I’m a self-professed mayonnaise fiend. As a kid, I used to slather the stuff on plain white bread as a snack. In the realm of school lunches, tuna salad, chicken salad, and egg salad were my jam. The common denominator? Copious amounts of mayo.
Nowadays there are quite a few vegan mayonnaise options in stores. However, I wanted to make a lighter version to cut back on the refined oil without sacrificing texture or flavor. Luckily, pureed tofu makes the perfect creamy base for this higher-protein, lower-fat vegan mayo. A little bit of aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas) helps to make it a bit fluffier and more velvety — and you can make a healthy chickpea salad with your vegan mayo while you’re at it!
Ingredients for Vegan Mayo
Tofu — This helps to make our vegan mayo thick and creamy without the addition of eggs (as in traditional mayonnaise). I typically use half of a 12-oz block of firm tofu simply because it tends to be easier to find in stores. However, you can also use a small carton of silken tofu (such as the Mori-Nu brand silken tofu).
The firm tofu will create a vegan mayo that is a bit thicker and perfect for spreading on sandwiches. If you use silken tofu, the result may be just slightly thinner, which is great if you are planning to use this as the base for a sauce or dressing.
If you don’t have a high-powered blender, it may be wise to use the silken tofu (or the softest tofu you can find), so that it will be easy for you to achieve the smoothest texture for your vegan mayo.
Lemon juice & apple cider vinegar — These add a nice tang to the mayonnaise. You can use just one or the other, but I find that together they make the most classic mayo flavor. If you don’t have ACV, you can substitute in white wine vinegar.
Dijon mustard — This is an ingredient in many classic mayo recipes. If you aren’t a big fan of mustard, I would still recommend adding it. It provides just a tiny hint of flavor, but it also acts as an emulsifier so that the oil doesn’t separate from the rest of the ingredients, keeping the vegan mayo creamy and homogenous.
Oil — Use your favorite neutral oil in this recipe. By neutral, we mean something light in flavor, such as grapeseed, vegetable, canola, safflower or sunflower oil. I enjoy using avocado oil. You can use olive oil if you like, but it has a stronger flavor that will come through in the finished product. A light olive oil might be a better option.
Aquafaba — This is chickpea cooking liquid. It will work whether you cook the chickpeas yourself or simply drain the brine from a can of chickpeas. You can also feel free to simply substitute in more oil if you don’t have aquafaba on-hand. I like to use aquafaba to help give the vegan mayo a slightly whipped texture, as well as to make it a bit lighter than traditional mayonnaise.
Salt — You can technically leave this out to make a lower-sodium vegan mayo, but I prefer to add it in.
Garlic — An optional ingredient that isn’t traditionally added to plain mayo recipes, but I absolutely love the flavor it contributes! It makes the mayo taste a bit like a garlic aioli without being over-the-top. It tastes great especially if you’re going to use this mayo as a sandwich spread.
How to Make Vegan Mayo
The process couldn’t be easier! You will simply add all the ingredients into your blender and blend until a completely smooth, whipped texture is achieved. Scrape down the sides of your blender with a spatula as needed to ensure everything is evenly blended.
At this point you can give the vegan mayonnaise a taste and adjust to your preferences. You may wish to add a little extra salt or an extra squeeze of lemon juice — go for it! The great thing about making staples from scratch is that you can season it exactly as you like.
- half a 12 oz block firm tofu, or a 12 oz carton silken tofu (see notes)
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
- 1/4 cup aquafaba chickpea cooking liquid
- 3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 clove garlic optional
- Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and purée until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of your blender as needed to ensure all ingredients are evenly blended. Depending on your desired thickness, add a little more or less aquafaba.