Stephanie Weaver has a Master’s degree in Public Health in nutrition education, and loves taking recipes and remaking them with healthier ingredients. She’s been gluten-free for five years, and rebuilt her health by changing her diet. She blogs at Recipe Renovator, where she’s also sharing her October Unprocessed meals throughout the month.
It had never occurred to me to make my own condiments until I had a health crisis. In 2003 I got so sick that I couldn’t work. After months of tests and specialists, I was told I had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Not because there are tests for those, but because they had ruled out everything else. There’s no treatment for either, so eventually I turned to an alternative healer. He took one look at me, said I was “full of inflammation” and that I had to get off sugar. And not just candy, of which I ate a lot. No, every type of granulated sugar, high-fructose corn sugar, anything with -ose at the end of it, and white distilled vinegar. (White vinegar is made from GMO corn, by the way.)
So, a month of label reading later, I was off all processed foods and had tossed or given away every condiment in my fridge. While I had made salad dressing before, making other condiments just hadn’t been on my radar. They were something you bought and stuck on the fridge door until you needed them.
My first stop on the condiment train was barbecue sauce, which is normally loaded with HFCS. When that recipe turned out to be insanely delicious, I turned my hand to other favorites. Pickle relish? Check. Ketchup? Yum. Mayo? I had made real mayo years before, but now I was off dairy products and eggs too. Could I possibly make vegan mayo? It was pretty pricey at the store…
The vegan mayo was a happy accident. I was trying to make a different version of home-made margarine during October Unprocessed last year, tried agar agar instead of lecithin, and ended up with creamy, fluffy, cholesterol-free and salmonella-free mayo.
The only special ingredient you need for this recipe is agar flakes. This rich, creamy mayo rivals anything you can buy in the store, and you can make as much or as little as you need. [Andrew adds: If you can’t find agar in your local store, you can order it from amazon]
Agar, made from dried seaweed, is a thickener used in Asian desserts, molecular gastronomy, and in petri dishes at most science laboratories. It creates and holds the oil-milk emulsion. You can flavor this mayo with lemon juice, add a little sweetener, or use it as a base for dips or salad dressings. Start to finish, this recipe takes only 10 minutes.
- ⅔ cup soy milk*
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt, omit for low-sodium diets
- ⅔ cup grapeseed oil (can also use safflower or organic canola oil)
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon agar flakes*
- 2 Tablespoons filtered water
- Combine the soy milk, vinegar, and salt and let stand at least 10 minutes until it is thick and curdled.
- Heat the agar in the water over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it swells up.
- Put the curdled milk, half of the oil, and the agar mixture in a blender and blend on high for one minute. Add the other half of the oil in a steady stream with the blender running until it emulsifies. If you are using a Vitamix (or other high-speed blender), start on Variable 1, and bring it up to Variable 6 while streaming in the remaining oil.
- Store this in the refrigerator. It lasts about two weeks. You might see a little bit of separation, but you can stir it and it will be fine.