Condiments Beyond Mustard

Miso-glazed salmon with rice and spinach

Last week, I confessed my love for mustard. But you know the old saying: woman cannot live on mustard alone. Thankfully, there are many other condiments — gluten-free condiments! — that are ready, willing, and able to serve as you prepare delicious meals.

Because my weeknight dinners are always quick meals, a stash of condiments helps me add flavor, create sauces, and fix mistakes quickly. Even if dinner is just a plain chicken breast or piece of fish, the right condiment can turn ordinary meals into something delicious in mere moments.

Here’s a selection from my pantry and refrigerator. You’ll recognize some of them from previous posts, but I like the idea of having a list of condiment ideas all in one place.

Chile Paste: Chile pastes come in all levels of heat. My favorite is a brand I believe is called Red Camel. I buy it at the local Asian grocery store. It’s not too hot, and I love it over a rice bowl, over eggs, and, honestly, on anything I can spoon it over. Keeping a jar of chile paste on hand is a great thing for quick meals like stir fries!

Fish Sauce: I’ve already written an ode to fish sauce, so I know you’ve added it to your pantry. When I’m dieting, I love sipping broth during those time when I’m craving something filling. I spike ordinary chicken broth with a couple of splashes of fish sauce, some lime juice, and (when I need the big guns!) a bit of hot sauce. This recipe works for noodle soups, chicken and vegetable soup, and more as well!

Hot Sauce: Yes, Sriracha is sexy (and I keep a bottle in my desk drawer!), but I also have a soft spot for Frank’s. And Tabasco. If you like a bit of spice, a couple of bottles of hot sauce are the perfect way to add heat and flavor quickly.

Mayonnaise and/or Ranch Dressing: Yes, these are not equal, but you can’t really have one without the other, right? A little mayo adds body to dishes. A bit of ranch dressing livens up grilled veggies. Try either one on grilled corn…your mouth will love you!

Miso Paste: A good, gluten-free miso paste is a secret weapon. Add to butter and slip under chicken skin for moisture and flavor. Add to salad dressings. Mix with a bit of honey for a great glaze for salmon. And, of course, use as a base for warm, delicious soup.

Sour Cream/Greek Yogurt: While they are very different products — sour cream is thin, Greek yogurt is thick — I use these condiments interchangeably. They add tang to any dish, from salads to fruit.

Soy Sauce: I keep gluten-free soy sauce on hand, and add it to all kinds of dishes. Plus it forms the base for a perfect teriyaki sauce when I’m craving something sweet. I also, ahem, carry tiny packets of GF soy sauce in my purse in case of emergencies…like sushi with co-workers.

Tahini: This simple sesame seed paste is amazing in dishes. It’s perfect for making a dipping sauce. It gives hummus that certain something. It forms the base for a great salad dressing. It is amazing stuff! (Note: peanut butter and tahini have somewhat similar flavor profiles, so you can use the former as you would tahini in some dishes!)

What condiment can’t you live without? Or, what other foods do you treat like condiments? My list includes orange juice, maple syrup, avocados, and gluten-free panko crumbs.

Tip of the Week

Online retailers like Amazon sell individual packets of various condiments like gluten-free soy sauce, Sriracha, and even hummus to keep in your purse or to carry in your lunch box. These individual servings sizes are also perfect for travel.

Menu of the Week

I have been on a huge salmon kick lately. And it’s a great fish for sauces — it handles everything from a mustard cream to a slightly sweet, slightly salty miso glaze. Adding a bit of miso to the salad dressing carries the flavor into the spinach.

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