Mayo is not vegan because it contains eggs. However, there are alternatives where you can make or buy vegan-friendly mayo.
Mayonnaise is a delicious condiment that is incredibly versatile. It works well with both fries and salads. It is best to enjoy mayonnaise in moderation, as it can be quite dense in calories, with some brands reporting 90 calories per tablespoon. Luckily, a little goes a long way, so you shouldn’t find yourself using too much.
Mayonnaise is reported to have been invented in the 16th century. There has been many discrepancies over the years as to whether it is of French or Spanish creation, however most people tend to believe it is a French product.
A basic mayonnaise recipe consists of egg yolks, vegetable or olive oil, and vinegar. This means that traditional mayo is not vegan. Initially, you may think this is simply because of the egg yolks, however that is potentially not the only ingredient that stops mayo from being vegan.
Some recipes of mayo include Dijon mustard. While Dijon mustard may seem vegan, some vegans prefer not to use this product as the fining agents — from the white wine — within it may come from animal-based produce. This would be down to the decision of the person using it, and whether it is a trusted brand that has explicitly stated that they use zero animal products.
Alternative Ingredients for Vegan Mayo
By replacing the egg and Dijon mustard, or not using a Dijon mustard substitute at all, one can easily make vegan mayo at home.
Eggs ensure that the product holds together, and one of the chemicals found in the yolks, lecithin is the cause of this emulsifying reaction. You cannot simply remove the eggs and still create a realistic mayonnaise. Instead, you need to adapt your recipe to contain an ingredient that is both vegan and an emulsifier.
Aquafaba – Commonly known as chickpea brine, this can easily replace the eggs and make your mayo 100% vegan. This will still give you the texture and taste you want. Aquafaba is also a great ingredient for other recipes, however most people simply pour it in the sink when draining tinned chickpeas. Instead, pour the brine into a sealable tub and store in the fridge.
Tofu – Another staple in the vegan diet is tofu. A little bit of this can replace those egg yolks and ensure that your mayo is vegan friendly. Tofu contains half the amount of protein than the amount found in a standard egg yolk, but also only around one fifth of the calories per 100 g, making it a healthy alternative.
Vegetable Oil and Soy Milk – While any oil will work, vegetable oil is the most ideal substitute to use in mayonnaise. This will give that creamy consistency that people associate with mayo. If you want a healthier oil, then extra virgin olive oil might be better suited to you. These oils will be of a higher quality and are linked to good heart health, which is something to consider when making a dressing or condiment.
Avocado Oil – Avocado can be a great vegan food, especially if you ensure you are buying them from a Fairtrade supplier. The creamy texture of the avocado can also help when making mayonnaise. Plus, with it being unrefined, it is much better for you than refined oils.
Dijon Mustard Substitution
These substitutions depend solely on whether the brand of Dijon mustard that you use is definitely vegan. For those that use animal fining, it is best to stick with a substitution to avoid the risk that your mustard may contain gelatin or other animal products.
Yellow Mustard – Yellow or English mustards can both be used as a replacement, and these do not use animal products as a means of fining. They may give an extra tanginess to your mayo, so less is definitely more here. A dried mustard powder can also be useful if you don’t have any fresh in your cupboard or fridge.
Make Your Own Spice – Using spices, vegetables, and herbs such as garlic, turmeric, chili peppers, and salt, you can create your own spice that will take the place of the Dijon mustard. This way, you can also alter it to taste depending on the flavors you want to bring out in your mayo.
Wasabi Paste – This is hotter than its cousin, horseradish sauce, but is completely plant-based. Horseradish is vegan but, sadly, its sauce usually contains dairy or animal products. This is where wasabi paste steps up. It will add the spice and flavor, and you only need a small amount to make a big difference.
Store-Bought vs Homemade Vegan Mayo
While it is cheaper to make your own vegan mayonnaise, there are products available in most supermarkets. A lot of leading brands have now seen there is a growing number of people who wish to purchase vegan products, through either lifestyle choice or allergies to typical ingredients. While this has increased availability, it does not mean that the products are of equal pricing.
Typically, original non-vegan products are cheaper. You tend to also get more product in a standard sized bottle or jar. For example, a standard tub of Hellman’s Vegan Mayo is $3.77 and contains 24 oz, whereas their original mayo is also $3.77 but contains 30 oz. This means that you will end up paying more for less, especially over a prolonged period of time. In addition, this does give you the luxury of storing your mayo longer.
Alternatively, you could make your own vegan mayo, as detailed above. This has an extremely limited lifespan, of up to a week, and can take time. You also run the risk of not having some of the ingredients and, therefore, being unable to make it. Yet it can be cheaper to make your own on an ad-hoc basis.
Overall, you will need to decide whether making or purchasing vegan mayo will work best for you dependent on your needs, budget, and time available.
While there is a variety of flavored mayonnaise available that does contain animal products, it brings to question whether you can buy, or make, your own flavored mayo. Luckily, there are ways to recreate some popular flavors without having to compromise on your morals and values.
Lemon Mayo – Creating your own mayo, then adding some lemon juice and crushed garlic sounds far too easy, but it is! This would work perfectly with salads, some vegan pizzas, and even tofu burgers.
Herby Mayo – For the perfect vegan salad dressing, chopping up some parsley and basil, then adding it to your homemade mayo, is the answer. The extra herbs don’t cost a lot, especially if you have an herb garden. They can also aid you in recreating popular mayo-based sauces from your favorite takeout’s, such as a pizza dipping sauce.
Sriracha Mayo – Some people prefer a bit of spice with their food, but don’t want condiments with a watery consistency. You can either buy or make sriracha mayo. Flying Goose has their own sriracha mayo that has accredited vegan status, or you could pour a few drops into your homemade or store-bought vegan mayo for a similar effect.
Garlic Mayo – Another popular type of mayo that can now be bought or made to be vegan-friendly. Garlic mayo goes great with sandwiches, salads, and fries. You could make this by adding garlic salt, or crushed garlic cloves, to your pre-made vegan mayo.
To summarize, most store-bought mayonnaise sadly isn’t vegan. Even an egg-free mayo may still contain traces of animal produce, so should be avoided.
Vegan mayonnaise can be bought, but this may come at a higher cost and taste different to standard mayonnaise.
Therefore, for the best possible outcome for both your palate and wallet, it is wisest to make your own. The substitute ingredients are typically easy to come by, and may already be present in your home.
As with any homemade condiment, it is best to keep your creation in a sealed container and throw out after 7 days. Unlike store bought varieties, you probably won’t have the preservatives. That is a small price to pay for being able to indulge in your very own vegan mayo.