Saturday, July 20, 2013


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This is a newly revised version of my low-fat vegan mayo recipe that appears in several of my cookbooks including my newest one, "World Vegan Feast", and elsewhere on this blog. I have used, and refined, this recipe for years because I am a mayonnaise lover.  When I use it, I like to slather it on liberally! Hence, my preoccupation with a very lowfat vegan version of it that comes up to my taste standards. Of course, as a baby vegan, I tried those recipes where you blended a stream of oil into some soymilk (which contains lecithin, an emulsifier, as egg yolks do).  They usually worked well, but were just as high in fat and calories as the original. So, for years I made tofu mayonnaise, and I still like it, but my husband never really did, and silken tofu, the main ingredient, makes it more expensive. We both prefer this recipe, and it is very inexpensive.  Four Hellman's fans of my acquaintance loved this (and were surprised that they did). It’s smooth and creamy, and just tangy enough.

This recipe is a child of an old-fashioned salad dressing recipe, called a "Boiled Dressing" (a bit of a misnomer, since it was actually cooked gently in the top of a double boiler). "Boiled Dressing" was made with ingredients available to common people or farm folks, who did not have access to, or could not afford, vegetable oil.  Olive oil was not available to any but the wealthy until the late 19th century, so only they could enjoy vinaigrette and oil-based mayonnaise. Oil-based mayonnaise was not available commercially in the USA until 1907, when Mrs. Schlorer's mayonnaise hit the shelves in Philadelphia. I looked it up and it is still available! Hellman's followed in 1912.

"Boiled dressing" would usually contain a tablespoon or two of butter, and the water, milk or cream (or a combination) base would be thickened with flour or cornstarch and an egg yolk or two. Sometimes it contained a bit of sugar (especially when used on coleslaw) and sometimes not.  (I suspect that the sweeter type is the prototype for Miracle Whip.)

You will find recipes for "Boiled dressing" or "Cooked Salad Dressing" in early North American cookbooks, and in some Southern and Mid-Western cookbooks.  I started out by veganizing a recipe in a Mennonite cookbook called the "More-with-Less Cookbook" (first published in 1979), and refined it over time.

As you might deduce, I'm forever trying to improve upon this recipe. This time, even though it is already a very low-fat recipe, with just enough oil to make it pleasantly creamy, I was trying to revise it for those who do not eat ANY extracted oils. I decided to try using raw cashews, measure-for-measure, instead of oil. A few whole nuts are allowed in some versions of a no-oil vegan diet, so I thought I'd give it a go. (See the calorie comparisons in the introductory text in the recipe below.)

It worked beautifully-- beyond my expectations, actually. It is very creamy and I didn't even have to add the tiny bit of guar or xanthan gum that I usually do as a stabilizer when I use oil. (It has held up well in the refrigerator for about a week and a half so far. Without the vegetable gum, the oil version tends to get a bit runny after a while.)  I will make it this way from now on, unless I run out of raw cashews!

For those who are allergic to soy, prefer not to use oil, do not like tofu mayonnaise, or the commercial "light" mayos (most are not vegan, anyway), this is a delicious (and inexpensive) solution.

For those allergic to corn and or gluten: It's harder to find than other starches, but wheat starch can be used like cornstarch more easily (tsp. for tsp.) than, say, arrowroot, which I have never had success with.  Wheat starch is easily available from and it is gluten-free! (See  )  I have also purchased it in Asian food stores and the International sections of some supermarkets.  Food Scientist Shirley O. Corriher (who I will mention more about below) says: "Asian grocery stores are a great place to buy starches. They have arrowroot, potato starch, rice starch, tapioca starch (a powder), wheat starch, etc. at a fraction of their cost in regular stores."
However, if corn or wheat starch is an issue, here's an article about all of the possible substitutes:
With some of them, you use a bit more or a bit less, and some must be cooked longer, etc. So, you will have to do some experimenting.  Personally, in the past I experimented with arrowroot (not in this recipe, though) and it didn't work for me, but many people use it. You never know til you try!

I use cornstarch because it works well in this recipe, is cheap (even organic is relatively cheap) and is easy to find.  Wheat starch works the same way. Corriher explains why in this short article:

For more detailed information on starches and how they work, here are two more articles by Corriher:  and

I experimented quite a bit over the years with this mayo recipe and I definitely recommend corn or wheat starch for best results.

I can't stress enough that this recipe is EASY TO MAKE and takes only a few minutes of your time!  You will save money and calories.  And you can use the type of nondairy milk that suits you. (I've used hemp milk with good result, BTW.)

Printable Recipe

BRYANNA’S CREAMY LOW-FAT VEGAN MAYONNAISE WITH NO EXTRACTED OIL (can be soy-free, nut-free, GF and corn-free, and is vegetable-gum-free) (Updated Sept. 2017)
Servings: 32;  Yield: about 2 cups
There are about 90 calories in a tablespoon of regular non-vegan mayo and also in Vegenaise Original or Earth Balance Mindful Mayo. There are 45 calories per tablespoon in Vegenaise Reduced-Fat, 35 in Spectrum Eggless Light Canola Mayo, but only 12 calories per tablespoon in this mayo-- so you can indulge yourself!  NOTE: This was calculated using my homemade soymilk, but I calculated it (with Living Cookbook software) using various nondairy milks and they were all in this range.

Mix A:
1 cup any non-dairy milk (except canned full-fat coconut milk) you like to drink, Original type-- doesn't have to be un-sweetened 
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (my favorite), plain rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, or lemon juice (or a combination of any of these)
1-1 1/2  teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (mustard powder)
1/4 cup raw shelled Brazil nuts (roughly chopped before measuring), raw macadamia nuts, or raw hazelnuts, brown skins removed (See below for why I don't use cashews.)
NOTE: Low-cost, nut-free options-- unsalted dry-roasted peanuts (a legume), shelled raw sunflower seeds (soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes and drained), or raw sesame seeds, or a combo. I like half dry-roasted peanuts and half shelled raw sunflower seeds.
Optional: 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (This adds a subtle richness to the mayo.)

Mix B:
10 tablespoons cold water (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon agar powder (NOT flakes)
4 tablespoons cornstarch (or use wheat starch--do not substitute other starches! Wheat starch is GF! See text above the recipe for more info and possible substitutes. PS: You can buy organic cornstarch in health food stores and online.)
If the cooled-off mayo seems too thick or stiff to you, beat it with a whisk (you can do it right in the jar if you have a whisk that fits) until creamy. 
If you cut down the amount of cornstarch, it gets a bit runny after a week or so.  The whisking method works for me-- it stays creamy but thick.

NOTE BEFORE YOU START: This mayo does not thicken as you blend it, like egg mayonnaise or soy mayonnaise made with lots of oil, so don’t blend it and blend it, thinking it will thicken as it blends-- it won’t!! It will thicken in a few hours in the refrigerator.

Place the Mix A ingredients into your blender jar and have ready. In a small saucepan or microwave-proof bowl, mix together the water and agar from Mix B, and let sit for a few of minutes. Add the starch and whisk well.

If making in the saucepan on the stovetop, stir constantly over high heat until thick and translucent-- not chalky white. OR: Microwave option (my preference): Use the microwave-proof bowl for the mixture, and microwave on 100% power for 30 seconds. Whisk. Repeat this about three times, or until thick and translucent/semitransparent- not chalky white, even if this takes more than four 30-second intervals in the microwave. Use a silicone spatula instead of a whisk after the first time, to scrape the bottom of the bowl of any starch that gets stuck and mix it in with the rest of the mixture. NOTE: If you don't cook this thoroughly (and "translucent" is the key word), the mayo won't thicken properly.

Scrape the cooked Mix B into the blender (using a spatula so that you get as much of it as you can out of the bowl or pot) containing Mix A. Blend until the mixture is very white and frothy and emulsified,

Pour the mayo into a clean pint (2 cup) jar (there may be a little bit over, which you can pour into a tiny jar or sample cup), cover and refrigerate for several hours, until it is set. It should be firm enough to stand a knife up in. Keep refrigerated. It will keep for about 2 weeks.

MISO MAYO VARIATION: Omit the salt and add 3 tablespoons white miso.

ROASTED GARLIC MAYO VARIATION: At the end of blending, add 1 head of roasted garlic, squeezed out of the skins.

ANOTHER VARIATION: Do you prefer a Miracle Whip-type spread to mayonnaise? Try this:
Use 3/4 to 1 teaspoon mustard powder and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon organic sugar or agave nectar to the recipe (sugar levels in this type of recipe vary, so start with this and then let your taste dictate).

For more variations see this blog post.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per tablespoon):
12.0 calories; 42% calories from fat; 0.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 92.6mg sodium; 9.1mg potassium; 1.4g carbohydrates; 0.1g fiber; 0.2g sugar; 1.4g net carbs; 0.4g protein; 0.3 points.

Cooking Tips
1.) This mayonnaise, with the addition of herbs, garlic, etc., can be used as a savory vegetable and toast topping.

2.) If you leave out the agar in the basic recipe, this makes a good base for cold savory sauces.

It's not that I have anything against cashews per se, but, to quote from this article"What are the most eco-friendly nuts?(worth a read): "Cashews are a little trickier. They’re light on the land, providing wildlife habitat and preventing erosion, but the processing stage is much more intensive. Cashews grow primarily in Vietnam, India, and northern Africa, but most are shipped to India for processing; there, workers shell the nuts by hand, sometimes exposing their skin to burns from the caustic oils inside. (Check out this detailed look at the system.) And that’s nothing compared to the human rights abuses suffered by some cashew processors in Vietnam, according to Human Rights Watch. Fortunately, there are some Fair Trade cashews to be had, and I’d go for them whenever possible."  Here is an article about the treatment of cashew processors in India.

Note from me: Fair Trade cashews, of course, are more expensive than non-Fair Trade. (And organic does not necessarily mean Fair Trade as well.) 
I tend to use mostly raw shelled sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts now for creamy mixtures-- they are all about $10 a lb. cheaper than cashews.
See recipes for 



in2insight said...

So simple to whip together and with such good results!
How do you come up with these?!? :)
One note, and it's no doubt a personal taste thing, but I'd recommend using UN-sweetened "milk".
Potato salad, get ready!

Rio said...

Oh, I too love mayonnaise but use it rarely. My favourite is Vegenaise but since I use it rarely I often have to through out half an expired jar which I don't like doing. I'm so going to make this recipe tonight and try it on my salad. Thank you for sharing!

Jill, The Veggie Queen said...

You are absolutely amazing in how you truly work on a recipe to perfect it. You are my "vegan heroine".

I never tire of your amazing recipes. Keep up the great work.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks so much, Jill-- that means alot to me!

judy said...

I'd like to say thank you for this wonderful recipe. I live in Hungary and there is no Vegenaise and I have to make everything from scracth.I like all your recipes but this one is a lifesaver for me as I cannot eat margarin or any other fatty stuffs.
I use it for cucumber sandwiches and they are awesome. Thanks Brianna for sharing it.

judy said...

Bryanna, this recipe is a "lifesaver"
for me as I live in Hungary and there is no Vegenaise and I have to make everything from scratch. I made wonderful cucumber sandwiches using this mayo they were excellent. I love your recipes because they are tasty but low-fat so a person like me on a low-fat vegan diet is very happy with them. thanks for saring and keep up the good work, we are grateful for it.

Tiffiny said...


Unknown said...

I love Hellmann's mayo - there is no other. But I would rather give up the mayo altogether than to use Veganaise. It does not taste ANYTHING like Hellmann's. I so love mayo so I try every recipe I find looking for the perfect one. Yours looks like it has the consistency of Hellmann's so I am anxious to try it. I need more cashews and of course, as usual I have agar flakes so I have to get powder. (When they serve soup I always come with a fork). Since becoming vegan I haven't had a good cucumber sandwich, so hoping this works. Will let you know - you haven't failed me yet! :)

JoAnn Farb said...


I stumbled upon this recipe (and your website) when I googled, "vegan oil-free mayonnaise" The Truth is, I didn't really expect to find something that would blow my socks off -- but rather was looking for a starting point to try to come up with something that might cut the fat from my reuban sandwiches I love to make, but hate that the cost and calories of the veganaise that it requires....
Soooo I tried your recipe and I must tell you -- I haven't been this excited about a recipe since I first learned to cook with tofu nearly 25 years ago. What you have created here is absolutely amazing! The fact that it is also gluten free and soy free, means that I can use it to feed all my friends with special diets too! It is smooth, creamy, thick, rich tasting and absolutely delicious beyond my wildest dreams of what was possible. The fact that this will also save me money over buying prepared vegan mayo is just another bonus on top of all of that.

So thank you -- not only for your brilliance and creativity -- but for your generosity in choosing to give this away for free on line!

So many people will benefit from what you have done.

JoAnn Farb

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thank you, JoAnn-- you made my day!

Anonymous said...


Absolutely fabulous!! I was using Veganaise until recently when I came across moldy globs in it (yuck). I had been meaning to find a good vegan mayo recipe to make my own but hadn't gotten around to it. I searched around the internet for recipes and yours sounded great and I had everything to make it already in the house ! Anyway.... it hasn't even cooled completely and it tastes fantastic. Never again will be buying veganaise. My husband likes their chipolte mayo so will be making a version of that with your recipe once he runs out. I am also looking forward to trying the Miso variation. Thanks so much! Gail R

Prostate Cancer-the Journey said...

I have made this recipe a dozen or more times-and it is wonderful. I have made with the oil, and without and next will make it with the cashews-something I always have in the freezer. I find it tastes best to us using 1 TBS plain rice vinegar and 1 TBS fresh lemon juice. Thanks so much, this is pure genius!

Chrissy said...

Thank you Bryanna, this looks terrific and I love how detailed you get with your recipes. Like Gail R., I was looking for an alternative to Vegenaise. I have a jar in my fridge, that truth be told, does not taste right. This is coming from a disappointed, former, Vegenaise addict. I just do not trust the product now.
I just hope I have all the ingredients to make your version tonight!

Anonymous said...

Wow-this is still warm and not "set up" yet and the taste is amazing!!!

Two men in my husbands office have had heart attacks in the last year so I am trying to replace my husbands unhealthy favorite foods-I think this will do the trick!

He eats sandwiches with mayo everyday for lunch-I'll let you know how it goes!!

Thanks soooo much for this recipe!!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

I'd love to hear how your husband responds to the mayo. Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

Two questions: can I replace the agar agar and cornstarch by guar gum and xantham gum or gelatin? If so, how much should I use?

I am not vegan. Do you think I could use hard-boiled egg whites instead of the egg powder. If so, how many would you use?


Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Anonymous, no, I wouldn't try substituting vegetable gums for the cornstarch and agar. Being gums, they result in a "gummy" texture. I worked very hard on this (over a number of years) to get the right texture with the combination of agar and cornstarch. You don't need to use the VEGG powder-- it's optional. I have a hard time getting it where I live, so I don't bother. (Hard-boiled egg whites would not work-- you would probably have lumps!) Some people use Indian "black salt", which has an egg-yolk-y sulphur-y smell and taste, but we don't really miss it. As for gelatin, I don't know about that-- haven't used it for 25 years. Do you have a problem with either agar or cornstarch? they are easily available.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Bryanna. I cannot have corn starch -- that's why I was looking for a substitute. I don't have agar agar readily available but could probably get it. Is there any way to make the recipe without corn starch? If so, what adjustments, replacements, or both should I make? I can't have any type of starches -- potao, rice, corn, etc. I cannot have vegg power either because it has flavored yeast, a starch. Thanks a million!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Gee, I don't know what to say if you can't use any starches. I assume that means you can't have any flour either?

Anonymous said...

That's right -- no starches at all. That's why I am trying to find a replacement for the corn starch. Any suggestions even if the final recipe is far from ideal?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Hmmm...I really don't know. All I can suggest is that you experiment with guar or xanthan gum, using the water, but not the starch and agar, and eliminating the cooking part. I would start with no more than 1/2 tsp. gum at first and go on from there. But, honestly, I have no idea if it will work or not.

Haylee said...

Mayo is my absolute downfall, I've always slathered it on almost everything. Last year I switched to a "light" variety to save some calories, but I went back to veganism a couple weeks ago and knew it would be stupid to waste money on Vegenaise when I had seen so many vegan mayo recipes online!

So, I decided to try your recipe because cashews seemed yummier than tofu in terms of mayo, and contained no added oil. I whipped up a batch tonight and it fit perfectly in my empty Vegenaise jar. I tried half lemon juice and half apple cider vinegar. I may try different combos in the future. I was nervous to take my first taste, but was astounded at how good this stuff is! It's so creamy and does not have any "strange" flavors like I was afraid it might. The acids give it a lot of flavor, sort of like a cole slaw dressing, in my opinion.

I'm thrilled to have found a such a low calorie alternative (and vegan!) for my mayo addiction! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe. :)

nv36 said...

I've recently learned how to make vegan chicken salad and I used "Just Mayo" which has 90cal per serving. I'm so happy that you posted up this recipe because that reduced the calories in my vegan chicken salad by almost 500 cal. Thank you so much!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

nv36, thanks for posting!

ninette said...

Hi dear what can be substituted for agar powder as we dont get it here but we get long agar strip for making jello please tell me what can be used Thanks

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Ninette, what does the agar strip look like? Is it a bar of kanten or strips like they use in science labs?

Unknown said...

i never comment on blogs, but i just need to tell you that this recipe honestly has changed my life. my first attempt at low fat plant-based eating eventually petered out because i just could not live with pureed tofu and lemon juice as a "substitute" for mayo. i tried so many versions but no. just no. this recipe is not only easy, cheap and quick, but it is AMAZING. i skeptically made a tiny bit of potato salad (one of my favorites, i have a serious mayo love) as my final test of its charms, thinking id be wasting my time, but no. it was fabulous and every bit as good as my beloved just mayo! i am actually excited to be eating low fat again, with so much less sacrifice of taste. thank you so so much!!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

I'm so glad you liked it, rhonna, and thanks so much for writing-- that really perked me up today!!

Unknown said...

My name is Jim And I have an observation. First of all I love your mayonaise. But I have a question about the fat calories in a TBS.
1/4 cup of raw cashews has 68% are fat calories = 102 calories per 1/4 cup
the recipe makes 2 cups of product. 2 Cups = 8- 1/4 cups. 102 calories of raw cashews divided by 8 = 12.7 calories per 1/4 cup of product. there are 4 tbs in 1.4 cup therefore dividing the 12.7 calories of fat by 4 = 3.18 calories per tbs. And that is even better news than 12.7 it just needed to be divided one more time to the calories per tbs.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Jim, thanks for writing. I use Living Cookbook Recipe Software for the nutritional info.

007 said...

Hi Bryanna - I PM'd you on facebook with a tweak to this that I hope you'll enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Oh wait, I forgot to include this. So, I'll ask my question again. (Btw, I'm a different "Anonymous" than the other person who couldn't have any starches at all. We can...but corn and wheat starch are out for us. What other starch could we use as a replacement? Thank you!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Anonymous, I haven't tried all the substitute starches, but here's an article from the Epicurious website about all of the possibles.
With some of them, you use a bit more or a bit less, and some must be cooked longer, etc. So, you will have to do some experimenting. Personally, in the past I experimented with arrowroot (not in this recipe, though) and it didn't work for me, but many people use it. You never know til you try!

Unknown said...

Thank you for all that you do!
My question is why two thickeners? Agar-agar AND corn starch?
What happens if just one or the other is used?
Thank you so much for your time!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Deanna, believe me, I tried all sorts of thickeners, alone and in combination, over the years and this one works the best. With all agar, it is too rubbery and it's hard to get the right creamy consistency. With all starch it's too, well, starchy! The starch also seems to start breaking down after a few days. This combination seems to work best.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question! I so appreciate knowing these things and love your recipes!!!

I made Potato Salad with the 'mayo' and it is delicious! No vegan sacrifice for flavor and experience!

PS I'm a Best Food (Hellman's) lover! and this really works!

Thank You!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

My pleasure, Deanna! Just a note (which am going to add to the recipe): If the cooled-off mayo seems too thick or stiff to you, beat it with a whisk (you can do it right in the jar if you have a whisk that fits) until creamy.
If you cut down the amount of cornstarch, it gets a bit runny after a week or so. The whisking method works for me-- it stays creamy but thick.