We recommend not using soy. This includes soy sauce, which is very high in salt (even the “light” versions contain too much), so we are often asked for alternatives. There are many alternatives. The key to Asian flavors is in the ginger, garlic and toasted sesame seed oil, Chinese Five Spice and other herbs and spices, so the soy sauce is merely a base. Anything else may be used, including beef, chicken or vegetable broths and stocks.


2 teaspoons molasses

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

black pepper to taste

1/4 cup boiling water



1. Combine all the ingredients. At this point, you can either a) use the sauce as is, leaving for an hour to give the flavors a chance to blend, or b) for a thicker, richer sauce, boil the liquid until it is reduced by half, about 3 tablespoons.

2. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Use the sauce within 3 – 4 days.

Note: I used Campbell’s reduced-sodium beef broth (25 percent less salt) and Crosby’s molasses, which gives this soy sauce substitute recipe 12 – 13 mg sodium per tablespoon (about 25 mg per tablespoon if you boil down the sauce and reduce it by half). To lower the sodium count even further, use a sodium-free beef broth.

Note: Is this soy sauce substitute gluten-free? I spoke with Teri Gruss, the Guide to Gluten-free Cooking, and she confirms the recipe is gluten-free as long as it’s made with:

Gluten-free beef broth (broths and stocks sometimes contain gluten as an additive)

Only the vinegars called for in the recipe (“Malt” vinegars contain gluten)

Garlic powder that is gluten-free (seasoning powders sometimes contain gluten as a flow agent)

HEALTHTALKLIVE.COM SUGGESTS: Why not make your own beef stock? Slow roast a rump or chuck roast with onions, carrots, minced garlic, sea salt and cracked pepper; place in a crock pot for 10 hours OR in a deep baking dish covered first with parchment paper, then sealed well with aluminum foil (slow roast at 300 for 6 hours). Drain off fat*, then use for all kinds of sauces (blend bits of beef in the broth with the reduced onions for more flavor). Shred the beef for use with other recipes, such as mixing up the beef with some diced chiles and serve in lettuce or tortilla wraps with sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa and other toppings you love! Or use the shredded beef to make a delicious chili with chopped tomatoes, onions, beans and seasonings to warm you on a cold night.

* If you have lots of time, drain off all of the liquid and fat, refrigerate until chilled well, then lift off the fat, which has become a solid, icky slab on top of all that goodness!


This soy sauce substitute doesn’t taste exactly like the real thing, but it makes a flavorful alternative for anyone trying to reduce the amount of salt in their diet.

Yields about 1/3 cup, or enough to prepare approximately two meals.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1/3 cup if not boiled down


2 tablespoons reduced sodium beef broth

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

MOST OF THE CREDIT GOES TO ABOUT.COM for some great inspiration!