Good alternatives to savory ingredients include soy, meat, poultry and fish. Tomatoes and mushrooms are also good substitutes for savory ingredients. Several herbs can also be used in place of savory ingredients.
Savory flavors in some foods are caused by monosodium glutamate, or MSG. Those looking to replace MSG's savory qualities with healthier choices can turn to soy, meat, poultry and fish. Each contains a similar nutritional profile, and their flavors can be improved by different cooking techniques, such as roasting or stewing. Savory flavors are particularly common in aged meats, as the aging process begins to break down proteins and the enzymes responsible for savory flavors are released.
Tomatoes are a natural source of glutamate, which makes them a suitable substitute for MSG or other savory ingredients. Mushrooms, commonly used as a meat substitute, complement the savory tones of most proteins and, like tomatoes, have enhanced flavors when roasted.
Herbs that can be substituted for savory ingredients like MSG include thyme, marjoram and sage. Garlic, tarragon, rosemary, pepper or simply a spice called savory can also be used in its place. Other pre-packaged herb mixes such as poultry seasoning can also be used, but labels should be checked to ensure that MSG is not present.