Teriyaki sauce is one of our favorite Japanese sauces that uses that addictive combo of sweet and salty - it turns out, neither of those things is good for your body in large quantities. We created this low-sugar teriyaki sauce to hit the spot - better yet, it's 100% plant-based!
There's a reason why Japanese cuisine is so prevalent in North American culture - it's delicious! Sushi? Great. Stir-fries? Excellent. Teriyaki? 3 for 3.
Teriyaki is a favorite, even for those less adventurous foodies, as it's sweet and salty, which easily makes our taste buds happy. Unfortunately, the store-bought versions contain high-fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed soy, and artificial colors, which are a whole bunch of yuck.
And the average sauce from the grocery store or restaurant is loaded with sugar, averaging 15-20 g per serving, or almost as much as a can of Coca-Cola (or Pepsi, we take no teams here.)
It turns out that making teriyaki sauce isn't as challenging as you might think!
We created this easy-as-pie recipe so you can whip up a batch of teriyaki that tastes just as good, without all the extra chemicals. It's ready in a quick 5-10 minutes, so you can spread it on a quick mid-week dinner when you're short on time.
Follow the instructions below to make our low-salt teriyaki sauce recipe at home!
What is teriyaki?
Most English speakers think of teriyaki as a sweet, salty, and slightly sticky sauce, though we're using the term a little inaccurately.
The term 'teriyaki' actually doesn't refer to a sauce at all, but a popular Japanese cooking technique, 'teri,' meaning luster or shine, and 'yaki,' meaning to grill or broil.
The luster in teriyaki comes from the sauce, which usually contains a soy sauce and sugar base, along with sweet Japanese rice wine, mirin, which adds a little more sweetness and acidity. The teriyaki sauce gets glazed over the meat or veggies of choice several times during the grilling or broiling process.
Is teriyaki sauce vegan?
Teriyaki sauce may be vegan, but frequently, it contains animal products or by-products. Chefs may use honey, a bee pollen product, to sweeten their sauce. Don't worry if you're wondering, "is soy sauce vegan?" it is, but it can still be high in sodium.
Most teriyaki sauces have white cane sugar because it's cheap - the issue with that is that many vegan dieters don't consider white sugar vegan, as it's often bleached with animal bone char. If vegans use organic sugar in their recipes, they can rest assured that producers didn't treat the product with any animal by-products.
Read your labels, check with your servers, and even better yet - make our healthier DIY teriyaki sauce at home instead.
Vegetarian Teriyaki Sauce Recipe - Nutrition Information
Calories: 62 kcal; Carbohydrates: 13 g; Protein: 2 g; Sodium: 1419 mg; Sugar: 9 g; Calcium: 22mg; Iron: 0.9mg.
Light Teriyaki Sauce Recipe - FAQ
Is this vegetarian teriyaki recipe healthy?
We've done our best to lighten up the classic salty, sugar-laden recipe by making a low-sugar, low-sodium teriyaki sauce.
Though we incorporate low-sodium soy sauce into our glaze, our homemade teriyaki sauce still contains a decent load of salt. The sugar dose sits at only 9 g per serving, much lower than the average 15-20 g per serving of a classic recipe. We also chose pure maple syrup for this vegan sauce, which contains a few more vitamins and minerals than pure table sugar. Maple syrup also sits a little lower on the glycemic index than regular sugar, so it shouldn't mess with your blood sugar balance quite as much.
Overall, this teriyaki is a better option than the classic version, but its salt content makes it something to enjoy in moderation, not excess.
Is this homemade teriyaki sauce gluten-free?
This recipe makes an entirely gluten-free teriyaki sauce that's safe for anyone with a gluten allergy or sensitivity. Ensure you read your soy sauce label - most brands are gluten-free, but occasionally manufacturers sneak gluten-based ingredients in there, too.
What can I serve with this sauce?
Teriyaki goes well together with most meat, but here are our favorite ways to keep your teriyaki meal vegan:
- Glaze roasted broccoli and cauliflower
- Toss it into a veggie and mushroom stir fry
- Make some teriyaki udon or rice noodles
- Swipe this sauce across thin slabs of grilled eggplant
- Roll up some teriyaki rice in a zucchini or eggplant slice
- Add it into some fried tofu and make teriyaki tofu lettuce wraps
These are just a few ideas - it tastes delicious in a surprising number of dishes, so don't be afraid to run some experiments!
Final Notes & Storage: Homemade Healthy Teriyaki Sauce
Keep this vegan teriyaki sauce in an air-tight container in your fridge for up to 7 days. You can also freeze this teriyaki in freezer-safe jars for up to 6 months for even more convenience.
Enjoy your sweet and savory teriyaki slathered onto all your favorite vegan meals!
Vegan Teriyaki Sauce Recipe: Lightening up an Asian Classic
1 c. low-sodium soy sauce
¼ c. pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp dried, ground ginger or 3 tsp fresh ginger, grated
½ tsp garlic powder
1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
¼ c. water
In a small-sized saucepan, combine all ingredients except for the cornstarch and the water: soy sauce, pure maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, fresh ginger, and garlic powder. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
Place your filled saucepan on the stovetop and heat the teriyaki stir fry sauce until it just reaches a boil, then reduce the stove's heat to a simmer.
In a small-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until well-combined, then whisk into the vegan teriyaki sauce for around 30 secs, or until it thickens.
Remove the pot from the heat.
Add this easy teriyaki sauce to your favorite stir-fry or noodles, and enjoy!