We all need some mayo in our lives, whether we’re making potato salad, or we’re eating our favorite take out fries. But there are times when we run out, sometimes right before we were meant to cook with it. Or there are also times when we want a healthier option instead.
Even those who don’t like mayonnaise have to use it every once in a while, so why not find a good mayonnaise substitute that can create a similar flavor, consistency, and that may be healthier?
Let’s start from the beginning, what is mayonnaise made of?
Also known as mayo, this is a thick, creamy sauce, or dressing that is made of oil and raw egg yolks. But the process of making it is called an emulsion, as you add the oil into the raw egg yolks slowly, which creates this solid and smooth final product.
Once the emulsion is created, you can add ingredients a little more quickly, such as lemon juice or vinegar, salt, pepper, and anything else you like.
But wait, is mayonnaise good for you?
Well, the answer here depends. Any type of fat in excess isn’t healthy, but having some of it in your diet is a good thing. Typically, mayo packs 100 calories per tablespoon, but most of it comes from fat.
The trick behind what is healthy or isn’t is the type of fat you consume, so to have a better balance, you can make mayonnaise with olive or avocado oil, or buy one made with these types of oils.
Don’t be fooled though, reduced or low-fat mayonnaise is packed with sugar, so you may be better off with a regular mayo that is made with unsaturated fats like olive, canola, or avocado oil.
Now let’s get to business. Here are the best alternatives for mayonnaise when you run out of it or you’re looking for a healthier choice:
#1. Low-fat Plain Greek Yogurt
You have probably had Greek yogurt before, as it has become a staple for breakfast and even a healthy snack. The great thing about plain Greek yogurt is that it has a tangy flavor and a thick texture, just like mayonnaise does.
You can just mix this type of yogurt as if it were mayonnaise. It’s a great way to make your chicken salad, potato salad, or coleslaw healthier and equally tasty.
There is a chance that you already have this delicious dip hummus in your refrigerator, but have you tried adding it to any recipe instead of mayonnaise? It works and it is a healthy alternative!
This Mediterranean dip is made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, paprika, and lemon juice. You can find it in many Middle Eastern restaurants, and dish, and as a popular appetizer or snack. The flavor is unique, so you should be careful when you use it.
We recommend using hummus instead of mayo in your sandwiches, or spreads, and maybe in some grain salads.
There is an avocado craze everywhere nowadays, and it isn’t wrong. This fruit is high in fatty acids and antioxidants that are good for you and it has a similar consistency to mayonnaise. Consider using avocados for more than just your salad or avocado toast.
This fruit provides just a quarter of the calories in mayonnaise and it can be mixed with all sorts of foods. Avocados are common in Latin American foods, but they are very versatile, so they make for a great swap when making salads, guacamole, dips, or spreads.
This delicious traditional Italian sauce is made from basil and olive oil, which makes it easy to make at home when in a pinch for mayonnaise. You have probably had it at your local Italian restaurant or with your favorite pasta dish, but why not try it instead of mayo in one of your recipes?
Pesto is high in unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and usually only packs 45 calories per tablespoon. You can also get creative and mix it with other spices or with avocado. This sauce works very well on sandwiches and salads, but you can experiment with it as part of a dip or vinaigrette.
This very-low-calorie sauce comes with a variety of flavors, such as dijon, tabasco, or horseradish, among some. You can swap it from mayo without a problem, but you may want to taste it beforehand, as the flavor can be very different.
Consider adding mustard to your chicken salad, potato salad, or tuna salad, but add sugar or honey for a sweeter flavor. You can find mustard almost anywhere, so take a look at your fridge, as you may have some and not even know it.
#6. Olive Oil
This type of oil may be one of the healthiest choices out there, and it can be a good alternative to your mayonnaise recipe. This is a good option for healthy fatty acids, and you can use it to make salads, sauces, spreads, vinaigrettes, or simply as a way to give your dish a little kick of flavor.
Be careful with calories, as this oil is very high in fat. As always, moderation is key, so try a little bit and taste it before adding more.
Do It Yourself!
By now you must have an idea of how to substitute for mayonnaise, but you can make your healthy version at home too. All you need to do is pick one cup of oil of your choice (we recommend olive oil) and 2 egg yolks, whisk them together slowly.
Once the emulsion is created, add 2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice, and a pinch of salt. That’s ready for you to serve!
Tuna salad is a favorite everywhere, so if you are trying to save calories, consider swapping mayonnaise for mustard or plain Greek yogurt. You can add some lime juice and a pinch of sugar or honey for flavor.
As we said before, mayonnaise isn’t necessarily unhealthy, it’s all about your portions. If you are trying to make or buy a healthy mayonnaise, try using one that is made from unsaturated fats like avocado or olive oil, and that has less sugar. Vegan mayonnaise is also a good alternative that doesn’t contain egg yolks but is instead made from soy.
Although mayonnaise is usually bought from an unrefrigerated shelf, it is not advisable to keep one outside the fridge for more than eight hours. Mayonnaise has its perishable nature so you should throw it out if it has been left out of the fridge for several hours already.
Finding a mayonnaise replacement doesn’t have to give you a headache, it can be easy and even healthy. Make sure you look at proportions and always try the substitute first to make sure the flavor is the right one. Now your favorite egg or tuna salad can be healthy and yummy!
*Photo by Valentyn_Volkov/depositphotos