Soy Sauce Substitute | Recipe for a Soy-free & Gluten-free Alternative to Soy Sauce


Easy and budget-friendly recipe for homemade soy-free and gluten-free alternative to soy sauce. This soy sauce substitute flavours your food beautifully.

soy sauce substitute, cheap soy-free gluten-free alternative for soy sauce

Every now and then I have an intermittent sensitivity to soy. I have been gradually reducing my soy intake after the first few years of going vegan when I started consuming it more than before. But striping soy out of a vegan diet, I must say does make things a little more laborious. For one thing, I miss out on a lot of the processed foods out there, which isn’t a bad thing after all when I come to think of it. However, there are certain foods like soy sauce that I do use in a whole lot of recipes. Coconut aminos could do the job as a soy-free alternative but a small 200ml bottle of this salty/sweet liquid comes at quite a hefty price tag – the lowest I’ve seen is around $7.

After some perusing around online for a cheaper alternative, I found a recipe for soy sauce substitute. I adapted it to a vegan version and it came out very close to real soy sauce. It seasoned my food beautifully; I was pretty happy. For my second batch I tweaked the proportions and spices a little bit more to bring out some more flavour and made a more concentrated version (that I am sharing below) to preserve it for longer. Mauritian cuisine calls for soy sauce in a number of recipes and I also use it as a dipping sauce or for salad dressings quite regularly. So, I figured out a concentrated sauce would keep for longer and I could dilute it when using it if I need to.

The recipe is based on vegetable broth/bouillon, vinegar, blackstrap molasses and spices. The blackstrap molasses is the key ingredient in this as it gives it that rich dark colour and a distinct pronounced flavour. If you don’t have molasses on hand, you could try with a very dark caramel made from sugar. If you are making this sauce, I suggest you hold on to the salt until the end and taste to see if it needs it; the brand of vegetable bouillon I used is already quite salty, so there wasn’t any need for me to add any more salt.

Whether you are trying to control sodium, soy or gluten, I think this soy sauce is a great budget-friendly alternative to keep on hand given that it also doesn’t take a lot of time and effort to prepare.

Soy Sauce Substitute
(soy-free & gluten-free alternative to soy sauce)

(scroll down for printable recipe)

Ingredients (yield 1/2 cup [125ml] concentrate)
2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon powder (or 2 cubes, make sure the bouillon is soy-free)
2 1/2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses (or regular fancy molasses or substitute with dark caramel)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar is also good)
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger (or 1/2 inch fresh piece, cut into small pieces)
3-4 fenugreek seeds
Dash ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) water
Salt to taste (if needed)

Whisk all ingredients together except the fenugreek seeds and the salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat and add the fenugreek seeds. Simmer until liquid is reduced to half. It will thicken and will look very much like soy sauce.
Strain the liquid to remove all the solid undissolved particles.
Allow the sauce to cool before pouring into a sterilised jar or bottle. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Notes:
You may want to double or triple the recipe amounts. If that is the case then, apart from the other ingredients, I don’t think there is a need to proportionally increase the amount of vegetable bouillon as it is there mostly for flavour and saltiness. So, once the flavour is extracted in the boiling process, you can just adjust the taste with salt for a larger batch.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Soy Sauce Substitute | Recipe for a Soy-free & Gluten-free Alternative to Soy Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
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An easy and budget-friendly recipe for a homemade soy-free and gluten-free alternative to soy sauce.
Author:
Recipe type: Condiment/Sauce
Cuisine: Asian
Yield: 125 ml concentrate
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon powder (or 2 cubes, make sure the bouillon is soy-free)
  • 2½ tablespoons blackstrap molasses (or regular fancy molasses or substitute with dark caramel)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar is also good)
  • ½ teaspoon powdered ginger (or ½ inch fresh piece, cut into small pieces)
  • 3-4 fenugreek seeds
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • Salt to taste (if needed)
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together except the fenugreek seeds and the salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat and add the fenugreek seeds. Simmer until liquid is reduced to half. It will thicken and will look very much like soy sauce.
  3. Strain the liquid to remove all the solid undissolved particles.
  4. Allow the sauce to cool before pouring into a sterilised jar or bottle. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Notes
You may want to double or triple the recipe amounts. If that is the case then, apart from the other ingredients, I don't think there is a need to proportionally increase the amount of vegetable bouillon as it is there mostly for flavour and saltiness. So, once the flavour is extracted in the boiling process, you can just adjust the taste with salt for a larger batch.

soy sauce substitute, cheap soy-free gluten-free alternative for soy sauce

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12 Comments

  • Joey
    April 8, 2015 at 10:32 am

    I'm not allergic to soy, but I still find this intriguing – I love all the flavours you've used and it completely looks like the real deal.

  • jsoleil
    April 28, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    I love this idea, I used to buy expensive wheat-free Tamari but now I'm addicted to Coconut Aminos – so delicious!

  • Lovlie Veganlovlie
    April 28, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Coconut aminos are actually more expensive, at least the stores I shop at. But when I started making this soy sauce substitute, I've not bought any soy sauce so far.

  • Randi Tisdall
    February 14, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    This is wonderful! Been trying to cut back on soy and it can be frustrating because soy is in everything, especially condiments! I’ll definitely be trying this because I love soy sauce and I like the idea of making a mock sauce. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Harley
    February 20, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Oh my gosh! So excited to try making this! I found out recently I’m allergic to a lot of stuff. Soy, onions, and garlic being just a few. Not only did you do it soy free but also garlic and onion free! Which is great, everyone else has recipes demanding garlic and/or onion. Can’t wait to try this!

    • veganlovlie
      February 20, 2016 at 7:53 am

      I also avoid using garlic and onions. I am not allergic but I cannot tolerate them very well. They give me headaches, restlessness and sometimes insomnia. Just make sure the vegetable bouillon that you are using does not contain garlic/onion. So far I haven’t found a brand that is free of these so the limited amount of garlic/onions that I consume come from these. You could make your own vegetable/mushroom stock and boil it down to a concentrate if you can’t find any stock cubes/powder that are onion/garlic-free.

      • Paayel Agarwaal4
        March 3, 2017 at 5:30 am

        What vegetables would you recommend to make homemade stock and how much should it be reduced. Pls share proportion of water to vegetables. Thanks.

        • veganlovlie
          March 3, 2017 at 10:28 pm

          Hi Paayel, there are so many different vegetables you can use for stock. I vary them all the time depending on what I have on hand. I’ll try to work on a few recipes and I’ll share them on the website or our YouTube channel. You can subscribe to the website or channel to stay in touch when I post the recipes.

  • Amelie
    April 3, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m not buying soy sauce anymore. This worked so well for my noodles and fried rice. 🙂

    • veganlovlie
      April 3, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      That’s so great to hear Amelie. 🙂

  • mallory
    April 9, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Do you know of any spices that would work instead of boullion cubes? i’m allergic to celery… I was thinking perhaps coriander powder?

    • veganlovlie
      April 9, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      Coriander powder is quite different in terms of taste. I don’t think it would be close to soy sauce. Maybe you could try making your own vegetable stock without celery. I am thinking vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, leek, onion and garlic (if you are not allergic to these). You will need to boil the stock down to reduce it to a concentrate.

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