With only 4 ingredients, this creamy Lebanese garlic sauce is thick, yet surprisingly airy. It can be used as a dip, sauce, spread, or anything in between.
You're not going to want to miss this one.
As sauce lovers, we are constantly developing recipes to add to our blog. A good sauce can elevate bland dishes or accentuate already-incredible meals.
Lately, we've been on a bit of a Middle Eastern kick and decided to make a spread that goes perfectly with falafel (or basically anything and everything).
We didn't want to make this with vegan mayo (because $$$), and we wanted to create a recipe from scratch. Our only requirement was for this spread to be creamy. As you can see, we had our work cut out for us in the research process.
We initially thought about an aioli, but traditionally it's made with olive oil. So, we figured that we could make an aioli with neutral oil. Surprise, surprise! Unbeknownst to us, we were actually creating a well-known Lebanese sauce, called toum.
This dip is definitely not for the faint of heart. It's packed with fresh, zesty garlic flavor that will make you want to stand 6 feet away from your friends (tooootally worth it though).
Toum sauce is also naturally gluten-free and vegan, making it perfect for all dietary preferences. It seriously whips together so quickly and easily. How have we not made this yet?!
🍲 Key ingredients
- Neutral oil: it's definitely best to use a neutral-tasting oil like canola, avocado, or sunflower for this recipe because if you use an oil with a distinct taste, like olive, it will really alter the end result. If you want to save money, it's best to go with canola or soybean oil. If you want an oil that contains healthier fats, opt for avocado.
- Garlic: When it comes to garlic, we don't skimp. It makes up the base of this delicious sauce and is the reason it's so addicting. Make sure you have fresh, young garlic and remove the germ (more details later). With all of this garlic, you'll definitely be reaping a lot of benefits like boosting your immunity.
- Lemon juice: the tangy flavor in this sauce comes from a delicious yellow citrus fruit we like to call lemon! It's bursting with vitamin C, which is essential for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues.
- Salt: in order to balance everything, you need the perfect amount of salt. Otherwise, this spread won't taste quite right. We use white Kosher salt, adding it in as we go.
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
If you have time, it's best to chill the oil in your fridge around 1 hour prior to making this recipe (it will help with the emulsification process).
Then, peel all the garlic cloves and remove the germ. If the garlic is quite young and fresh, there may not be much to remove. If it's older and there's a green stem inside, ensure you remove it to prevent a bitter spread.
Once the garlic is peeled and de-germed, add the cloves and salt to a high-speed blender or food processor. Pulse until the garlic is relatively smooth, scraping down the sides and continuing to mix a few times.
Next, very slowly add half a cup of oil at a time to the blender on low-medium power. Make sure there's a slow, but steady stream. You'll need to stop and scrape down the sides with a spatula throughout this process.
After the first half cup of oil is added, mix in a little lemon juice, then add the next half cup of oil. Continue switching back and forth between the oil and the lemon juice until both ingredients are completely mixed in and your sauce is thick, yet fluffy (just like mayo).
Enjoy this spread on falafel pitas, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, or whatever else you can think of!
This spread stores well in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 1 month. The garlic flavor will become milder as it sits longer in your fridge.
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- It's essential to use a cheaper vegetable oil in order to lower your costs
- Buy your garlic in bulk
- Try using a cheap acid like apple cider vinegar in place of the lemon juice
🍴 Tasting notes
This spread is versatile and packs a serious punch. It's:
If you try this recipe, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Creamy Lebanese Garlic Sauce
- High-speed blender
- Chef knife
- 3 ½ cups neutral oil ($1.16)
- ⅔ cup garlic ($0.80)
- 7 tbsp lemon juice ($0.63)
- 1 ¼ tsp salt ($0.01)
- It's best to start with chilled oil since it helps the emulsification process. If you have time, place the oil in the fridge for around 1-2 hours (or overnight).
- Then, peel all the garlic cloves and remove the germ. If the garlic is young and fresh there may not be much to remove. If it's older garlic and there's a green stem inside, ensure you remove it.
- Next, add the garlic cloves and salt to a high-speed blender or food processor and pulse until the garlic is relatively smooth. Scrape down the sides and pulse a few times more as needed.
- Now, add ½ cup of neutral oil at a time very slowly to the blender on low-medium power. Make sure there's a slow, but steady stream. Stop and scrape down the sides with a spatula occassionally.
- After the first ½ cup of oil is added, mix in 1 tbsp lemon juice, then add the next ½ cup of oil.
- Continue this process until no ingredients are left and you have a creamy, thick, mayo-like consistency.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of this recipe.
- Nutritional information is a rough estimate.
- Recipe calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty sauces, check out our:
- Tzatziki sauce for a fresh, creamy, and tangy vegan sauce with a middle eastern flair.
- Smoky baba ganoush if you want a light, healthy, and flavorful dish for vegetables, wraps, burgers, and more.
- Lemon tahini dressing for an inexpensive sauce that you can whip together in 5 minutes.
- Spicy chili garlic aioli if you like a creamy sauce with some bite, this one is for you.
First off, it should be really garlicky. But you can do a few things to reduce the flavor. Firstly, let it rest in the fridge to allow the flavor to lessen in intensity. Secondly, try adding in more oil.
A lot of times when this sauce is too pungent or doesn't taste right it's because the garlic was older and the germ wasn't removed. If this is the case, you won't be able to save it.
If your sauce doesn't look thick and creamy like the picture, there are a few things you may have done wrong. If you don't add the oil slowly, it may not emulsify. Try using a high-speed blender, adding the oil slowly, and separate the oil and lemon juice when adding it.