Many people who are new to the gluten-free diet find them self asking: is soy sauce gluten free? It comes as a surprise to many, but soy sauce is not gluten free. In most soy sauce, wheat is actually the first ingredient.
Like traditional soy sauce, tamari is made of fermented soybeans, but it does not contain wheat. Tamari is a Japanese style of soy sauce that is traditionally made as a byproduct of miso paste, according to Kitchn.
Kitchn says of tamari, “The differences in production [between soy sauce and tamari] give each sauce its own unique flavor. Tamari has a darker color and richer flavor than the common Chinese soy sauce you may be more familiar with. It also tastes more balanced and less salty than the sometimes harsh bite of soy sauce, which makes it great for dipping.”
San-J Soy Sauce, Kikkoman Gluten-Free Soy Sauce and Eden Organic Soy Sauce are all gluten-free options.
Coconut aminos is another soy substitute option for those who are gluten free. Coconut aminos is made from the coconut-blossom nectar of coconut palms, which is fermented and blended with sea salt.
Coconut aminos contains far less sodium than soy sauce and is free of soy and gluten. It is somewhat sweeter than soy sauce, but is still a great swap in most dishes. Coconut aminos were popularized with the Paleo diet.
What can I cook with coconut aminos and tamari?
If your mouth is watering, check out these gluten-free recipes that incorporate gluten-free soy sauce substitutions so you can try them out!
- Cantonese Roasted Meat or Chinese BBQ
- Gluten-Free Dumplings
- Vegan Sorghum “Fried Rice”
- 5-Spice Veggie Fried Rice
- Sesame Noodles
- Asian Sweet and Spicy Noodle Soup
- Gluten-Free Asian Meatballs
What is gluten?
Gluten is a name for the proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. It is found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.
Many people choose to follow a gluten-free diet because of celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly reacts to gluten as if it were a poison. When someone with celiac consumes gluten, the immune system reacts by destroying the part of the small intestine that absorbs vital nutrients. This malabsorption can lead to serious illness. Learn more about celiac disease here.