How To Make Easy Vegan Mayonnaise

How To Make Easy Vegan Mayonnaise

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Emma Christensen
Feb 24, 2016
(Image credit: Christine Han)

This is the absolute easiest vegan mayonnaise that I know. It's the one I pull out when I have a vegan friend coming over for lunch, or if the host of a dinner party asks me to bring a light dip for an appetizer. It calls for three ingredients and a blender, and it makes a creamy, slightly tangy mayonnaise that's ready to go with your favorite sandwich or salad.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

The Secret Is Tofu

Specifically, the secret is silken tofu. This tofu has the texture of barely set custard and a fairly neutral flavor. It blends easily into a creamy spread and makes a good base for things like garlicky aioli or herbed mayo. Look for it in the refrigerator section at your grocery store.

If you can only find firm tofu, that's fine to use, but you may need to add a little extra water to loosen up the texture. You might also notice a slight graininess in the mayo.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Turning Tofu into Mayonnaise

To achieve a true mayo look-alike, you need to add a little oil and acid. Oil gives this mayonnaise richness, while the acid adds some punch. For the oil, opt for something neutral, like grapeseed oil or canola; strong-tasting oils like olive oil can also be used, but be aware that the flavor can be very intense. For the acid, I like lemon juice or cider vinegar. Both add bright acidity and a fresh flavor.

I also like to blend in a little mustard and agave syrup. They give it a slightly more "mayonnaise-like" flavor. It's also fun to play around with blending in ingredients like garlic, fresh herbs, chipotle peppers, or ground spices.

Using Vegan Mayonnaise

This mayonnaise can take the place of regular mayonnaise in any uncooked recipe; spread it on a sandwich or blend into a dip for chips and veggies. In small amounts, it can be used in cooked dishes and casseroles, but avoid recipes where mayonnaise is a main ingredient. (Vegan mayonnaise doesn't have quite the same cooking properties as regular mayonnaise and might not behave the same.)

Once made, you can store this vegan mayonnaise in the fridge for up to a week.

How To Make Easy Vegan Mayonnaise

Makes 1 to 1 1/4 cups

What You Need

Ingredients
8 ounces (1/2 block) silken tofu
2 to 3 tablespoons neutral-tasting vegetable oil, like grapeseed or canola
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice or cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dijon or yellow mustard, optional
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar or other sweetener, if you like a slightly sweet mayonnaise

Equipment
Blender, food processor, or immersion blender
Rubber spatula

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse the tofu: Very gently drain the tofu and rinse under running water. It's fine if it breaks while you're rinsing. Transfer the tofu to a blender, food processor, or the cup of an immersion blender.
  2. Combine the mayo ingredients: Add the oil, vinegar, and salt to the tofu. Start with the lesser of the recommended amounts; you can add more to taste later on.
  3. Blend until smooth and creamy: Blend the tofu continuously until it becomes smooth and very creamy. Stop the blender and scrape down the sides as needed during blending.
  4. Taste and adjust: Taste the mayonnaise. Add more olive oil for a creamier, richer mayo or a tablespoon of water to loosen the texture. Add mustard or agave, additional lemon juice or vinegar, or more salt, according to your taste.
  5. Use or store the mayo: Store the mayonnaise in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Recipe Notes

  • Other flavors: You can also blend garlic, fresh herbs, or spices into your mayonnaise to season.
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