My Favorite Vegan Mayo Substitute

Going vegan means giving up eggs, among many other things. And if you want to be a healthy vegan, it also means going very light on the oils, even if they are from pure, cold-pressed and vegetable sources. And well, mayonnaise is virtually all egg yolk and oil.

Even though I wasn’t a mayonnaise fanatic and truly didn’t even use it all that often before embarking on my vegan experiment, I still found that there’s a certain taste sensation and a moisturizing action that comes with the use of mayonnaise on sandwiches and salads that I was missing. Something, therefore had to be done.

In the supermarket I found a Santiveri brand vegan mayo substitute available here in Mexico, but it was very high in oils. And those oils were very past their prime. It didn’t taste very good to me. At all.  I looked for another solution.

I found references to recipes made with tofu and garbanzos and raw cashews. Tofu I can get here but my experiment with it turned out bland. We can get toasted and salted cashews here but I have yet to find where to purchase raw cashews in Mexico. Garbanzos I love and use them often, especially to make hummus, but I just didn’t feel like they’d make the kind of mayo-like spread I was looking for.

Then I came across a recipe that suggested white cannelli beans as the basis for a smooth and creamy mayo substitute. That sounded like the perfect idea. I’ve done a few experiments with it and find it is so far the most satisfactory way to get my mayo fix. The recipe is very flexible and the proportion of ingredients depends a lot on how thick or runny you want it, and how tangy you like it. I usually make a fairly small amount, just enough to fill a small jar, since it’ll keep two or three weeks in the fridge but not much longer than that.

The white or cannelli-type beans in Mexico are called alubias, and they come in two sizes, large and small. I’ve used both sizes interchangeably, although I prefer the smaller beans simply because they cook more quickly.


Basically, it goes like this:

1 cup cooked or canned cannelli beans (reserve liquid).
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
juice of 1 large lime
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T. chopped dill pickle
1 tsp agave nectar (optional) if you like your spread a little sweet
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper

Mash the beans well with the mustard, lime juice and vinegar or run through a blender or food processor. I use the chopper container of one of those wand hand blenders to make a smooth paste out of the beans. If you want the spread thinner or to use as a salad dressing, add enough bean liquid to get the consistency that you want. Blend in the garlic, seasonings and pickle. Add agave syrup if desired.

If you want a little color, add some paprika or turmeric. For a nice tang, add a few drops of grated onion or onion juice. Use a thicker spread on sandwiches and a thinner one as a creamy, ranch-type salad dressing.

For added flavor, add 1 tsp dried, powdered herbs such as dill, thyme, tarragon, parsley, rosemary. Veggie broth powder also works well as a seasoning

For an even smoother and creamier sensation, you can whip in 2 tsp. of olive or grapeseed oil at the end, but I find it’s really not necessary, and leaving it out really cuts down on the calories.