Tartar sauce is often served with fried fish entrees.

Healthy Alternatives to Tartar Sauce

by Sara Ipatenco

The tangy zip of tartar sauce can be the perfect complement to fish, but it isn't necessarily the healthiest choice of condiment. Tartar sauce is made with mayonnaise, which contains a lot of fat and sodium. A two-tablespoon serving of tartar sauce contains 5 grams of fat, of which 1 gram is saturated. The same portion also has 200 milligrams of sodium. Swapping your usual tartar sauce for a healthier alternative is a wise choice that will reduce your intake of saturated fat and sodium, as well as boost your intake of certain nutrients.

Greek Yogurt

Plain yogurt has a similar texture compared to mayonnaise, and it contains a good dose of protein and calcium, as well. Nonfat Greek yogurt is lower in fat with less than 1 gram per 1/4-cup serving. Almost none of that fat is saturated fat. That same serving has just 15 milligrams of sodium. Because plain Greek yogurt has such a mild taste, simply swap the mayonnaise for the yogurt in your favorite tartar sauce recipe. You might also experiment with different flavors. Mix dried herbs and spices, such as rosemary, chili powder or cumin, into the yogurt or stir in chopped fresh herbs such as dill or parsley. Sea salt and black pepper is another tasty combination.


Hummus is made by pureeing chickpeas with tahini, garlic, oil, lemon juice and sometimes dried herbs and spices. The chickpeas are low in fat and are high in fiber and protein. A tablespoon of hummus contains 1.4 grams of fat, of which almost none is saturated fat. That same portion has 57 milligrams of sodium. Hummus is readily available at most large supermarkets, and it often comes in a variety of flavors such as roasted red pepper or garlic. The creamy texture is also a good complement to the foods you would normally dip into tartar sauce.

Pureed Vegetables

A simple vegetable puree is another healthier alternative to tartar sauce, and many purees complement the flavor of fish or other foods you normally enjoy with tartar sauce. Prepare a vegetable dipping sauce by steaming vegetables, such as carrots, cauliflower, broccoli or peas, and pureeing them in your blender. Season the vegetables with your favorite herbs and spices to enhance the flavor. Using vegetable puree is a smart way to boost your intake of these highly nutritious foods, which supply fiber, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Eating plenty of vegetables might also reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

Additional Alternatives

Tomato salsa is a vitamin C-packed alternative to tartar sauce, and it's low in fat and calories. Read labels, however, because bottled salsas can be high in sodium. No-sugar-added fruit chutney is another idea that will add a bit of sweetness to your meal. Cottage cheese whipped with herbs and spices is another flavorful alternative that also supplies protein and calcium. If all else fails, ketchup is much lower in fat and calories than tartar sauce, but look for reduced-sodium versions because the condiment can be high in sodium.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

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