Almonnaise - Vegan Mayonnaise Recipe ♥

Today's vegetable recipe: A spread with the consistency of mayonnaise. Made with toasted almonds, garlic, vinegar, olive oil and optional fresh herbs. Can be used as a vegan mayonnaise but useful for omnivores too. Low carb.

The summer I stopped eating meat, it was more on a whim than with a plan. A friend's pointed question had forced the realization that more meat passed my lips than realized: a chicken sandwich for lunch, a steak on the weekend, they add up unless paying close attention. Within just a few days, I was lost. Many of my favorite recipes were no longer relevant. I didn't know where to turn.

It's hard to believe, yes? But this was not only before the Internet, it was also before there were bookstores on every corner. I was already shopping at Store #2 or #3 of a small company called Whole Foods but it was a hippy-dippy place then, a resource for only the most motivated and educated cooks. Anyone care to guess the year? It wasn't that long ago. :-)

A few weeks later, my cousin Laura, a long-time vegan, pressed a cookbook into my hands. "You need this," she said. "It'll help." It was her own copy of The American Vegetarian Cookbook from the Fit for Life Kitchen by Marilyn Diamond, many pages penciled with notes. What a gift! For eight years, it was my only cookbook and my own notes far outnumber hers.

(Note to Vegetarians)

When I began to eat meat again, more mindfully this time, it was as an occasional food, once or twice a week. I put Laura's cookbook away. Especially as food magazines began to feature more and more vegetarian meals, it just wasn't necessary.

But a few weeks ago, when Lisa from Show-Me Vegan and Nupur from One Hot Stove were coming for supper, I wanted to make a seven-layer salad suitable for those who don't eat meat, eggs or dairy. It was easy enough to leave out the bacon and sliced eggs but the gorgeous Buttermilk Garlic Salad Dressing wasn't vegan either.

So I made a simpler, fresher version of the cookbook's vegan substitute for mayonnaise, one that starts with almonds. My notes read, '#1 - Wow. Especially with cilantro' and '#2 fresh dill' and '#3 dried dill' and '#4 cinnamon!'. Clearly this was a winner.

And sure enough, it is, it STILL is. And yes, this almonnaise is vegan. But it's also its own category of sauce that's entirely plant-based but has the consistency of mayonnaise. I served it last week -- there's irony here, yes? -- spread on rolls for BLTs. It's just delicious. I'd recommend it to anyone who plain likes good food, vegan, omnivore or otherwise.

"No meat, no eggs, no dairy. It's not just for vegans anymore."





ALMONNAISE

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Makes 1 cup

3/4 cup (2 ounces) sliced almonds with skins on
1/2 cup soymilk (can also use water)
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons good vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
4 tablespoons olive oil
Optional: 1 bunch of fresh cilantro or other herbs
Salt & pepper to taste

In a small skillet, toast the almonds until golden brown, stirring often and watching very carefully so not to burn. Combine almonds, soymilk, garlic and vinegar in a food processor until smooth. (The skins make this quite grainy, not the smooth consistency of mayonnaise. But they add both flavor and fiber and thus are a good thing, to my taste anyway.) With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl in a thin stream, letting the mixture slowly gain volume. Once it becomes light and fluffy, add the cilantro or other herbs. Season to taste. Will become thicker once refrigerated.




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7 comments:

And I can testify that this is completely delicious!!
Thanks for sharing the recipe, Alanna.

I'll second Nupur's sentiment - this was a very flavorful dressing. Thank you for the recipe; I can't wait to try it in my own home!

Thanks for the recipe and the story. Looks like a useful base for all sorts of good things. I see Laurel's Kitchen in your book list below -- that was an investment early in my veg life (from 1977) that helped me make sense of healthy eating, good food and good attitude. That and Diet for a Small Planet were life changing -- for the better. Even this morning, DSP came out to make pancakes for breakfast. The internet has made such a change in our resources, your blog being very inspiring!

think I can substitute sunflower seeds with the skin on instead of almonds, since I am allergic to nuts?

I think you could indeed, Talia!

I'm enjoying your blog (found it when searching how to cook beets in the microwave).

This looks delicious. I also eat meat but have been a vegetarian or vegan at points in my life, and you've just inspired me to look for and open up one of my forgotten but one-time favorite vegan cookbooks (The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld -- the paella recipe is awesome). I think I'm going to add the book back into my rotation.

Made the Almonnaise this evening. I didn't have soy milk so substituted canned coconut milk - oh yum!

Thanks for a keeper of a recipe. The family went nuts over it (no pun intended). We had it as a dip still slightly warm with steamed and chilled broccoli. So, so good.

Thanks!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna