Easy Umami Sauce

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Try this Umami Sauce Recipe for boosting flavor in sautés and stir-fries without adding all the sodium of soy sauce. It’s made with a blend of miso, ginger, molasses, and other spices, and it has the most delicious savory flavor.

bowl and white spoon filled with homemade umami sauce.

This delicious seasoning is completely salt-free, oil-free, vegan, and gluten-free. It’s hard to believe, but it can amplify the taste of so many recipes and keep them healthy!

This umami seasoning recipe was created by Dr. Michael Greger, MD with NutritionFacts.org. He has many more herb seasonings and recipes in his book, How Not to Die Cookbook.

If you are new to cooking or just plant-based cooking in general this list of Top 15 Herbs & Spices can help you create the best flavors with all of your meals.

What is umami?

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, even though many people are only learning about it in the last few years. Most of us are familiar with the other four–sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Umami is a savory flavor that is part of many Asian plant-based dishes.

The word ‘umami’ was created by a Japanese chemist named Kikunae Ikeda from umami, which means “delicious,” and mi, which means “taste.” The perfect name, as it is a delicious taste!

Umami sauce flavor

Umami sauce has a true savory flavor and has been described as having a brothy taste. Some foods that have high levels of the amino acid glutamate such as mushrooms, miso, seaweed, and even parmesan cheese have an umami flavor.

Ingredients needed

  • Vegetable broth
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Date syrup or date sugar
  • Tomato paste
  • White miso paste
  • Lemon
  • Rice vinegar
  • Black pepper

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

How to make umami sauce

  1. Begin by mincing the garlic and grating the ginger. Set to the side.
  2. Heat the broth in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the molasses, date syrup or date sugar, tomato paste, and black pepper, and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 minute.
  6. Remove from the heat and then stir in the miso mixture, blended lemon (or lemon juice), and rice vinegar.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
  8. Allow the sauce to cool before transferring it to a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid.
  9. Another option is to pour the sauce into an ice cube tray and freeze it into individual portions that equal approximately 1 tablespoon.

Excerpted from the HOW NOT TO DIE COOKBOOK by Michael Greger, M.D. with Gene Stone. Copyright © 2017 by Michael Greger with Gene Stone. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Recipes by Robin Robertson.

Uses for umami sauce

Umami sauce can be used in many dishes like this Udon Noodle Stir-Fry to replace soy sauce and salt.

Really any dish that you want to amplify the taste, especially if it’s an Asian dish, this umami seasoning will do a great job. These are some dishes I would add it to as an ingredient.

More seasonings and sauces

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

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4.30 from 10 votes

Umami Sauce Recipe

Try this Umami Sauce Recipe for boosting flavor in sautés and stir-fries without adding all the sodium of soy sauce. It’s made with a blend of miso, ginger, molasses, and other spices, and it has the most delicious savory flavor.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 4 minutes
Total: 4 minutes
Servings: 1 .25 cups

Ingredients 

Instructions

  • Begin by mincing the garlic and grating the ginger. Set to the side.
  • Heat the broth in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the molasses, date syrup or date sugar, tomato paste, and black pepper, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and then stir in the miso mixture, blended lemon (or lemon juice), and rice vinegar.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
  • Allow the sauce to cool before transferring it to a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Another option is to pour the sauce into an ice cube tray and freeze it into individual portions that equal approximately 1 tablespoon.

Video

Notes

Excerpted from the HOW NOT TO DIE COOKBOOK by Michael Greger, M.D. with Gene Stone. Copyright © 2017 by Michael Greger with Gene Stone. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Recipes by Robin Robertson.
Uses for Umami Sauce:
Umami sauce can be used in many dishes like this Udon Noodle Stir-Fry to replace soy sauce and salt.
Really any dish that you want to amplify the taste, especially if it’s an Asian dish, this umami seasoning will do a great job. These are some dishes I would add it to as an ingredient.

Nutrition

Serving: 1table spoon | Calories: 29kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Sodium: 43mg | Sugar: 7g

Disclaimer

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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About the Chef

headshot of Dr. Michael Greger

Dr. Greger is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. He is the Research Director for NutritionFacts.org.

A founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Greger is licensed as a general practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition.

He is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine. In 2017, Dr. Greger was honored with the ACLM Lifestyle Medicine Trailblazer Award and became a diplomat of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine.

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