It’s hard to imagine life without mayonnaise, but sometimes you’re faced with such an option. Whether you dislike mayo, can’t find any, or you disagree with some of the ingredients, there are ways around mayonnaise. This is a common ingredient to bind food items together, since it’s so sticky and smooth.
So when looking for a mayonnaise substitute, you have to take into account what kind of dish you’re making. Here’s what we came up with.
The best mayonnaise substitutes are guacamole, vinaigrette, baba ghanoush, hummus, cream cheese, mustard, sour cream, salsa, and pesto. All of these bring a lot of flavor and some of them bring texture as well. Which you use depends on what you’re cooking. Some are better as cold salad dressings, some are better as dips, and some are just there for extra flavor.
Later in this post we’ll explain how to make a vegan and Lent-friendly mayo, without any animal products at all. But first let’s take a look at these substitutes
Guacamole is not cheap, but it’s definitely a great way to add lots of flavor and visual impact to whatever you’re serving. it doesn’t go with everything, true, but some meals can be made into a delicious feast with guacamole.
You can easily use it as a salad dressing, if watered down with more tomato juice and olive oil. You can leave it thick and maybe even chunky, as a great nacho dip (or any kind of dip). or you can mix it into another sauce to provide more flavor.
Read also: Tomato Substitute
There’s something about the creamy avocado mixed with olive oil that reminds us a whole lot of mayo, and this is our number one substitute. It’s not that good for coating something, though, so you can’t make a Russian salad dressing out of this.
Vinaigrette is the simple emulsion of vinegar with oil. You can make it delicious with a good olive oil and apple cider vinegar, or even white wine vinegar. if you use balsamic vinegar you end up with a very muddy color that does not sit well with many people.
You can use tomato juice in place of half the vinegar in a vinaigrette. This way you can get a milder acidity. Keep in mind this is a very runny, wet kind of salad dressing, and it will coat everything evenly but pool at the bottom.
You can also use it as a dip, but you may have to mix it again every now and then. The beauty of this thing is that it’s a fresh, light kind of sauce and it can welcome all kinds of herbs. For example fresh basil, mint, sage, or rosemary all work beautifully with this.
3. Baba ghanoush
Baba ghanoush is a Mediterranean roast eggplant dip or spread. We apologize for the spelling but we’ve seen this written in so many ways, it’s hard to find the ‘right’ one. So, what do you need ? Roast eggplants, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, maybe some tahini.
This beautiful, deliciously creamy spread can be made even better by adding some freshly chopped – or rather minced – white onion, and served with some sliced tomatoes.
Baba ghanoush is great as a salad dressing, a dip, or mixed into another cold sauce for extra flavor. If you’ve never had roast eggplant, it’s a very earthy, roasty kind of flavor.
Hummus is widely known, more than baba ghanoush. You know it can me made thick or thin, chunky or creamy, depending on how you like yours (just like guacamole).
You can use hummus as a salad dressing (if you thin it out), or as a dip. And you can flavor it however you want !
5. Cream cheese
Cream cheese may not be the first thing on your mind, but hear us out. First off, it’s the perfect dip. it goes with anything spicy and provides a fresh flavor to anything. It goes particularly well with roast peppers and smoked paprika.
You can thin out cream cheese with a bit of olive oil, mustard, and a hand mixer. You can even flavor it however you like, and it’s sturdy enough to be used as a coating, like in Swedish smorgastorta.
6. Sour cream
Sour cream is like the lighter, more fresh version of mayonnaise. Like if mayonnaise and cream cheese had a lovechild. You can easily blend this with some olive oil to get a nice, thinned out dip or even salad dressing.
It takes herbs and spices very well, and you can even fold some of this into mayo to cut through that flavor if you like.
Mustard isn’t everyone’s favorite, we agree, but it can be a really good salad dressing, and maybe even a dip if you season it right.
As a salad dressing, most people go the honey-mustard route. That’s great, and it can easily be thinned out with some water and olive oil, or tomato juice.
As a dip, you have to be mindful of the vinegar content. if you’re in love with that kind of flavor, the go right ahead and use it as-is !
Pesto is another nice way to add depth of flavor to a salad. You have to really like basil though, so this might not be for everyone. You can use pesto in any way you lie, whether it’s a dip or a salad dressing or simply a way to add more flavor to something you’ve already cooked.
For example adding a dollop of pesto to some sour cream or cream cheese can really take them to another level.
Salsa is a very personal kind of sauce, and everyone mixes it just the way the like it, much like guacamole. So if you love the way your salsa turns out, why not use it as a salad dressing or dip instead ? You won’t miss the mayo, trust us.
And if you think it needs a bit more body, you can try adding sour cream, it can really help things out.
Vegan & Lent-friendly mayo without eggs
All of the above options are useful if you’re trying to get away from the mayo flavor. You’ve noticed some of them are vegan, some vegetarian, and some standard. But what about a vegan mayo, one that you can eat even during Lent ?
The main thing to replace in this case is the eggs. You can still use any cooking oil you like, as long as you use another ingredient what will help emulsify the oil. To get a light, fluffy, and stable emulsion we recommend aquafaba.
If you’ve never had it before, it’s the water from canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas). It’s full of vegetal protein, which will help the mayo fluff up and keep its structure. Aquafaba is a common vegan substitute for egg whites in many instances, and in this case we’re not using anything in place of egg yolks.
Minimalist baker has a nice recipe that uses aquafaba and is very easy to make at home. Give it a try !
Now you can make your own mayo and have several substitutes to choose from.