So much depends upon mayo. If you think that’s an exaggeration, try eating a dry sandwich or a tempeh salad with nothing but lemon juice to moisten it.
For omnivores, the solution is easy: Grab a jar of egg-based mayonnaise off any supermarket shelf. For vegans, it’s a little more difficult; oil-based Vegenaise* and soy-based Nayonaise* aren’t exactly everywhere, but people in larger towns and cities should be able to track them down.
However, for those of us who avoid added oil, there’s only one packaged option, the strange-tasting, not-very-mayonnaisey Fat Free Nayonaise*. Well, I say “Nay” to Nayonaise. Make your own mayo!
Tofu-based mayonnaise recipes abound–FatFree Vegan Recipes has some here, here, and here–but most are too sweet and all taste too much like blended silken tofu for my family’s tastes. My husband and daughter have gotten used to the not-fat-free stuff in the jar, and when our local stores recently stopped carrying the brand we use, I knew I had to create something that they would like as much or more.
We’ve never met a cashew-based dressing or sauce that we didn’t like, so I combined the fluffiness of silken tofu with the flavor (and a little fat) of blended cashews to come up with a mayo that somehow manages to be lighter than regular Nayonaise and much, much better than FatFree Nayonaise.
Even with the fat from the cashews, a tablespoon of my mayo contains only 15 calories and less than a gram of fat. You can use it on sandwiches, in salads, even in cooked dishes–anywhere you’d use mayo. You can also use it instead of oil in any oil-based salad dressing, instantly transforming it into a creamy dressing. Try blending a couple tablespoons of it into my Balsamic-Raisin Dressing. Or mix it with sweet relish to make a tartar sauce perfect for serving with Jackfruit “Crab” Cakes. Yum!
Note: Don’t do soy? Be sure to check out my tofu-free MiracleNaise!
- 1 12.3 ounce package lite firm or extra-firm silken tofu see note
- 1/2 cup raw cashews about 2 ounces
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard any variety
- 1/8 teaspoon granulated onion powder
- salt to taste
- Drain water from tofu and place it and all other ingredients except salt in a high-speed blender. Blend at highest speed until light and creamy. Add salt to taste and blend again. Seal tightly and keep refrigerated. Stir before each use.
To make this in a food processor or regular blender, use 1/3 cup of cashew butter instead of cashews and process until smooth.
Nutritional info is approximate.
Vegenaise Original has 90 calories and 9 grams of fat per tablespoon. Regular Nayonaise has 35 calories and 3.5 grams of fat. Fat Free Nayonaise has 10 calories and 0 grams of fat.
Update: I tried freezing and then defrosting the mayo, and it came out a little less fluffy but still tasting the same.
Please pin and share!
AshAugust 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm
I wanted to have a tempeh-lettuce-tomato wrap today, so I made this recipe. I have never loved mayonnaise so much. I will never buy anything from a store again! Now I want to explore every recipe on the planet that calls for mayo.
Jrsygal59August 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm
Love this recipe!
Esther JOctober 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm
This is such a nice alternative to Nayonaise (which was my stand-by mayo when I went Vegan) and Vegenaise (which I finally purchased about a month ago, so very good–the best, imho–but I could live without the oil).
I was able to produce a nice, creamy mayo using just a standard blender. I soaked the cashews, then drained them and put them in a plastic ziploc, where I then crushed them into somewhat of a paste using a rolling pin. Then, I just dumped them into a blender as needed. It took a little more elbow grease, but it worked out just fine.
I added maybe a teaspoon of sugar (maybe less) to give it a subtle sweetness, and I think I added about a T of apple cider vinegar for a little more zing.
All in all, I had to get used to the cashew taste, but after a couple of times, it began to taste better than any of the store-bought alternatives (that’s saying a lot because Vegenaise is really good).
Esther JOctober 19, 2013 at 10:14 am
I’m returning to this after having made my second and a half batch this morning. It’s so nice! (and this after having bought a large–and still unopened–jar of Vegenaise last week.)
I love that it is so creamy, with just the right amount of both fat and lightness, unlike Vegenaise, which while very good, can taste kind of heavy and weighed down with the oil and whatnot in it. And the cashew flavor, although initially an area of slight concern, has won me over.
Love it, love it, love it!
Thank you, Susan!
deannaNovember 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm
Love your Tofu-Cashew Mayo recipe! when it came time to add the salt, I used one tsp. of a different salt called Deer Brand Black Salt Powder – it is really pink in color (not the Hawaiian black salt that is actually black). This salt is salty and tastes like eggs! a plus for a mayo recipe! Hope you check it out – would love to have your input on it! It’s a product of Pakistan. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes!
WilliamJanuary 9, 2014 at 7:12 pm
I was curious if I could use roasted cashews in the Tofu-Cashew Mayonnaise? Thank you for sharing this recipe:)
RachelJanuary 16, 2014 at 12:05 pm
I’ve been making this consistently for many months now. I love it!
melissaJanuary 19, 2014 at 5:00 pm
My family and I are venturing into a better eating lifestyle and your site is giving me
melissaJanuary 19, 2014 at 5:05 pm
such high hopes. We used to eat everything so seeing your menu means we still can only healthier! Thank you!
DanaFebruary 2, 2014 at 8:19 am
Amazing! I was looking to replace my beloved Vegenaise with something healthier, and I hate Nasoya with a passion. This is great! I add a bit of almond milk and lemon juice to 2 tbsp of this mayo and have a delicious quick salad dressing as well. Thank you for the recipe!
sherriFebruary 18, 2014 at 8:32 am
i cannot find silken tofu in the country i live in. just regular tofu. what will the difference in taste/texture be if i use that instead?
Susan VoisinFebruary 18, 2014 at 8:52 am
It may be okay, but less smooth and thicker. What I would do is use less tofu, maybe 8 ounces, and add some plain soy milk as needed to help it blend.
sherriFebruary 18, 2014 at 10:16 am
would silken extra firm be better than regular tofu– a neighbor offered to give me some that she brought.
Susan VoisinFebruary 18, 2014 at 10:33 am
Definitely! Any silken tofu will work.
Susan SimonApril 21, 2014 at 7:29 pm
OMG – just made this – 3 minutes or less in my Vitamix. Made exactly as written. It is SO delicious! I am so appreciative – thank you!!! Now I’ll be making my chickpea and kale recipe. What a treat!
CeliaApril 29, 2014 at 1:09 pm
Thank you very much for this recipe! Even my husband loves it, and he is not vegan/dairy intolerant like me. This has become a staple in my fridge. I made a more sour version with parsley and pepper, garlic powder and some vinegar too, for some other sandwiches here the other day when this one felt too sweet. Worked great!
KatieMay 7, 2014 at 7:39 pm
Thank you! I was never a mayo eater before I went vegan, but recently I developed a seriously concerning addiction to vegenaise. I feel so happy to have a tasty alternative that doesn’t make me feel bad after enjoying a sloppy sandwich.
BarbaraMay 26, 2014 at 6:31 am
Just want to say thank you for all the wonderful recipes you share. I am wanting to try the tofu-cashew mayonnaise for sandwiches, etc. Although we do not go through mayonnaise type dressing very quickly, I am wondering how long this last in the refrigerator. Would you have any information on shelf life for it?
Susan VoisinMay 26, 2014 at 6:37 am
It will keep a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, but you can also freeze part of it if you don’t think you’ll use it that fast.
KarineeJune 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm
How long does the tofu cashew mayo stay good for?
Susan BJuly 9, 2014 at 3:02 am
I’m coming late to this discussion, and I haven’t tried the mayo yet, but I notice some people wanted to use an alternative to cashews. I would think macadamia nuts (if you can afford them!) would give the same creaminess and a slightly different flavor. This wouldn’t help if you have a nut allergy, of course, but it might work for people who have an aversion to cashews and don’t think almonds are creamy enough.
sciencegeekJuly 31, 2014 at 3:19 pm
Wow! This is great! I love the flavor – I think I’m going to use this for a salad dressing, as well as a sandwich spread. This will now be a staple in my kitchen!
CraigFebruary 10, 2015 at 5:45 am
What does it taste like? I love tofu all by itself, but I find it hard to imagine as a mayo. But this post is quite an eye-opener. Thanks
AiryfairyceltMarch 9, 2015 at 7:45 am
And aren’t there some lovely burgers here? I had not heard of them really till fairly recently and if you knew how many wondrous recipes I have collected now you would probably faint right off!
I think I am obsessed!
I never get on here without learning something, running off with another delight or just enjoying all the things that people think,of. Learning something everyday is certainly a real,truth for me as I explore and just revel,in it all.
Thank you all so much for I cannot get too many of your ingredients but they come or I learn the substitutions, I like to experiment too. Good to have so much to keep me busy and through the wildest weather too.
ChenJuly 3, 2015 at 10:11 am
I made this yesterday and it is delicious. I made a creamy mustard vinaigrette with it to go in our last night’s salad. And today for lunch, I’m going to make purple potato salad with it. Thank you Susan 🙂
matt AllenAugust 17, 2015 at 12:19 am
I love this recipe, its become my regular may… Recently I tried using soaked sunflower seeds in place of the cashews and it came out amazing. FYI For those of you with nut allergies.
For me, the experiment was because of price vs. allergies, 1.50 a pound for raw sunflower seeds vs. 6 a pound raw cashews locally.
James PiersonOctober 28, 2015 at 3:21 pm
I’ve havo to go on a plant base diet for none operable heat condition. This includes no process fats. I need all the help I can’t get.
MaryanneNovember 5, 2015 at 7:02 pm
I have no source of non-dairy yogurt near me so bought some greek dairy yogurt. Will that work to make soy yogurt, other than it’s not completely vegan? Also, is it safe to eat raw cashews? Aren’t they supposed to be toxic?
FreddaDecember 16, 2015 at 12:40 pm
I found this recipe when a vegan friend, who uses no oil at all, came over for lunch. The first time I made I used my trusty old blender. Mistake! Chunky peanut butter is so good but chunky veganaise, not so much. The next time, I tried the food processor. That veganaise wa better but too grainy. Then, friends who going to be out of town for weeks, heard me complain about these problems. They offered to loan me their Vitamix. Wow! What a difference. It really does need a high speed blender to yield the kind of creaminess people expect in mayo, vegan or not. I got a Vitamix and now always make wonderful veganaise. Thanks so much for the recipe. One more thing, when I had no lemons, I used apple cider vinegar with good results. Today, I found myself out of cashews. What to do as the only nuts I had were pecans. I used them and produc d the same creamy, dreamy veganaise tasting only faintly of pecans and ever so slightly pink. In a dressing or tuna salad, the pecan flavor is imperceptible. Won’t use pecans often, but in a pinch, I’m emboldened to try the nuts I have on hand.
Green TreesJanuary 13, 2016 at 8:05 pm
I made this and it is outstanding! I used it in a vegan potato salad and my husband loved it! And he is not always a fan of my vegan cooking. Thank you!!
JessicaApril 26, 2016 at 10:22 am
How long can you keep this in your refrigerator?
Susan VoisinApril 26, 2016 at 10:54 am
It keeps a week or two, but you can also freeze it for later.
GosiaApril 27, 2016 at 8:59 pm
Do you have any suggestions to substitute tofu, I recently found out that I have huge issue with soy products,
Susan VoisinApril 28, 2016 at 4:01 pm
I have one that uses canned artichoke hears instead of tofu. You can find it here: https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2014/09/miraclenaise-soy-free-mayo-plus-roasted-red-pepper-dressing.html
MatildaApril 28, 2016 at 1:41 pm
Diane, thank You so much for a really great Mayonnaise recipe, It is just what I’ve been searching for. Matilda
MatildaApril 28, 2016 at 1:50 pm
Susan, I am so sorry for mixing your name up with another lady. This is a fabulous recipe for fat free mayonnaise. Thank You, I will be following your blog. Matilda
Marisa StoneJuly 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm
This was absolutely delicious. Was recently diagnosed with type 2 and work on reversing this, was so glad to find a tasty alternative to the oily veganaise.
BrianAugust 6, 2016 at 1:02 am
What an excellent recipe. I tweaked it to give it a “Miracle Whip” flavor by halving the lemon juice & using ACV for the other half. I also added a smidgen of pure organic syrup. I presoaked my cashews for about twelve hours & blended everything on high in the Vitamix. I can only imagine how good it’s going to be after chilling overnight. I’m going to use it for my potatoe salad tomorrow & I can’t wait! Thanks for sharing.
Claire VoyanceAugust 16, 2016 at 9:59 am
I found the ingrendient “1 tablespoon Tofu-Cashew Mayo (or other vegan mayo)” within this recipe:
I want to do this salat without the Tofu-Cashew-Mayo or other vegan mayo, but I don’t know, how much calories 1 tablespoon of Tofu-Cashew-Mayo is?
The recipe says, this amount will become a pint of mayo, but I’m not even from the US or UK, so I don’t even know, how much a pint is and there seem to be differences between US dry pints and fluid pints and UK dry pints and fluid pints 🙁 Please help! Thank you so much :*
Susan VoisinAugust 16, 2016 at 11:12 am
Sorry about that! It should have noted that a serving is 1 tablespoon, which is 15 calories.
KathyApril 20, 2017 at 9:31 am
if you use black salt instead of regular salt, you get an egg taste, and it tastes more like real mayo. I have been using the same recipe you posted for a while now, and it is wonderful
BernadetteAugust 18, 2017 at 3:51 pm
Bless you for this recipe, lol. I Fight my devotion to mayo. This is a totally acceptable substitute.
KatieOctober 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm
Question for you: Recipe says 1/2 cup cashews- 2 oz. 2 oz = 1/4 cup. Just wondering which it is?
Susan VoisinOctober 6, 2017 at 6:48 pm
When I weighed 1/4 cup of cashews, they weighed 2 ounces. Different sized pieces of cashews will fill a measuring cup differently. To get the most accurate measurement, I would weigh out 2 ounces, but if you prefer, you can measure 1/4 cup.
PollyJanuary 21, 2018 at 4:12 pm
I didn’t quite think this tasted like mayonnaise but I loved it as a sandwich spread. It could have been because we don’t have get really light tofu where I’m based, and I used something of a medium consistency. Super recipe nonetheless. I finished it all in two days! Great source of nutrients for my pregnant belly. 😂
SandyMarch 17, 2018 at 8:00 am
This was really good. I used it for chickpea salad sandwiches and hubby used it as a topping for baked potatoes – which was surprisingly good.
MarcellaApril 3, 2018 at 4:59 pm
This sounds doable, much healthier and a creamy version! Look forward to trying. I had just given up on mayo, since I did not like the store bought brands. I have just resorted to using my own flavored hummus, organic mustard or avocado thinly spread on bread.
JeannieSeptember 30, 2018 at 3:47 pm
Help please! I just made this today to make your Pumpkin Seed Dressing/Kale salad recipe. I think I made a mistake though. Instead of simply pouring the water out of the tofu, I pressed it. My guess is that was wrong. When I try to blend it in the Vitamix, it is cookie dough consistency. Could I just add some filtered water until it is creamy? Thank you in advance.
Susan VoisinSeptember 30, 2018 at 4:44 pm
Yes, just add some water. Are you sure you used silken tofu? That doesn’t usually press like regular tofu, just falls apart. If it’s regular tofu, you might never get a truly smooth consistency.