Coconut Aminos Is the Good-for-You Alternative to Soy Sauce

This trending (and healthy) condiment is topping some of our favorite dishes.

Photo: Getty Images

Coconut aminos aren't as mainstream as kale chips (yet), so unless you spend all your insomnia-fueled hours scrolling wellness-themed Instagram accounts, you’re probably wondering what coconut aminos are right about now.

“Coconut aminos are the fermented byproduct of coconut nectar, harvested from a coconut tree, combined with sea salt,” explains Kimberly Snyder, CN, New York Times bestselling author and founder of Solluna. “It’s an amazing alternative to soy sauce or tamari that’s a bit thinner and more watery, with a slightly sweeter and less salty taste, and an array of health benefits.”

How healthy is coconut aminos?

Unlike soy sauce, which is loaded with sodium and devoid of health benefits, coconut aminos contain a significant source of nutrients. “Besides being lower in sodium and low on the glycemic index, it’s gluten-, soy-, and wheat-free, so it’s great for those with allergies or food sensitivities,” says Emma Hulse, Splendid Spoon's in-house registered dietitian.

More specifically, the coconut sap is rich in 17 different types of amino acids—which is why it’s called coconut aminos. “Each of these amino acids works together as your building blocks of protein, promoting your levels of energy and muscle repair,” explains Snyder. “It also contains amazing minerals like potassium, which is necessary for muscular function and digestion. Additionally, potassium can help regulate fluid balance in your body and help keep your blood pressure down.”

How do you buy coconut aminos?

“When choosing a brand, make sure the product isn’t derived from soy or soy isolate,” says Ali Bourgerie of Shifting Nutrition. “Also make sure that it’s made from organic coconut sap, that it’s non-GMO, and contains no MSG or unnecessary processed additives.” She singles out the brand Coconut Secret as a favorite. “It’s hand-harvested from coconut tree sap grown on an organic farm in the Philippines and simply mixed with mineral-rich sea salt." Another recommended brand is Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Aminos Seasoning Sauce.

How do you use coconut aminos?

To use coconut aminos, simply substitute it into recipes that call for soy sauce or tamari. “You can toss a little coconut aminos onto your stir-fry veggies, or drizzle it over your cooked quinoa or roasted veggies,” suggests Snyder. “I also like to use it in salad dressings, or mix it into a dipping sauce to snack on with chopped-up veggies.” Hulse suggests using coconut aminos to make the All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce from Nom Nom Paleo. “This sauce takes any stir fry veggie dish to another level of delish!” she says.

Another versatile sauce can be made by combining 1/3 cup tahini, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, a tablespoon of coconut aminos, and a pinch of salt. Just mix all ingredients and water to thin while whisking until desired consistency. “I love adding this mix into a rich red curry, marinating tempeh with it, serving it with sushi, or using it in a stir-fry with a little coconut sugar, grass-fed ground beef, and a whole lot of veggies,” Bourgerie says.

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  1. Potassium. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.

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