Aioli is a savoury accompaniment often eaten as a dip with boiled vegetables, eggs, and sandwiches. It is salty mayonnaise with a tinge of garlic and is readily available. The word “aïoli” literally means oil and garlic (‘ail’ is garlic in French and ‘oli’ is oil in Catalan, Italian).
Traditionally, it was a mix of several garlic cloves pounded into a paste in a mortar. The oil is then added slowly as the chef mixes and crushes the paste constantly for a long time to begin emulsifying the mixture. Emulsification combines two ingredients that cannot mix, such as oil and water, whereas garlic mash and olive oil are emulsified here. Since it requires quite a lot of work, it was not commonly available. However, with advanced techniques, nowadays, you can enjoy it more regularly. It originated in the Mediterranean countries and France, and there is also evidence of it being popular in Eastern Spanish cuisine.
USDA data shows the nutritional information of a 100 g serving of aioli as:
Calories: 769 kcalTotal fat: 84.6 gCholesterol: 77 mgProtein: 0 gCarbohydrates: 0 gFibre: 0 gIron: 0 gCalcium: 0 g
As per the above figures, aioli is not very healthy, and oil is the main ingredient that augments calorie and cholesterol levels. So it is recommended to be consumed in small amounts.
Health Benefits of Aioli
From the above calorie-dense profile, you might be thinking it’s best to avoid Aioli. However, it does have multiple health benefits, as below.
Boosts Immune System
Garlic contains allicin, an antibiotic rich in sulfur that can control infections and sustain the body’s natural defences. In addition, research suggests that sulfated glycopeptides present in egg yolks amplify immune cells.
Good Source of Healthy Fats
The healthy oils (olive oil) used in the preparation of aioli make it a good source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated(MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids(PUFA). According to a study, these fats can reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases, lower harmful cholesterol levels, prevent hypertension, etc.
According to a study, egg yolks can play an essential role in enhancing eye-sight as they possess lutein, zinc, and zeaxanthin. Garlic also contains sulfur and quercetin, which are critical for preventing cataracts. Lutein is also in extra virgin olive oil, a commonly used oil in aioli.
As per research, olive oil imparts healthy lipids, which have been found helpful in improving skin. Garlic has anti-fungal, anti-ageing, and anti-inflammatory properties, which is no secret in imparting skin-smoothing benefits. Egg yolk contains retinol, which is helpful for the skin receptors.
Protect Gastrointestinal Health
According to a study, ginger is rich in antioxidants and phenolic compounds that are said to relieve gastrointestinal inflammation and lessen gastric contractions. In addition, extra virgin olive oil also helps the cause by inhibiting gastric acid’s motility.
Improves Brain Health
Egg yolks in aioli contain a nutrient known as choline, which is vital to stimulate brain health. Therefore, it may aid in boosting brain health and memory.
According to asthma & immunology research, an egg allergy can develop when your body’s immune system reacts incessantly to egg white or yolk proteins. So people with egg allergies should avoid aioli with high egg content.
People with a mustard allergy should check if the aioli pack contains mustard. Some manufacturers add mustard to aioli for its texture which can cause the most severe anaphylaxis. Less severe symptoms of a mustard allergy include redness of the face and tightness in the chest, as per a study. Also, people who experience inflammation after consuming ginger-based dishes may look out for the percentage of ginger in bottled aioli.
Note: Bottled aioli available in the market comes in several flavours like chipotle, roasted garlic, black garlic, aioli with sriracha, chimichurri, cheese, black pepper, chilli garlic, wasabi, jalapeno, basil, etc. Besides flavours, for health-conscious people, organic aioli is an option. There are also diet aioli and weight-loss aioli available on the market.
Servings: 1 cup
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Ingredients for 1 cup
Garlic: 8-10 clovesOlive oil: 1½ tbspEgg yolk: 2 nos.Salt: ⅓ tspLemon Juice: 3 tspDijon mustard(optional): ½ tsp
Mash the garlic cloves using a mortar and pestle. In a separate mixing bowl, add the mashed garlic.While slowly adding olive oil, start whisking the mixture thoroughly till you get a frothy consistency.Add salt and other optional ingredients like mixed herbs, pepper powder, etc.Your traditional aioli is ready!
Note: This concoction is quite potent in flavour, and make sure you dilute it with something like a sauce. Adding oil too fast will not let the mixture emulsify properly. You can use this as an accompaniment for crispy potato wedges, vegetable salad, etc. It would also taste great with seafood.
It contains raw eggs, and it is preferable to refrigerate immediately after preparation and consume it within seven days. Make sure it is in the refrigerator. If aioli is at room temperature for more than 4-6 hours, you should immediately discard it.
Simple Homemade Aioli
Servings: 1 cup
Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Ingredients for 1 cup
Garlic: 8-10 clovesOlive oil: 1½ tbspOrganic mayonnaise: ½ cupSalt to tasteSprinkle of sugarMixed herbs (Thyme, Basil, Tarragon, Oregano): ½ tspDijon mustard: ½ tbspPepper powder: ¼ tsp
Mash the garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle.Add the mashed garlic and lemon juice to a small mixing bowl and combine thoroughly.Sprinkle the mixture with salt and let it rest for 10 minutes so that both the flavours not only mix but also profoundly infuse into each otherIf you don’t like pieces of garlic in your aioli, then you can strain it off.Add mayonnaise, olive oil, and Dijon mustard to the mixture. If the garlic and lemon flavour is overwhelming, add more mayonnaise and mix it well.Lastly, sprinkle the mixture with some sugar, mixed herbs, and pepper powder. Your homemade aioli is ready to eat!
Aioli contains raw eggs. Therefore, it is preferable to refrigerate immediately after preparation and consume it within seven days. Make sure you keep it in the refrigerator. The shelf-life of freshly homemade aioli is 7-9 days. If aioli is at room temperature for more than 4-6 hours, you should immediately discard it.
Homemade Aioli Spread
Servings: 1 cup
Preparation time:15 minutes
Refrigeration time: 2-3 hours
Egg yolk: 2 nos.Garlic: 8-10 clovesSalt to tasteOlive oil: 3 tbspDijon mustard: ½ tbspMixed herbs (Thyme, Basil, Tarragon, Oregano): ½ tspVinegar: 1 tspLemon Zest: ¼ tsp
Add salt, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, vinegar, and olive oil to a blending container.Blend it with a blender until it turns into a frothy mixture.Add the seasoning ingredients like mixed herbs, lemon zest, and pepper powder if you need the spice element.Refrigerate it for 2-3 hours.Your homemade aioli spread is ready!
Note: Please note that this recipe does not use mayonnaise. To give it a thick texture, you can add feta cheese, cornflour paste, powdered thickeners, etc. But the healthiness of the dish is bound to reduce. Unsalted peanut butter is an excellent addition as it provides a thick consistency and a great different taste.
Since it contains raw eggs, it is preferable to refrigerate immediately after preparation and consume it within seven days. Make sure you keep it covered in the refrigerator. The shelf-life of freshly homemade aioli is 7-9 days. If aioli is at room temperature for more than 4-6 hours, you should immediately discard it.
Reasons to Avoid Commercially Manufactured Aioli
Like anything manufactured for consumer usage, aioli is not free from harmful additives like preservatives, stabilising agents, anti-caking agents, taste enhancers, etc. Often brands use palm oil instead of olive oil or other healthy oil, making the product more unhealthy. Additionally, these products can become addictive. So it is no surprise that increased consumption of such harmful yet unhealthy products can lead to long-term health ailments.
Aioli cannot be used as a health dish as it bears many calories and cholesterol. Moreover, it does not provide enough nutrients and minerals. There are not many ingredients, and they are not that nutritious. However, there is room for experimentation with other nutritional components, which can increase its nutrient content. You can also prepare it at home as the recipes are pretty simple and include commonly available ingredients. Homemade edibles are always better than commercially available ones since it allows you to alter their taste and texture according to your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is aioli just mayonnaise?
A. Modern aioli can be considered mayonnaise with a fresh tinge of garlic. However, traditional aioli is not mayonnaise as it contains egg yolks, ginger, and olive oil pounded to a thick paste or an emulsion.
Q. What is aioli vs mayo?
A. As traditional aioli and mayonnaise may differ in their texture and uses, modern aioli is nothing but garlic mayonnaise. Traditionally, one pounded several garlic cloves into a paste in a mortar. The oil is added slowly as the chef mixes and crushes the paste constantly for an extended period to begin emulsifying the mixture. In contrast, mayonnaise is prepared by slowly whisking oil in egg yolks. Aioli works as dips for vegetables, eggs, french fries, a sauce for seafood, and grilled meat. On the other hand, mayonnaise works as a base for pasta, dip, sandwich, and burger spread. Although aioli and mayonnaise are both creamy emulsions, aioli is made from garlic, egg yolks, and olive oil, while mayonnaise is from egg yolks and canola oil. Both work as dips and spreads, but mayonnaise is more versatile and popular than aioli.
Q. Can you substitute mayo for aioli?
A. Mayonnaise and aioli feel the same in terms of texture, but both are pretty different. Mayonnaise comes in many different flavours, but there are not many options for aioli. If you have garlic mayonnaise, it is nothing but aioli. It depends on your taste if you want to substitute mayo for aioli.
Q. Why does my aioli taste bitter?
A. This usually happens with homemade aioli. Extra virgin olive oil, a crucial ingredient in aioli, contains bitter-tasting compounds called polyphenols that are typically bound by fatty acids, preventing them from diffusing in a liquid. The blades of a blender or an electric mixer break olive oil into much smaller droplets than those created from hand-whisking. The smaller the droplets, the more polyphenols come off and scatter, and the more bitter the aioli will be.
Q. Is garlic aioli redundant?
A. As aioli itself means ‘garlic oil’, the term garlic aioli is redundant. However, manufacturers use these terms to differentiate between different flavours of aioli.
Q. How many calories are in aioli sauce?
A. The number of calories present in a 100 g serving of aioli is 769kcal. However, it mainly comes from the oil and egg yolk abundant in aioli.
Q. Is aioli safe to eat?
A. Aioli is very safe for consumption as long as it is made with fresh ingredients and does not contain unnecessary additives. Things to watch out for are preservatives, acidity regulators, artificial sweeteners, thickeners, stabilising agents, trans fat, and food colours. Also, people with egg yolk and mustard allergies should consider looking at the percentage of respective ingredients or looking for other safer options.
Q. Can I make aioli the night before?
A. Yes! You can make it two or three days before consumption. However, do not forget to store it in an air-tight container or cover it properly in the fridge. Moreover, the taste will get denser with time due to the presence of garlic in it.
Q. Is Toum and aioli the same?
A. Toum and aioli are pretty similar due to the common ingredients used in their preparation methods. Aioli is made by continuously whisking mashed garlic and slowly adding olive oil. On the other hand, Toum preparation happens by crushing garlic, lemon juice, mint, olive oil, and salt. It is famous as a dip in Lebanese cuisine, primarily with chicken.
Q. How long does homemade aioli last in the fridge?
A. Upon refrigeration, homemade aioli can last up to 7 days after preparation. After that, it can last for a shorter or longer period depending upon the freshness of the ingredients used. However, you should check it by smell or taste after every few days to ensure it is not beginning to spoil.