Do you want to season your food without using monosodium glutamate (MSG)? MSG is a food additive that is commonly used in Asian cuisine to enhance the flavor of many commercial and home-cooked dishes. However, it can be unhealthy for some individuals.
But don’t worry. There are plenty of equally savory monosodium glutamate substitutes available that can add exquisite umami flavors to your food while also keeping your health in check!
1. Sea Salt
Sea salt is the perfect alternative to Monosodium Glutamate when you want to avoid chemical additives in your meals. It is a natural seasoning that adds a bit more taste than regular table salt and has several nutritional benefits, including trace nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Sea salt also has a distinctive taste that lends modest richness to meals without being overbearing.
Sea salt may be used to add flavor to a variety of foods, from salads and soups to seafood and vegetables. It is easy to add to various recipes as you can not only cook with it but also simply sprinkle it on overcooked food. You may also mix sea salt with other herbs or spices to make your own blend and find the ideal combination for your dishes.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp Monosodium Glutamate = 1 tsp of sea salt.
2. Herb and Spice Blends
You can recreate your own herb and spice combinations as unique alternatives to Monosodium Glutamate. Depending on the ingredients you choose, these mixes contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can benefit your general health. More importantly, the right blend can pack a powerful flavor punch, allowing them to be utilized in a wide range of cuisines.
There are several herbs and spices, such as curry powder, garlic powder, and cumin, that you can blend in various quantities to produce tasty alternatives to MSG. For example, ground tamarind can add a lovely sour and tangy flavor that complements a wide range of meals, including curries and stews. Any home chef can make MSG alternatives that delight their palate by carefully considering the particular tastes and aromas connected with each specific mix.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp Monosodium Glutamate = 1 tsp herb and spices.
3. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is another excellent replacement for MSG as it can offer a very similar flavor profile. Soy sauce is low in calories and fat, making it an excellent choice for people trying to cut their caloric intake. It also contains nutrients such as sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, and antioxidants, which can assist in enhancing general health.
You can use soy sauce to replace MSG in many recipes. Add it to soups, stews, and salad dressings, or use it in stir-fries, marinades, and sauces. When adding soy sauce, start off with just a few drops and then adjust the amount according to taste. This will ensure that your recipe isn’t overwhelmed by the salty and umami flavor of the soy sauce.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp Monosodium Glutamate = 1 tsp soy sauce.
4. Vegetable Broth
Made from a variety of fresh vegetables, vegetable broth offers several health benefits. Not only is it rich in vitamins and minerals, but it’s also a good source of dietary fiber. In addition to its nutritious value, vegetable broth offers a savory flavor profile that works well in substitution for MSG.
Vegetable broth works great in place of MSG to enhance the flavor of sauces, casseroles, stir-fries, and other dishes. It can also be used as a marinade for meats or as a tasty base for soups and stews. The stock will have a rich flavor without the negative side effects often associated with MSG.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp Monosodium Glutamate = 1/2 cup vegetable broth + 1/2 tsp vinegar or ground tamarind.
5. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast shares a similar umami flavor with MSG, minus any adverse repercussions. Additionally, it is a good source of protein, B vitamins, and minerals, all of which are beneficial to your health. It is also widely used in vegan foods to add umami flavor and a “cheesy” texture.
When substituting nutritional yeast for MSG, it’s recommended to start with one teaspoon of nutritional yeast and modify it as needed. This guarantees that the flavor is well-balanced and not overpowering. Savory dishes like stir-fries, soups, sauces, casseroles, and more will benefit from the umami flavor that nutritional yeast offers. It may also be used to add some crunch and taste to roasted veggies and popcorn.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp Monosodium Glutamate = 1 tsp nutritional yeast.
6. Seasoned Oils
Seasoned oils are a great way to flavor a variety of dishes that would ordinarily call for MSG. They can be used to elevate the flavor of food in the same way that MSG would. To enhance stir fries and noodle dishes, for example, simply add seasoned oils such as sesame oil, garlic oil, or ginger oil. A few drops of these fragrant oils will provide a savory boost of flavor to your meals.
Seasoned oils can also be combined with different sauces like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or balsamic vinegar. Simply add one part of seasoned oil to every two parts of any sauce of your choice. They also work great in marinades and dipping sauces. Seasoned oils can also be used to make tasty condiments such as aioli.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp Monosodium Glutamate = 1 tsp seasoned oil.
Anchovies may seem like an odd choice, but these little fishes are also a viable substitute for MSG in many recipes. They’re loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. Anchovies can give dishes a rich, savory flavor when used in a marinade or sauce.
You can use anchovies to replace MSG in many dishes, from Thai curries to spaghetti sauce. The anchovies simply need to be mashed or powdered before being added to the recipe. They offer a simple and savory substitute for MSG without compromising the dish’s flavor profile.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp Monosodium Glutamate = 1 tsp anchovies.