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7 Healthy Condiments You Haven't Tried Yet

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    A common fixture in Tunisian and Moroccan cuisines, this red paste gets its fiery kick from dried red chilies, which studies have shown to rev your body's immune, anti-inflammatory, and metabolic processes. Del Coro recommends using it the same way you'd rely on paprika, cayenne, or chili flakes. (You may also see it in powder form and, so long as it's fresh and properly stored, the nutritional benefits should hold true.)

    Try it: As a marinade or dressing for roast chicken; as a seasoning for a chickpea stew or carrot soup; as a spread for avocado toast or breakfast sandwiches

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    Sambal Oelek

    Capsaicin-packed chilies are a primary ingredient in this Southeast Asian paste, which also incorporates a fair amount of heart-healthy garlic. Since the sodium in spreads like this can be on the high side, Del Coro advises using it in smaller amounts. "Luckily, a little bit goes a lot way," she notes.

    Try it: Mixed with mayonnaise (to make a spicy sandwich spread); as a dip for grilled chicken skewers

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    Avert your eyes, cilantro haters—this Argentine accompaniment relies on the divisive ingredient for the bulk of its zippy flavor. But hear us out: Cilantro is chock-full of vitamin C, as is parsley (another major component of this sauce). Throw in some olive oil, with its heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and you get tons of flavor and nutrients. Since vitamin C is sensitive to light, heat, and processing, Del Coro recommends DIYing it whenever possible and applying it to roasted proteins and veggies after cooking, rather than using it as a marinade.

    Try it: As a dressing for fish and poultry, especially when they're grilled; as a topping for roasted or grilled vegetable

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    Made from a mixture of healthy functional foods—often napa cabbage seasoned with garlic, hot red peppers, and ginger—this fermented Korean staple packs a spicy punch and, according to research in the Journal of Medicinal Food, a healthy dose of digestion-benefiting probiotics. In most recipes, cruciferous veggies are the main component, so you're getting lots of cancer-fighting phytochemicals per serving. The only negative is that kimchi can be high in sodium. Del Coro has an easy fix, though—negate the sodium by nixing other naturally salty ingredients in favor of potassium-packed dark, leafy greens when building your meal.

    Try it: As a side for grilled lean beef; on top of scrambled eggs or sautéed kale

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    Yogurt, the base of this creamy Greek spread, has been touted by countless researchers for its probiotic benefits. Del Coro also points out that you'll get a boost from other ingredients in the condiment—namely the allicin found in garlic and the vitamin C in lemon juice.

    Try it: With grilled lamb; as a dip for chicken wings; on top of a burger

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    Smooth and nutty, this sesame seed–based paste is rich in heart disease–fighting compounds called plasma gamma tocopherols and antioxidants, according to studies published in Nutrition and Cancer and Food Chemistry, respectively. Tahini also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which improve brain function, and copper, which has been found to act as an anti-inflammatory.

    Try it: Blended into salad dressings or dips; a binder for tuna salad (in place of mayonnaise)

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    This Egyptian spice mix combines toasted nuts (typically hazelnuts) with sesame seeds, coriander, and cumin, but any number of dried herbs and spices (lemon zest, chili flakes, fennel seeds, to name a few) are considered fair game. You'll get a hefty serving of protein no matter which type of nut you use (chopped hazelnuts deliver 17 grams per cup), plus cholesterol-busting phytonutrients called lignans from the sesame seeds.

    Try it: Sprinkled on flatbreads or roasted vegetables; mixed with olive oil as a dip