Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
20 Feb

Homemade Condiment Creations

Tomatoes – yep. Vinegar – seems fine. Sugar – wait, what? Even ketchup isn’t safe from the wrath of sugar.

Think you have to ditch the bottle – the condiment bottle that is – in order to avoid these hidden sugars? Not a chance, especially if you have the baseline kitchen skills necessary to whip up some of these homemade alternatives. Read on for simple Primal recipes for ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, barbeque sauce and almond butter. Enjoy!



There’s no need to give up ketchup if you can opt for this sugar-free (but no less delicious) 3-minute variety.

6 ounces tomato paste
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp of your preferred sugar substitute (optional)
2 tbsp onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp pepper

Combine ingredients in food processor and blend until the onion disappears. Spoon mixture into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.



If using raw eggs in mayonnaise makes you nervous, try this recipe, which not only dramatically reduces the sugar content but also partially cooks the eggs!

2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp water
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 cup pure olive oil

Heat the egg yolks, lemon juice, water, and mustard in a small skillet over very low heat, stirring constantly. At the first sign of thickness, remove from heat and submerge in a large pan of cold water (you should continue stirring here to avoid creating citrus-y scrambled eggs…trust us!) Scoop mixture out of pan and into a food processor. Blend for a few seconds and then let mixture sit uncovered for at least 5 minutes to cool. Add remaining dry ingredients, and blend on low speed. Drizzle oil slowly into the mixture until all ingredients are combined. Scoop into a large glass container and chill immediately. Mayonaise should keep for at least one week if stored correctly.


Ahhh…mustard. Another childhood favorite. But did you know many varieties contain a hefty dose of brown sugar? Cut the carbs – and synthesize the taste – by following this spicy mustard recipe

1/4 cup white or brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup dry mustard
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp cold water

Place mustard seeds, wine vinegar and wine in a small bowl and let sit for 3 hours. Pour the contents of the bowl and the water into a food processor with a steel blade. Blend until seeds are broken up and then add the dry mustard, salt, allspice, and water, and process until smooth. Scoop into glass container and refrigerate 12 hours before serving.

Faux Honey Mustard

This is perhaps one of the most delicious (and kid-friendly) ways to sweeten the appeal of a chicken dish!

1 cup mayonnaise (extra credit if you use your own homemade version!)
1/3 cup mustard (again, there’s no harm in using your own!)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 packet sugar substitute or a bit of honey

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix thoroughly. To store, refrigerate in airtight container.

Barbeque Sauce

Ever wonder what makes barbeque sauce so delicious? Perhaps it’s the 30 grams of sugar per 1/4 cup serving? Don’t want to give up this comfort food favorite? Then try this innovative recipe!

2 strips of thick bacon, chopped fine or 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, or chipotle powder to taste (this gives the sauce its smoky flavor, so using either the bacon or the spices is fine!)
1 small onion (minced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup (again, use your homemade version!)
3 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch cinnamon
Hot sauce to taste (any variety is fine!)

If using bacon, fry in a 2-qt pan (no oil) until cooked through. Add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes (or until onion browns). Add in garlic and cook for a minute, then mix in all other ingredients and simmer for about 30 minutes. Test the mixture and add other spices, more vinegar or hot sauce until you achieve the desired taste. To store, scoop into a large plastic container and keep refrigerated.

Almond Butter

Looking for a peanut butter alternative? Try this almond butter recipe – its quick, easy, and super nutritious!

3 lbs raw, unsalted almonds

Spread almonds on cookie sheets and toast in a 350 degree F. oven for about 10-15 minutes, stirring them around occasionally to ensure that they are toasting evenly. Let cool for 30-45 minutes. In a food processor, add handfuls of almonds at a time through the shoot opening and blend on high. Periodically open blender and scrape down sides to make sure that mixture is blending evenly. If you prefer a chunkier almond butter, save a handful for the end and then add in while pulsing food processor to attain desired consistency.

Share your favorite homemade condiment making tips and recipes in the comment boards!

erikadotnet,, WordRidden, mightymightymatze, my amil, sproutgrrl Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

Choose Your Own Salad Adventure

Healthy Tastes Great Recipes!

FitSugar: Amazing Almond Butter Attributes

Sugar Shock: Heinz Wants Sweeter Tomatoes

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You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Just printed it! Thanks for the suggestions. By the way, you can do other nut butters too. My all-time favorite is cashew.

    Frank wrote on February 20th, 2008
    • You can use any nuts. Macadamia butter is fab!!! Follow same process as above just sub other nuts. Pumpkin/sunflower seeds work well too!

      Laura wrote on November 20th, 2012
  2. There’s no need for any sugar in mustard! And I’d be careful of that recommendation for “sugar-free” cola in the barbecue sauce. First of all, colas that don’t contain sugar often contain high fructose corn syrup, to say nothing of their other ingredients. Also, per the sugar-substitute suggestions, I’m wary of all the fake sugars out there. Sugar is terrible for you, sure, but I’d rather eat unsweetened food than eat a very processed fake sugar that hasn’t been around long enough to see long-term effects. Or I’d rather use a little honey; it’s bad for you, but at least it’s a natural food.

    Huckleberry wrote on February 20th, 2008
    • Splenda is really really bad for you.

      The Momma wrote on March 25th, 2011
    • Honey isn’t bad for you.. it’s toxic to babies and toddlers.. that’s about it.

      Amanda wrote on May 4th, 2012
      • Honey isn’t toxic to babies and toddlers – they’ve found botulism in *some* samples of it in *tiny* amounts – so they recommend that you don’t give it to children under 1 here in Australia.

        Molly wrote on May 4th, 2012
        • I am a major honey lover as a sweetener, but the warning for babies should be taken VERY seriously. Someone our family knows has a son who almost died due to botulism in honey and if he does survive, he is looking at a hard life from all the destruction that happened in his body!

          Sarah wrote on March 1st, 2013
        • There’s always fresh stevia leaves

          Jennapher wrote on March 8th, 2013
      • Honey is not toxic to babies and toddlers, how could it be?

        Jen wrote on July 1st, 2013
        • RAW unpasturized honey is what is bad for infants and toddlers

          Beth wrote on July 11th, 2013
        • The concern is botulism spores. Raw honey is actually safer because pasteurizing the honey doesn’t kill the spores while raw honey has some defense mechanisms. Botulism is also found on fruits and vegetables, though, so unless you’re planning on not giving your child any of those things for the first year, I don’t really know what you could do. As for Sarah, 1. Was he under a year of age and 2. How do they know it was the honey and not some produce?

          Summer Abdelghani wrote on September 26th, 2014
    • Xylitol is a real sugar made from beets and other dark fruits and vegetables. It’s all natural, and it’s not bad for you like cane sugar is. If you ever use it, however, be sure not to get xylitol made from corn. If that’s all that is available, it’s okay, but it’s better to use the one from beets, etc. I’ve been doing a diet recently that cuts out all sugar, and the only sugar you can have is xylitol. I can’t even have honey. I lost six lbs in the first week. I’m up to 10 lbs now, and not even three weeks in. My husband has been doing the diet as well, and lost 10 lbs the first week, and 14 total so far. If you’re interested, you can find xylitol in almost any health food store, and it should tell on the packaging whether it comes from corn or beets. Hope this helps! :)

      Traci wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • Xylitol can cause gastrointestinal distress. It’s also far from calorie-free, it has 2/3 the calories of sugar. So it’s less, but not none. I highly recommend Stevia. If you use it in small quantities, it doesn’t leave a nasty taste, and it’s truly natural. Just be sure to get pure stevia and not a mix like Truvia.

        Sam wrote on July 12th, 2012
      • “Xylitol is a real sugar made from beets” Good to know they found another use for MSG.

        sam wrote on July 16th, 2012
      • I think that Xylitol is made from birch wood…not beets.

        Jules07052 wrote on April 18th, 2013
    • Honey is not bad for you. It is a natural sugar, and has a lot of great health benefits. The natural sugar in honey does not cause you to gain weight, yet it does not cause you to lose weight, either. It does not mess with your blood sugars as drastically as white sugar does. My nutritionist highly recommends honey or agave to use a sweetener. Our pediatrician has told us that once children are over the age of 1, honey is pretty safe for them.

      Sarah wrote on September 15th, 2013
    • You could also use Zevia Cola, which taste exactly the same but uses Stevia leaf extract instead of sugar. Plus it contains natural fiber.

      Tim wrote on May 15th, 2014
  3. I love this nut butter recipe which I created. I have made many combos but this is my fav:
    1 c chop walnuts, 1 c chop pecans, 1/3 c flax seeds
    whirl/process/scrape and enjoy

    I also make my own mayo–
    1 egg with juice of 1/2-1 lemon, pinch salt, 1 spoon
    stoneground natural mustard (no sweeteners in it–usually use Eden or westbrae), 1 c EVO (I find no prob with it)

    Thanks for your recipes. Will give em a try!

    sarena wrote on February 20th, 2008
  4. Huckleberry –

    The mustard recipe doesn’t call for sugar.

    Sugar free cola never has HFCS, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to call it sugar free.

    I sort of agree with your sugar substitute comment. Though, I haven’t seen any studies to suggest Splenda is bad. Have you? Sweet things rarely are a part of my diet, but if a certain recipe calls for sugar I’d take a packet of splenda over a cup of sugar any day…

    Cheri wrote on February 20th, 2008
    • “animals have shown that sucralose can cause problems. These include an enlarged liver and kidneys, reduced growth rate, decreased red blood cell count and decreased fetal body weights”

      There’s more. Follow the links to find the original studies. Splenda likely lobbied it’s way into your mouth with big bucks.

      I read somewhere else the side effects are more likely to happen in people with healthy GI tracts ( like primal people).

      Grok wrote on June 9th, 2009
      • I understand there were virtually no studies on the effects of Splenda on humans before it was approved. Splenda is higher on the glycemic index that refined sugar. nuf said.

        If you must have sweet a pinch of Stevia powder or a drop of Stevia liquid goes a long way.

        Mary Anne wrote on July 9th, 2010
    • Lets try this again, shall we? Having issues with the enter button here 😐

      Splenda is really really bad for you:

      If you must use a sugar substitute, stick with xylitol or REAL stevia, not truvia, the mfrs add a bunch of crap to it so they can patent it and copyright it. Can’t really patent a plant.

      The Momma wrote on March 25th, 2011
    • Powdered Splenda has maltitol in it, which is best avoided. However, pure liquid sucralose (the sweet stuff in Splenda) is available online and it tastes great. A very little bit goes a long way and it is harmless, unlike Aspartame and some other artificial sweeteners.

      EG wrote on May 5th, 2012
  5. ooh! i’m actually excited to try this! but i gotta say, giving up my ketchup… you might have to fight me for it.

    Rachel wrote on February 20th, 2008
    • See Nourishing Traditions cookbook for a really GREAT ketchup recipe.

      Mary Anne wrote on July 9th, 2010
  6. Real Mayonnaise never has sugar in it! So there is not need to take it out. That creamy stuff labelled ‘slad dressing’ that looks like mayonnaise does have sugar which is one one many reasons to avoid it. And why do you say not to use extra-virgin olive oil? I thought “pure” olive oil was super-processed oil? I use a mix of cold-pressed almond oil and a French extra-virgin olive oil so that the olive oil taste is not too strong, but it can be made with all extra virgin olive oil if you like the taste.

    KB wrote on February 20th, 2008
    • ****Even HELLMANN’S Mayonnaise now has added SUGAR to there ingredients!!!!!! And I’m not talking about the light mayo, which you expect sugar to show up in. It’s in Hellmann’s regular mayo. I’m not disappointed, I’m mad. You see why I came searching for recipes for mayo today. Atkins dieters will have their diets screwed up until they check the label, but who would think to check Hellmann’s? Ugghhh.

      Kristi wrote on November 6th, 2010
      • I too just called Hellmans about all the sugar in their mayo, I am really upset by it, may just have to start making my own BUT not with receipes like these. For some reason people think if it says nosugar in, it isnt sweet, not so! It JUST means they put this G A B A G E!!!! artificial sweetner, shameno any company who USES IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Christel Krahe wrote on April 8th, 2012
    • Also, most mayonnaise is made using vegetable oil instead of olive oil.

      JW wrote on January 2nd, 2012
    • My mother taught me how to make mayonnaise when I was a kid. My paternal grand-mother, who was French, taught her. They recipe has been in our family for generations. Even my grand-father made mayonnaise. There was never any store-bought stuff in our house. We always used extra virgin olive oil, and we always used apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice. It was sooo good :)

      The first time I had Miracle Whip, I felt like I needed to wipe my tongue off… waaaaaay too sweet for me *shiver*

      Denise wrote on September 20th, 2012
      • Would you be willing to share the family recipe, please?

        Verna wrote on March 4th, 2013
    • I use walnut oil in my mayo. Yum.

      Jules07052 wrote on April 18th, 2013
  7. I’m a little concerned about the use of sugar substitute.

    I think it’s better to adjust to the natural taste of food than to add unnatural substitutes. There is some data out there that supports the idea that the brain gets confused between the apparent ingestion of calories yet no carbohydrate to metabolize. It turns out, you’re not really doing yourself any favours since you tend to eat the “saved” calories later on.

    Jessica wrote on February 20th, 2008
  8. You guys are hardcore! The sugar substitutes seem to be just a small part of a couple recipes. If you don’t like them, don’t use ’em.

    I took the EVOO non-recommendation to mean that EVOO is too good/expensive to be used in mayo – that is, you lose the nuances of the taste of EVOO when it is used in an amalgamation like mayo. I have heard other people suggest things to this effect in the past.

    Matt wrote on February 20th, 2008
  9. We’ll be doing a full length blog post on sugar substitutes soon. Stay tuned!

    Aaron wrote on February 20th, 2008
  10. These are great. Sometimes you just have to have these condiments, but hate using store bought stuff. Finally, some better options. Thanks.

    Walter wrote on February 20th, 2008
  11. Diet cola? Really? That seems so antithetical to everything this website is about.

    And also, most storebought mustard is unsweetened and sugar- (and calorie-) free.

    But really. Sugar-free cola is pretty much diet cola, no? Chemical grossness.

    surplusj wrote on February 20th, 2008
  12. Unless I misread it, the first time I looked at the mustard recipe it called for a small amount of sugar. Did I misread it? Was it edited?

    Huckleberry wrote on February 20th, 2008
  13. Thanks for this article, great stuff.

    Jerry wrote on February 20th, 2008
  14. Okay, now I’m confusing myself by mixing up words. I actually meant the mayonnaise recipe, not the mustard one, but it also now doesn’t have sugar listed. I thought the first time I read it it had a small amount. Did it previously and was it edited out?

    Huckleberry wrote on February 20th, 2008
  15. The small amount of sugar was cut out of the mayo recipe even though it was only 1/2 tsp (literally only about 8 calories directly from sugar for the whole lot of mayo) just to avoid any confusion. There never was any sugar in the mustard recipe.

    Aaron wrote on February 20th, 2008
  16. surplusj –

    Give ’em a break. They aren’t suggesting you suck down diet sodas every day. That certainly could mess with your system. They are giving you an alternative bbq sauce that you would probably use a couple of tablespoons of tops once in a blue moon. These things are matters of degrees and life is all about compromises. Again, if you don’t like it don’t include it – no biggie.

    Walter wrote on February 20th, 2008
  17. Walter – I only object so strongly because it’s so random and unnecessary. There are plenty of ways to make bbq sauce (or buy it!) without tons of sugar *or* a diet coke. If the whole point is healthier alternatives, why offer one up with needless crap?

    surplusj wrote on February 20th, 2008
    • Hey man, you have a barbecue sauce recipe that doesn’t have sugar OR diet soda, I’d love to hear it.

      You definitely need something sweet to balance the vinegar (we’re definitely talking about pulled, vinegar-based, NC-style, barbecue here – not the gooey, also-sweetened, KC style) and for anyone eliminating sugars or watching GI effects, diet coke is really the only readily-available alternative.

      Seth wrote on March 30th, 2011
      • You could try using a few dried prunes to sweeten the bbq sauce. They are nice and sweet, and they work well with spices.

        Denise wrote on September 20th, 2012
        • I tried recipe using dates as the sweetener. Added ample sweetness (BBQ sauce is supposed to be savoury remember) and also added a subtle new underlying flavour. To anyone panicking about making something without sugar or sugar substitute, try dates!

          Jacqui wrote on January 17th, 2014
  18. I love mustard, i always season chicken, meat with mustard and red pepper before cooking,, it really flavors it up!

    Donna wrote on February 20th, 2008
  19. I think you are kind of over-reacting too, surplusj. I too think it is a little out of the ordinary for Mark’s Daily Apple. But in the bigger context of things it is but a small part that is pretty harmless in my estimation.

    Sara wrote on February 20th, 2008
  20. Thanks for the comment, Donna! Mustard and spices can do wonders to pep up a boring old dish without any additional calories whatsoever.

    Aaron wrote on February 20th, 2008
  21. I definitely see where you are coming from, surplusj. We’ve got a new Worker Bee working for us at MDA that is still in training.

    You’re right that a few points weren’t spot on with our usual diet suggestions, or could at least be a cause of some confusion. But I think the message of finding sensible alternatives for often times not-so-sensible staples of the American diet was solid. I’m going to make a few amendments to avoid any further confusion. Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

    Aaron wrote on February 20th, 2008
  22. My experience is that EVOO mayonnaise tastes bitter. I did read somewhere that this is because of the high-speed blending in the food processor or blender. It is possible, but time-consuming and kind of boring (or maybe I mean “zen”), to make mayonnaise with a bowl and whisk, and it may be less bitter that way. I’m only saying what I’ve heard – I haven’t tried it myself yet.

    re: sweeteners. I almost never use artificial sweeteners, and when I do I always cut the amount the original recipe calls for in half (or even less). If that gets me down to 1 tsp or less per serving, I use real sugar instead. But I also sympathize that it can be very hard the first few days you are trying to give up sugar, and I definitely used artificial sweeteners more liberally until I gave up the sugar habit.

    Migraineur wrote on February 20th, 2008
  23. I didn’t mean to attack anyone, especially not a new Worker Bee. I’m all for flexibility. The diet cola just seemed unnecessary, and why waste junk food where you can’t even taste it?

    surplusj wrote on February 20th, 2008
  24. You’re welcome Aaron,
    Fish is also great seasoned that way to cook. I learned to season my food that way growing up in Louisiana, red pepper is a big deal down there,(spicy!) Bon’Apetite’

    Donna wrote on February 21st, 2008
  25. I have a very successful recipe for rice milk (my wife is lactose intolerant.) Simmer a cup of brown rice in two cups good water with about 1/2 tsp of sea salt for 25 minutes. Put the cooked rice (with any water left) into a powerful blender (like a Vitamix), and add 2 more cups good water. Start blender on medium and add about two tbls olive oil, about 1/2 tsp of soy lecithin, about 2 tbls honey and a squirt of vanilla.
    Increase blender speed to high until the emulsion takes hold and run until the blend is smooth. Then add 2 cups more of good water, mix well and your milk is done. Refrigerate in glass until cool; you can add a little more water and shake it if it is too creamy for your cereal taste.

    Tom Orlando wrote on February 21st, 2008
  26. Although the recipe description mentions a diet sods being used to sweeten the barbecue source there does not seem to be any mention of diet soda in the actual recipe.

    Gryndyl wrote on October 2nd, 2008
  27. Once again I’m impressed with the great looking pictures and the way you simplify making real foods for people.

    When I made mayo with EVOO my students and their family members had trouble getting past the greenish color and grassy taste. I assume that’s why you recommend olive oil but not EV olive oil for your mayo. I’ve never tried it the way you make it w/lightly cooked eggs. Will try when I run out of what I have in the fridge.

    Chef Rachel wrote on May 20th, 2009
    • Could you please tell me, what is EVOO? I’m experimenting with making my own mayonnaise and have tried combining different oils (avocado, walnut, coconut) with the olive oil because the olive oil taste was too strong. I would like to know about EVOO. Thanks!

      Bonnie G wrote on May 12th, 2012
      • EVOO – extra virgin olive oil

        ~heather~ wrote on May 12th, 2012
      • and try using olive oil that is listed as Light Tasting — I use a combo of light tasting olive oil and avocado oil following Melissa Joulwan’s recipe on (

        ~heather~ wrote on May 12th, 2012
        • She has the best ever mayo, I make it a couple of times a week for years now. Light OO and some refined organic coconut oil, two pastured eggs, lemon juice, ACV, lots of turmeric and some dry mustard. In a food processor. Yum.

          jean wrote on August 26th, 2014
      • OK. EVOO is extra virgin olive oil. I just figured it out for myself. I’m new to this site and have to get used to the acronyms.

        Bonnie G wrote on May 12th, 2012
  28. Yes, I don’t see the diet soda in the barbecue sauce recipe as well. I was going to leave it out anyway.

    Lars wrote on December 9th, 2009
  29. Thanks for these alternatives! I stumbled across them just after talking about looking for alternatives. . .

    How long will these recipes keep in the refrigerator?

    Frank wrote on December 13th, 2009

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