Easy vegan mayonnaise recipe with chickpeas

Have you ever heard about aquafaba? Well, it is a protein-rich liquid found inside a can of chickpeas. It’s pretty amazing stuff—you can whip it into stiff peaks like a meringue, use it to leaven pancakes and waffles, or make light sponge cakes, all without any eggs at all.

You can use aquafaba to make vegan mayonnaise. The following recipe is light, creamy, and completely grease-free. This chickpea based mayonnaise is stiff enough to hold its shape when you mound it up but loose enough to spread easily over a sandwich.  The best of all, it takes only two minutes to make and it is healthier than any store-bought mayo because is homemade.

Egg-free mayo with chickpeas

Aquafaba, the liquid inside a can of chickpeas, provides plenty of protein and starch to help emulsify an egg-free mayonnaise. With adding a few whole chickpeas, the mayo improves its emulsifying properties.

The mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil and water, and, like all emulsions, it is inherently unstable. Oil molecules are physically repulsed by water molecules, making it very difficult to get them to coexist together. They naturally want to separate. So, to get them combine, you need to add an emulsifier.

Eggs are remarkable emulsifiers because they emulsify in two distinct ways: physical, and chemical.

Physical emulsifiers work by adding viscosity to the liquids. The more viscous a liquid, the less it flows, and the more slowly individual oil and water droplets come into contact with each other, helping the whole thing stay in suspension. Honey, sugar, pounded nuts, crushed basil in pesto—these are all physical emulsifiers that offer varying degrees of added viscosity.

Chemical emulsifiers work differently. Food products which are classified as chemical emulsifiers have molecules with one hydrophobic (oil-loving) and one hydrophilic (water-loving) end. Like a finger trap, they force oil and water to get along. This is how lecithin, a chemical found in abundance in egg yolks, works.

Chickpea liquid has only physical emulsion properties. This makes them less stable than eggs. The solution turned out to be super simple: just add a few of the actual chickpeas. Adding just a dozen chickpeas to three tablespoons of liquid and blending it together with lemon juice, mustard, and garlic, you end up with a base for your mayo that’s thick enough to form an ultra-stable emulsion.

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) liquid from 1 can of chickpeas,
  • 12 whole chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix lemon juice, mustard, garlic, chickpea liquid, and chickpeas in a tall container (just large enough to fit the head of an immersion blender). Blend at high speed until completely smooth. Or, blend in the jar of a standard countertop blender. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in vegetable oil until a smooth, creamy emulsion is formed.

Using a rubber spatula put it into a bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper. You can keep it in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.