Sushi Maki and Niguiri with soy sauce and wasabi with California Roll

There’s No Salt in This Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

This is a salt-free, gluten-free substitution for soy sauce.

Jessica Goldman Foung, a.k.a. “Sodium Girl,” must live salt-free due to risk of kidney failure prompted by lupus. She’s a queen of substitutions – an inspiration for those on special diets. This enthusiastic foodie spices up her diet with tasty sweet and savory alternatives to salt. Here’s the back-story (and the recipe) behind her ingenious GF, no-salt soy sauce.

I remember the day that my low-sodium diet truly turned around. I had just purchased The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Cookbook, by Donald A. Gazzaniga, and as I flipped through the recipes, I landed on “Soy Sauce Replacement.” I had never considered the idea of replacements before. Or that I could mimic something as salty as soy sauce, which contains more than 1,000mg of sodium per tablespoon.

I made Mr. Gazzaniga’s Soy Sauce Replacement, and while it didn’t taste exactly like the original—there is just no way you can replicate the taste of all that salt—it did have a similar Asian essence. And when mixed with other components for marinades or BBQ sauces, it provided the right amount of savory sweetness.

I created my own version that I use whenever a recipe calls for soy or teriyaki or fish sauce. And I call it umami sauce, as I want your palate to seek out the savory quality, not the salt.

3.75 from 16 votes
Sushi Maki and Niguiri with soy sauce and wasabi with California Roll
Umami Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
Course: Condiment/Sauce
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 35 kcal
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cooked unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • ½ teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Recipe Notes

The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 1 month. Nutrition facts on this recipe is calculated for the entire batch. Divide it by the amount you use for your serving.

Nutrition Facts
Umami Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 35
% Daily Value*
Sodium 16mg 1%
Potassium 102mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 8g 3%
Sugars 7g
Calcium 1.4%
Iron 1.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe excerpted from Sodium Girl by Jessica Goldman Foung, with permission from publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Originally posted January 2013.

Post originally published in Gluten Free & More, written by Alicia Woodward.

Disclaimer: All nutrition facts on Simply Gluten Free are meant only as a guide and may differ depending on product brands used or ingredient substitutions. Some errors may occur, so you are encouraged to confirm the recipe’s ingredient and nutrition suitability for your own diet.
Have you tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and let us know your thoughts in the Ratings & Reviews section below.
Tags: Asian Soy Sauce
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  1. VK
    August 3, 2019

    So grateful! Will try it!

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