Meatless Monday: Stir-Fried Veggie bowl with Low-Sodium Teriyaki Sauce

I’ve used this recipe for teriyaki sauce poured over veggies a couple of times now, and it’s delicious. But it’s also got a TON of salt and sugar in it. So I set about making a teriyaki sauce that utilizes less than half of the sodium and sugar. The secret is miso. Yes, miso has a fair amount of sodium in it — anywhere between 100 and 300 mg per tablespoon, which will easily make a cup of miso broth — but soy sauce has over 2,0000 mg in 1/4 cup! That’s a lot of salt! The recipe also calls for 1/4 sugar AND 2 tablespoons of honey. Don’t worry, though, we can make up the difference in flavor by actually adding more good things.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1/2 tablespoon miso (I used a robust red miso), thoroughly dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger or ginger powder
  • Paprika, cumin, coriander (small amounts)
  • 1/8 tsp stevia powder (seriously, a little goes a loooong way)
  • Squirt of sriracha
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  • Lime wedge
  • 1 tbsp flax seed (optional)
  • Sesame oil (optional)
  • Drizzle of honey (optional)
  • Soy sauce (just a little, bit, though!)

Time: 15 minutes

Directions: In a small saucepan, start heating up 1 cup of water over a low heat. Pour the dissolved miso into the water, add ginger, and press the garlic into the mixture. You could also probably sautee the garlic lightly in sesame oil first, to give it more of a presence, but I didn’t this time.

Bring the water to a low simmer, and start experimenting. Because stevia was the less-known factor for me (I don’t make many sweets), I added my scant 1/8 tsp stevia powder first and adjusted to balance.

My recommended spice amounts: 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 1 1/2 tsp coriander, and then go up from there. I like more coriander because it has kind of a sweet, complex flavor that helps build the sweet part of the flavor profile in lieu of sugar. (Yeah, I’m using lingo I don’t really understand. But it’s damn tasty, so…) The paprika and cumin help build a kind of smokey niceness that you could actually probably leave out, but a. I like it a lot, and b. I’m trying to incorporate lots of different kinds of spices into my food for health benefits. (Does powder do as well as fresh? No, but we do what we can.)

I didn’t have any honey on hand, but I did add about a 1/2 tablespoon of sugar in the raw. That little sparkle of molasses-y sweet was really all it needed. A small squirt of honey instead would also be divine.

In the same vein, I did cave and toss a little soy sauce in there. Just a splash, though, for the Compatriot, as he likes his food pretty dang salty. But if you’re used to not eating so much salt, the miso should be plenty salty on its own.

I also tossed in a large pinch of flax seed, for added substance and nutty flavor. Don’t forget the squirt of sriracha! (Squirt is a technical term that usually means “as much as you can handle plus a little bit more by accident.”)

Finally, I added the dissolved cornstarch and simmered for two more minutes until it thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. This also cooked the garlic and flax seed down enough that they weren’t really noticeable in the final texture.

The end result was the smallest bit reminiscent of a barbecue sauce (probably because of all the smokey nuttiness I added in). This was easily fixed with a hearty squeeze of lime juice, but if that’s not your thing, I suggest trying this sauce anyway, and adding a lot more ginger and less paprika/cumin/flax seed.

Ingredients for Everything Else:

1 bag frozen vegetables

1 cup quinoa

Cook the quinoa in a pot according to the package directions. (Or, in case of no package directions, 1 cup – 1 cup water or broth, bring to a boil, lower heat and cook for 15 minutes.) I used this time to make the sauce.

Heat the vegetables in a covered frying pan until soft. Pour the sauce over, re-cover, and steam in the sauce until vegetables are desired consistency.

You could use rice or noodles as well. Or use as a tofu marinade. Do whatever you want with it, secure in the knowledge that you didn’t just go over your daily sodium limit by like 300%.



Alternately, sautee the veggies in oil for a couple of minutes and pour the sauce over after cooking; this will result in a different texture and a slightly different taste.


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