- Most people buy condiments like ketchup, mustard, and salad dressing from the store.
- Store-bought condiments are often filled with added sugars and preservatives.
- Homemade condiments have several benefits as far as flavour, cost, and health go.
- We spoke to experts on which condiments you should try making at home.
It’s pretty commonplace to purchase condiments at the store. Whether you need barbecue sauce for your cookout or ketchup for the kids’ hot dogs, picking up condiments off the grocery shelves doesn’t often get a second thought. While it might seem convenient to do so, there are actually many more benefits to throwing together your own condiments.
Not only will homemade dressings, dips, and sauces taste better, they are also healthier and more cost-efficient.
Registered dietitians, chefs, and other health and food professionals have long touted the benefits of homemade condiments. Here’s what condiments they believe should top your list to make.
Homemade salad dressings come highly recommended by registered dietitians.
Making your own salad dressings has an array of benefits: saves money, tastes better, and offers more health benefits than store-bought. Jessica Penner, RD told INSIDER, “They’re relatively easy to whip up and will elevate your salad to a whole new level!”
Andrea Holwegner, RD and CEO of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting in Calgary, agrees. “As a foodie first and dietitian second, the most important condiment to make at home are salad dressings,” Holwegner said.
“One of the reasons many people dislike salads is because most bought salad dressings simply don’t taste great, which makes enjoyment of eating your veggies a challenge. Most bought salad dressings in the inside aisles of the grocery store also contain a huge amount of additives and preservatives which is why they have a shelf life of several years. Fresh is best.”
Try making chef-worthy vinaigrettes using Holwegner’s formula: “three parts oil, one part acid (vinegar, orange juice, or fresh squeezed lemon), sometimes a pinch of sugar/honey, salt, pepper, and herbs.” This basic recipe can also be applied to marinades.
Ketchup, a household staple, is even better made from scratch.
Most households have a bottle of ketchup in the fridge. They probably even have a bottle or two extra as backup in the pantry. But store-bought ketchup often has a lot more sugar than you might think. Instead, make a version you don’t have to feel guilty about. Food Network host Chef Michael Smith’s recipe is “packed with so much aromatic goodness” that you’ll never go back to the old stuff from the store.
Versatile mustards are even healthier when you make them at home.
Mustard is a generally healthy condiment, but it can contain a lot of sodium, especially spicier versions, like dijon. This low-sodium version from Northwest Kidney Centres is much more health-conscious and flavorful than the varieties sitting on store shelves.
Plus, homemade dijon mustard makes for an even healthier, more flavorful mustard-based dressing or marinade.
Homemade mayonnaise is surprisingly easy to make.
Using ingredients you probably already have on hand (olive oil, pasteurised egg, lemon, white vinegar, salt, and hot mustard) you can whip up a more heart-healthy mayo alternative to store-bought.
“Many people buy ‘olive oil mayonnaise’ without realising it is only canola oil mayonnaise with added olive oil. The first ingredient is canola oil,” said Joy Kiddie, RD. “So much for people’s good intentions of substituting a healthy monounsaturated fat for a refined, industrial seed oil like canola.”
Instead, make your own, so you know exactly what is inside.
The best way to enjoy guacamole is to make it yourself.
Store-bought guacamole is a far cry from the real deal.
Fresh guacamole is affordable and simple to make, and whether you enjoy it alone or with others, everyone dining will be impressed. Plus, fresh guacamole has many health perks.
“Avocados are the main ingredient in guacamole and as you know, avocados are quite the nutrient-dense food,” said registered dietitian Stacie Hassing. “They’re abundant in monounsaturated fats (heart-healthy fat), high in fibre, antioxidant-rich, and contain 20 different vitamins and minerals.”
Jazz up everything from slow-cooked meats to chicken nuggets with barbecue sauce.
Barbecue sauce is good on a variety of foods, whether it is smoked or roasted meats, frozen chicken nuggets, a hearty veggie burger, or even macaroni and cheese. But this condiment is typically loaded with sugar and sodium.
“Bottled condiments like barbecue sauce are famously high in sugar and sodium,” said Dana Angelo White, RD. “A little sugar and spice is definitely necessary, but some of the store-bought brands get carried away.” Take control of what is in your barbecue. Everyone has their own take on this condiment, so add your favourite spices and flavours and create a signature recipe.
Dip everything in homemade hummus.
Hummus, generally, is pretty healthy, but you can boost the nutritional value, monetary savings, and flavour by making it at home.
Hummus is also fun to experiment with – try adding in roasted red pepper, garlic, sun-dried tomato, beets, or whatever else you fancy. Chef Stefen Janke offers a simple, oil-free recipe to help you get started.
Pack a nutritional punch into DIY pesto.
Pesto is a great condiment to make at home because you can really swap the ingredients depending on what you have on hand. Any combination of nuts and greens can work here, whether you try traditional pine nuts and basil or throw in walnuts and carrot tops.
You can even test different cheeses, from Parmesan and other hard cheeses to something soft like ricotta. From there, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil round out the sauce.
The American Diabetes Association recommends swapping some of the oil for chicken or vegetable broth.
Get the most out of your fruit by making jam.
This breakfast staple is actually incredibly easy to make, and it is a great way to use up berries and other fruits that are a little past their prime. Best of all, you can greatly minimise the amount of sugar in homemade jams compared to store-bought.
According to Penner, when fruits are condensed into jams, you can get a higher concentration of the fruit’s nutrients, especially over the grocery variety.
Drizzle made-from-scratch tahini on everything.
Tahini is great with veggies and meats, and it is also the main component in hummus. Imagine the flavour of your homemade hummus when the tahini is made from scratch, too.
Tahini at the grocery is often pretty pricey, so taking matters into your own hands will save you a pretty penny.
The primary ingredient is sesame seeds, which registered dietitian Marisa Moore said, “are actually quite nutritious, providing calcium, magnesium, and fibre.” She recommends toasting the sesame seeds before blending into the sauce.
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