This vegan garlic aioli recipe is a quick and easy recipe that can be made in just a few minutes in the blender.
If looking for a healthy aioli recipe that you can use without guilt, this recipe is for you.
This simple vegan aioli is made without mayo and no eggs. It is 100% plant-based vegan which makes it a healthier option when compared to other aioli recipes.
Don't stress, no weird ingredients are needed to make this recipe so no need to google what the heck aquafaba is, just your everyday wholesome ingredients.
Instead of using mayonnaise or eggs, we use cashews to make a creamy, rich base, it is that easy.
This garlicky vegan sauce can be used to liven up dishes, like grain bowls, drizzled over your favorite roasted veggies and roasted potatoes, or used just like you would use mayo.
It is a versatile healthy aioli recipe that can be used as a sauce, dip, or spread.
Traditionally aioli is a vegan recipe, but over time aioli recipes have transformed into using mayonnaise (which is egg yolk, an acid like lemon juice, mustard, and oil) it is a similar consistency and taste but is much easier to make this way.
Authentic aioli originated in the Mediterranean and was made by using simple ingredients, specifically olive oil, and garlic cloves. To make it you have to grind the garlic up with a mortar and pestle and then emulsify it with the oil by hand - not a simple task.
Garlic has been known to boost the immune system, reducing colds or the length of symptoms. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and in the long term may also lead to reduced risks of certain types of cancer. Consuming garlic may reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.
Cashews have healthy fats from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. They are also a good source of magnesium, protein, and iron.
This is a simple recipe to make with a handful of everyday ingredients need to make vegan garlic aioli.
This recipe is vegan, soy-free (no tofu), dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free.
- cashews - cashews are the base of this recipe, adding fat and creaminess
- water - water is used to reduce the amount of oil and can easily be adjusted depending on how thick of a sauce you prefer
- olive oil - a traditional ingredient in true aioli recipes, go for a high-quality cold-pressed oil if possible
- apple cider vinegar - brightens and balances the sauce and helps preserve the sauce to last longer
- fresh garlic cloves - a traditional ingredient in true aioli recipes, garlic adds flavor
See the recipe card for quantities.
Equipment needed: a high-speed blender is highly recommended to get a smooth and creamy aioli sauce.
If you love an earthy woodsy sauce there is an option in the recipe card to add in fresh herbs, like thyme and rosemary, to make a garlic herbed aioli instead.
The herbed aioli pairs well with our savory grain bowl recipe that is made with roasted vegetables, like butternut squash, umami mushrooms, lemoned kale, and adobo quinoa.
Herbed Variation Health Benefits:
Rosemary has immune-boosting properties and contains carnosic and rosmarinic acids which have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.
Thyme has immune-supporting vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, and can help soothe coughs and chest congestion. It also contains oils, like thymol and carvacrol that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Roasted Garlic - swap out raw garlic for roasted garlic and adjust to taste.
Spicy - add in some spice and make a spicy aioli, use chipotle peppers, gochujang, smoked paprika with a pinch of cayenne or try this chipotle crema recipe instead.
Truffle - to make truffle aioli, substitute the olive oil for a truffled-infused oil and you can also add black truffles to taste.
Lemon & Dill - add 1 teaspoon of fresh dill (chopped), substitute lemon juice instead of apple cider vinegar, and add some lemon zest to taste.
Oil-Free - if looking for an oil-free aioli recipe substitute the oil for water.
Sub Cashews - instead of cashews substitute for almonds, just keep in mind almonds require a longer soaking time, ideally 8-12 hours.
Herbs - use dried herbs instead of fresh herbs. You can also tinker with the herbs used here and make different flavored aiolis.
Start by soaking the cashews in water for at least 30 minutes, but preferably 6 hours to maximize digestibility and health benefits - see the soak time chart for nuts & seeds.
Soaking the cashews prior to blending also ensures that you will get a smooth and creamy texture.
If you are short on time you could skip this step, shorten the soak time or do a quick soak.
Quick soak the cashews by covering them with hot boiling water for 5 minutes to soften the cashews and make them easier to blend.
Keep in mind, if you skip soaking your cashews then you will miss out on the health benefits soaking has to offer, read why soaking your nuts is important.
While the cashews are soaking, I like to chop the garlic and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Allowing the garlic to sit for 10 minutes (after being chopped) activates the health benefits of garlic.
If you are making herbed aioli prepare the herbs by destemming and chopping the fresh rosemary and thyme to measure.
Measure out the rest of the ingredients, water, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Once the cashews have soaked and softened, strain and rinse the cashews and add to the blender.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy. It is really that simple!
Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your liking, just keep in mind the flavor will continue to develop after processing.
Store in the fridge for up to 5 to 7 days.
It is highly recommended to make a larger batch since this can also be stored for future use in the freezer.
If stored in the refrigerator use it within 5 to 7 days in an airtight container or squeeze bottle with a lid.
If storing in the freezer store in a freezer-safe bag. Make sure to portion out serving sized. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
When ready to use, remove from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator. After thawed the sauce may need to be reblended so make it smooth and creamy again.
This vegan aioli recipe is versatile and can liven up all types of dishes.
Vegetables - drizzle over your favorite roasted veggies like asparagus, carrots, brussel sprouts, kale, and potatoes, or use them as a dipping sauce for artichoke hearts.
Tacos - add a dollop to tacos or other Mexican food and use it as a substitute for sour cream.
Dipping Sauce - for French fries, sweet potato fries, cauliflower hot wings, and veggie platters, to substitute ranch.
Spread - use the aioli as a spread for sandwiches and burgers, like this egg sandwich, and use it as a substitute for regular mayo. Spread onto bread and toast in the oven to make garlic bread.
Dressing - use as a salad dressing, instead of ranch dressing, or caesar dressing. Add extra water or oil if the aioli is too thick, this will help thin it out.
Protein - add to your favorite proteins, like this blackened tofu recipe or roasted chickpeas.
Aioli is a Mediterranean condiment that has changed over the last few decades, traditionally aioli was made with a mortar and pestle by pounding the cooked garlic, with the olive oil drop by drop until it was emulsified. Modern-day aioli is more easily made with the additions of egg yolk, oil, and an acid (like lemon or vinegar), which is essentially mayonnaise and then processed in a food processor.
An authentic Mediterranean aioli is vegan by default, it is simply made of garlic, olive oil, and salt. This can be a time-consuming task and is often made with egg yolk or mayonnaise. Although vegan mayo could easily be substituted.
Traditional aioli is actually a vegan recipe, made with just olive oil, garlic, and salt. Because this can be a bit time-consuming some vegan aioli recipes call for mayonnaise or cashews, like in this recipe which is a bit more health-conscious.
More Sauce Recipes
Vegan Garlic Aioli (no mayo)
- ½ cup cashews
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp fresh rosemary chopped
- ½ tsp fresh thyme chopped
- Soak the cashews for at least 30 minutes or prefereably 6 hours (or overnight) to activate health benefits.
- Peel and roughly chop the garlic and let sit.
- If making herbed aioli, destem and chop the fresh thyme and rosemary.
- After the cashews have soaked, strain and rinse the cashews.
- Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
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