This is an oil-free vegan mayonnaise substitute that works wherever mayo is used, thanks to the magic of cashews and aquafaba! Hooray for vegan mayo made without tofu and without oil.
Compared to when I first started this blog, the commercial vegan mayonnaise options here in the USA are amazing. They’ve become quite widely available and taste more or less the same as the “real thing”. (Case in point: my parents unwittingly purchased and used Hampton Creek mayo thinking it was the kind with eggs in it).
A lot of my readers avoid added oils, though, and I’ve yet to see an oil-free vegan mayo on the shelves, so I went ahead and created one at home. This recipe happens to be both egg-free and soy-free. I’ve tried the silken tofu-based eggless mayonnaise recipes and I think they’re pretty tasty! But this cashew mayo version is more realistically rich and it also keeps better in the fridge. At the time of writing this, I have a batch from about 10 days ago sitting in my fridge and it’s still in great shape (your mileage may vary, of course). My tofu versions have tended to separate and get watery after a couple of days.
Of course this vegan mayo is not completely fat-free, due to the cashews. But using aquafaba does allow the mixture to be emulsified with no oil or other stabilizers.
I know that folks will want a nut-free option. I am working on one with sunflower seeds, but it is not yet perfected. That’s actually an age old experiment of mine that you can see pictured here in my rice paper bacon photos. I’ll definitely update here if I make one that I’m satisfied with!
My original iteration of oil-free vegan mayo came into existence back when I made creamy cucumber salad. The recipe is improved now thanks to aquafaba (bean cooking liquid) as a binder, and not needing to spend an arm and a leg on pine nuts.
No, this does not taste EXACTLY like mayonnaise, but for being vegan, oil-free, soy-free, and made from simple ingredients it’s a darn good analogue to use in various ways! It has the same thick and creamy texture and tangy, slightly sweet flavor.
I use a pinch of kala namak (black salt) to give a sulfuric flavor to the mayo that’s reminiscent of eggs, but it’s a totally optional ingredient. Other than that, the ingredients here are pretty standard plant-based fare at this point.
Cashew mayonnaise, no-fu mayo, or just creamy vegan sandwich spread; call it what you want and enjoy!
Easy Oil-free Vegan Mayonnaise
Vegan mayonnaise with no added oil that comes together in just a few minutes, and stays emulsified thanks to cashews and aquafaba.
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight or in hot water for 2 hours
- 1/4 cup aquafaba
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp agave nectar or brown rice syrup
- 1 tsp prepared yellow mustard
- 2 tsp white vinegar or rice vinegar
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp black salt (kala namak) (optional)
- 3/8 tsp salt (quantity may vary; see notes)
Drain the soaked cashews and add them to a blender. (I use either my Ninja or my Magic Bullet for this recipe). Pulse a few times to break the cashews into crumbles. Add the aquafaba and water and blend. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the regular salt, and blend until completely smooth.
Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste; I used 3/8 tsp when making this with liquid from 365 brand canned chickpeas. Add more lemon to taste if desired. Store your oil-free vegan mayonnaise in an airtight container in the refrigerator; it lasts around a week or more.
Aquafaba is the cooking liquid (NOT soaking liquid) from beans. The easiest way to get it is to buy a BPA-free can of white beans or garbanzos and take the liquid, minus the beans, from the can. Adjust the salt levels in this recipe depending on how salty the aquafaba is. You can also use your own homemade aquafaba from cooking beans.
Kala namak is an optional ingredient that gives a natural "eggy" flavor to the vegan mayonnaise.
This recipe isn't raw or paleo because of the aquafaba. It's possible you might be able to use sunflower lecithin or another binding or thickening ingredient that meets those criteria; but I haven't tested it.
VARIATIONS: Make spicy chipotle or sriracha mayo by adding hot sauce of choice; add fresh garlic and extra mustard to make more of an aioli style sauce; substitute some of the cashews with avocado for a green version (will not keep as long in the fridge)!
Other homemade condiments on the blog: