Many people love salad, as long as they can have it with a salad dressing! Unfortunately most shop-bought dressings use poor quality and highly refined oil, and nearly always add a substantial amount of sugar. In addition, those of my clients on an ‘anti-Candida’ diet need to avoid vinegar, and this forms the basis of many dressings.
Olive oil and lemon whisked together make a simple option to a vinaigrette, but sometimes a mayonnaise can add a creaminess that enhances a dish. Shop mayonnaise will always be made with vinegar, and so I developed this simple lemon mayonnaise recipe. Easy to make and delicious, Lemon Mayonnaise can add a depth of flavour to many meals – not just salad.
You can see me making the Lemon Mayonnaise here
The best oil for any dressing is extra virgin olive oil. This is the least processed and refined type of olive oil and contains antioxidants. Antioxidants are the nutrients that ‘mop up’ the negative effects of the wear and tear of living, breathing and exercising. The oil’s main antioxidants include the anti-inflammatory oleocanthal, as well as oleuropein, a substance that protects LDL (unhelpful) cholesterol from oxidation. Oleocanthal has been shown in studies to work like ibuprofen – an anti-inflammatory medication. Researchers estimate that the amount of oleocanthal in 50 ml (about 3.4 tablespoons) of extra virgin olive oil exerts effects similar to those of 10% of the adult ibuprofen dosage for pain relief
Oleic acid within olive oil, has been found to reduce inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein.
With these characteristics, it is not surprising that observational studies have noted that death from cardiovascular disease and stroke, are lower in countries that eat a Mediterranean diet – full of extra virgin olive oil, along with an abundance of vegetables.
Much more could be written about extra virgin olive oil, but this is sufficient for now to show why it is my oil of choice for a salad dressing. However, the high content of the antioxidant-rich polyphenols brings a slightly bitter taste. In fact, this bitterness actually confirms the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory value of extra virgin olive oil. As you get used to it, this rich depth of flavour sets apart an extra virgin olive oil dressing from all other dressings, making it superior at a taste-bud level! However, this may take a little getting-used-to. The intensity of flavour does diminish after a couple of days stored in the fridge, and also when it is added to food. Adding fresh or dried garlic to the lemon mayonnaise can help to reduce the bitter taste, as well as adding more antioxidants.
If you struggle with the depth of flavour when using extra virgin olive oil in the lemon mayonnaise, or you are making if for others not used to natural foods, then you may want to compromise and use a light olive oil. This oil is a blend of extra virgin olive oil and refined oils, creating an oil that is lighter in colour, texture and taste. This will work well in the mayonnaise, and you will still retain some benefits in using this oil over a refined seed or vegetable oil.
The key to making mayonnaise is to keep the blender at a low level and add the oil very slowly – Low and Slow! If you take your time the mayonnaise shouldn’t ‘split’ and curdle.
You can flavour the Mayonnaise however you like. Traditionally this dressing contains a pinch of yellow mustard powder – not enough to create heat, but to add a depth of flavour. I then add fresh garlic before or after blending. You can also stir in fresh or dried chopped chives, or any other herb of choice. I generally add herbs after blending, to prevent making a green mayo!
To enhance the lemon freshness, you can serve the mayonnaise topped with a little grated lemon rind. This is so delicious you can use it as a dressing for fish, or for dipping veggie stick and falafel.
Place the egg and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. If using, add the pinch of yellow mustard and the crushed clove of garlic. You can use 1/4 teaspoon of dried garlic if you prefer. Set the blender to the slowest level and start blending. At the same time VERY GRADUALLY drizzle in the olive oil. If you are tempted to do this too quickly, use a teaspoon to add the oil, a spoonful at a time. The lemon mayonnaise will gradually thicken. Once you have used the cup of oil the mayo should be creamy . Transfer to a clean glass jar and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.