Aioli is a sauce that is made from olive oil and garlic, so for garlic fans like me, it is absolutely to die for! It is a sauce often used in traditional Mediterranean cuisines, used as a condiment or dip, or even as an ingredient on its own in other dishes. It can be made using cooked or raw garlic either way.
The word Aioli comes from the Provencal noun ‘aigre’ which means ‘sour’. It could also come from the Catalan word “all i oli” which would just mean “garlic and oil”.
But let’s get more into what it is, and if we vegans can truly enjoy it without having to ask 100 questions!
What Is Aioli?
So, what is aioli? Well, it is not that dissimilar to garlic mayonnaise, but it is different. It is made using olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. But, no eggs. It is useful in many ways.
Aioli originated from Provence, France, and was typically made from mashed up garlic and olive oil mixed in a mortar and pestle and then left to sit for 10 minutes before being served cold, often with seafood or fish.
Modern aioli is found with or without raw eggs and it could be served cold as usual, or warm. It is still mainly used on seafood dishes, such as shrimp dishes but is often also used in potato salad, pasta salad, or even to make sandwiches!
Is Aioli Vegan?
While most of us believe it is vegan, this is not always true. As modern aioli can contain eggs, it all depends on whether or not eggs are added to the dish or not. However, traditional aioli recipes rarely added eggs.
This means that traditionally it is vegan, but, when you buy aioli you need to check that it has not had eggs added to it.
Many restaurants now typically market garlic mayo as aioli, which is deceptive. There is nothing wrong with garlic mayo, but it is misleading to people who have an egg allergy or to vegans.
So, this means you should always check. But, you can still make egg-free aioli at home yourself if you want, it is very easy to do so!
Aioli Vs Garlic Mayo
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It is a common misconception that has gone around that aioli and garlic mayo are the same, they are not. They are similar in texture and color, but they have some very key differences too.
Aioli is made with garlic and olive oil, but garlic mayonnaise is made with vinegar, lemon juice, vegetable oil, and egg yolks or whole eggs.
Aioli is made with garlic, egg yolk, olive oil, and lemon juice or white wine vinegar most of the time. It is thinner than mayonnaise and has a creamier texture.
Mayonnaise is more of an emulsion made with vegetable oil, egg yolk, vinegar/lemon juice, and such. It stabilizes thanks to the egg yolk lecithin, is thicker than aioli, and has a color that is more yellow.
Traditionally Aloi contains only garlic and olive oil, and many will say it is only really aioli if it is only these ingredients.
Modern versions will often contain other ingredients such as eggs, making it more like mayonnaise. Another distinguishing factor is that aioli is often made with olive oil but garlic mayonnaise is made with neutral oils.
Can Aioli Be A Vegan Substitute For Mayo?
Vegans or vegetarians who might avoid consuming eggs will often use aioli as a way to replace garlic mayonnaise or even normal mayonnaise. It is a garlic-based condiment used in Mediterranean cooking with a creamy, rich texture.
Made with olive oil, salt, and pureed garlic, it is not totally unlike garlic mayonnaise, but mayonnaise is thicker, and contains eggs, salt, vinegar, and sometimes mustard too!
Mayonnaise is often a condiment used in sandwiches, or as a dip, but aioli will not give you the same flavor or texture. But, it is a good alternative to mayonnaise for those who cannot have mayonnaise.
Is Aioli Healthier Than Mayonnaise?
Due to its healthier ingredients, aioli’s fats are much healthier than those in mayonnaise, especially due to olive oil. It also has less sugar than mayonnaise since it contains absolutely none.
In terms of health…. Aioli is just better! It does not mean it is healthy however, it can contain high calories due to the olive oil. When additional ingredients are added, they can also be affected by this too. Too much salt can be problematic for some people.
Does Aioli Have A Lot Of Calories?
Sadly, I cannot just give you the calories as it varies depending on the ingredients. However, in general terms, there will be 100 to 120 calories in a single tablespoon of aioli.
Most of these calories come from olive oil, so how much olive oil is in your aioli will dictate how many calories are in it. It also has 10g per tbsp of fat and some protein too.
Aioli Health Benefits
Olive oil is not all that bad though, if you have just one tablespoon of olive oil per day you can lower your risk of heart disease in comparison to those who do not have any at all.
If you have 2 tablespoons of olive oil (good quality) per day, your chances of a heart attack reduce by 41%, and your risk of sudden cardiac death decreases by 46%!
Can You Buy Vegan Aioli Anywhere?
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Vegan aioli is not widely available sadly, however, you can easily make it yourself, or seek out some vegan sellers for their vegan aioli.
Check out these sellers:
Target.com – Vegan Cilantro Lime Aioli
Webfoodstore.com – Organic Garlic Aioli Vegenaise
What Is Aioli Made Of?
Aioli is made from garlic and olive oil, however, it can occasionally include other ingredients. Traditionally Aioli is made with only garlic and olive oil, but modern versions sometimes include other ingredients.
Does Aioli Have Dairy?
Traditional Aioli will not contain any dairy, however, some modern versions may include other ingredients.
Some modern aioli recipes will include eggs.
Is Aioli Basically Mayo?
Aioli is a lot like mayonnaise, however, it is not mayonnaise and misses out on a lot of the ingredients often found in mayonnaise. That being said, it can be used as a substitute for some.