Traditional pesto is a sauce made with fresh basil leaves, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.
Pesto is a good source of zinc — a mineral essential for immune health, wound healing, and developmental growth. A 1/4-cup (64-grams) serving of traditional pesto provides 8% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for this mineral.
The high zinc content of pesto makes it an excellent condiment for vegetarians. Vegetarians may need about 50% more zinc per day than non-vegetarians due to the reduced availability of plant-based zinc.
You can add pesto to baked chicken, use it as a pasta sauce, or spread it on a sandwich or flatbread.
Salsa can be a great low-calorie condiment to add to your diet. Two tablespoons (30 ml) of salsa have only 10 calories.
You can use salsa to spice up recipes like tacos, fajitas, or scrambled eggs. It’s also a healthy alternative to higher calorie salad dressings.
In fact, replacing 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of regular ranch dressing with the same serving size of salsa saves you 119 calories. Just make sure to choose a salsa that is low in sodium and contains no added sugar for the most health benefits.
Tahini is a Middle Eastern sauce made from ground sesame seeds.
It’s particularly rich in plant-based protein, with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of tahini providing over 5 grams of this nutrient — or 8% of the RDI for a 175-pound (80kg) adult.
Tahini is a great condiment to use for dipping veggies, in homemade salad dressings, or spreading on toast with a pinch of cinnamon for a balanced breakfast.
Mustard is a popular condiment, typically made from mustard seeds, distilled vinegar, garlic powder, turmeric, lemon juice, and salt.
Mustard is low in calories, with 2 teaspoons (10 grams) of yellow mustard providing only 6 calories. Additionally, most mustard contains the spice turmeric. Curcumin — a compound in turmeric — has shown strong anti-inflammatory benefits in many studies.
Besides using it as a condiment on your burgers, mustard is also a healthy addition to homemade salad dressings, marinades, and deviled eggs. Plus, you can brush mustard on salmon or chicken before broiling to make a flavorful crust.
Kimchi is a popular Korean condiment made from fermented vegetables. There are many varieties of kimchi, but the main ingredients typically include cabbage, garlic, onion, chili pepper, and salt.
Because the cabbage is fermented, kimchi is a great source of probiotics. These beneficial bacteria live in your gut and provide many health benefits. Eating probiotic-rich foods like kimchi may improve cholesterol levels, your immune system, and skin health.
Kimchi can be used as a healthy condiment in stir-fry recipes, noodles, rice, or sandwich wraps.
Hummus is a tasty condiment made by blending chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.
In addition to plant-based protein, hummus is also a great source of fiber, a nutrient that promotes feelings of fullness and healthy digestion. A 1/4 cup (62 grams) serving of hummus provides over 3 grams of fiber. What’s more, chickpeas are also a good source of magnesium and folate.
You can enjoy hummus as a veggie dip, spread it onto pitas, mix it into salads or use it as a healthier alternative to mayonnaise.
Classic guacamole is made by combining mashed avocado, onion, garlic, lime juice, and salt.
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and many nutrients. In fact, just half an avocado provides nearly 5 grams of fiber and over 15% of the RDI for folate. Additionally, adding avocados to your diet may help lower cholesterol levels.
Guacamole is a great substitute for salad dressing. You can also spread guacamole on toast or use it as a satisfying veggie dip.
8. Plain Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is a healthy alternative to most cream-based condiments. Plain Greek yogurt is the best choice, as it doesn’t contain added sugar.
In addition to being an excellent source of calcium, Greek yogurt is also high in protein, which can help reduce hunger and promote muscle growth. One 7-ounce (200-gram) serving of low-fat Greek yogurt provides nearly 20 grams of protein.
Use Greek yogurt as a healthy substitute for sour cream or mayonnaise. Add it to baked potatoes, use it to make a homemade veggie dip, or add a dollop of Greek yogurt to your tacos.
9. Raw honey
Raw and locally produced honey may have more antibacterial and antioxidant properties than commercial honey, making it a healthier choice.
Honey can be used to sweeten tea, yogurt, or fruit dishes. Enjoy honey in moderation, as eating too much of any type of added sugar may lead to health problems.
10. Balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is a dark vinegar made from grapes.
It’s rich in antioxidants, particularly polyphenol antioxidants like flavonoids, gallic acid, and caffeic acid. These antioxidants may protect against cell damage and prevent oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol. This can lower your heart disease risk.
Drizzle balsamic vinegar onto vegetables before roasting, mix it with olive oil to make a balsamic vinaigrette for salad, or enjoy it with homemade bruschetta.
11. Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is well known for its powerful nutritional properties.
It’s derived from the first pressing of olives and is minimally processed.
Numerous studies point to the benefits of using olive oil to support heart health and reduce inflammation. Much of this may be due to its rich antioxidant content, which helps reduce cell damage in your body.
Extra virgin olive oil is best used in recipes that require little to no cooking to preserve its nutritional compounds. For example, you can drizzle it over cooked pasta, vegetables, or seafood.
Tamari is a Japanese sauce made from fermented soybeans. Compared to traditional soy sauce, tamari has a thicker texture, darker appearance, and richer flavor.
Tamari contains about 45% more protein than traditional soy sauce. Two tablespoons (30 ml) of tamari provides almost 4 grams of protein. Most types are also gluten-free — unlike soy sauce. This is helpful if you follow a gluten-free diet.
You can add tamari to any recipe in place of soy sauce. It makes a great dipping sauce or dressing for salads and noodles.