauce, and while coconut often imparts a distinct flavour to its products, you need not be concerned about this condiment tasting too coconutty as it’s made from the sap and not the fruit of the coconut tree.

Despite being produced from sweet tree sap, coconut aminos are low in sugar with just one gram per teaspoon, and are much lower in sodium than soy sauce at just 90 milligrams of sodium per serving (while soy sauce has almost 300 milligrams per serving!). It also contains amino acids, including glutamic acid which is responsible for the unique umami taste, and inositol, which is linked to improving everything from mental health issues to PCOS.

Coconut aminos are incredibly versatile and can be substituted 1:1 for soy sauce in any recipe. If you prefer darker, richer-flavoured soy sauce, you may want increase the amount of coconut aminos. Since it has a more delicate flavour than soy sauce, coconut aminos impart the best flavour when added at the end of cooking.

Substitute coconut aminos for soy in our citrusy Caesar salad or embrace umami by drizzling it over some soul-soothing kitcheree.

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