Q & A: What Can I Substitute for Ketchup and Mustard?

Food substitutions, I find, fall into two different categories: preference and dietary. The former is entirely subjective, and a matter of individual tastes.

The second is a matter of life and death.

I have been substituting ingredients for my entire life; it’s part of living a kosher lifestyle. We don’t eat pork, shellfish, or meat and dairy together. This necessitates the inventive use of alternative ingredients. Yes, there is something to be said for tried and tested recipes and methods.

My first negative experience with ingredient substitution was soy milk. I was appalled that someone would subject themselves to something so uninvitingly alien. This was of course a long time ago, and I have come a long way. So when it comes to subjective tastes, I invite you lose your prejudices and try things, if for no other reason than to say definitively that you tried it, and didn’t like it.

I have found over the last decade or so that adjusting recipes to meet dietary restrictions becomes more of a challenge than an resignation. Making it taste good is, after all, the job of any cook.

People who look for substitutions as a matter of dietary concern often require different ingredients because of the health-affecting properties of the original ingredient.


Ketchup, like London Broil, is a method, not a recipe. In this case, it’s a method of preservation.

Larousse’s Gastronomique writes about both mushrooms and tomatoes as ingredients in the condiment known as ketchup. In older cookbooks, there is a wide array of fruits and vegetables that are preserved as a thickened puree with vinegar and sugar.

One delicious alternative to tomato based ketchup I found was from the Caribbean. They make a delicious Banana Ketchup that I really like.

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  • Prep Time : 15 min
  • Cook Time : 23 min
  • Ready Time : 38 min


2 cups


  • 30 mililiters canola or vegetable oil
  • 70 grams onion chopped
  • 3 clove garlic minced
  • 1 small hot pepper
  • 13 grams fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice ground
  • 400 grams banana mashed
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 40 grams honey
  • 15 mililiters sweet soy sauce optional
  • salt to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook onions, garlic, hot pepper, ginger, turmeric and allspice in vegetable oil until soft, 8 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until blended. Cook an additional 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool, 10 minutes.
  4. In a food processor or blender, puree the mixture until smooth, adding small amounts of water as necessary to adjust consistency.


While I have never found a decent substitute for mustard [nor have any of the companies who make mustard kosher for Passover], there are some horseradish/mayonnaise combinations that I find make an adequate alternative if you’re in the mood for something slightly more piquant. Adding a dash of turmeric might help, but, like primary colors, there’s no way to mix ingredients that will result in mustard.



Posted in Q&A

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