food : lebanese garlic sauce (toum)

Toum, which I have known for most of my adult life as “Lebanese garlic sauce”, is a delicious sauce that can be paired with a lot of things to great effect. It is a strong and bold sauce that is quite garlic forward, with sharpness and acidity from the lemon. Think of it maybe like a spicy/sharp mayo, but with much more depth of flavor (and no egg). I used to make it, a long time ago, with a group of friends that always got together on the weekends to cook and hang out. That was before I was vegan, so it was sometimes paired with lamb and other meats. More commonly, though, we would just smear some on some nice bread and eat as a snack while we were cooking.

Fast forward to today and I thought it might be nice to make some after not having made any in a long time. I vaguely remembered how, but did check a few recipes online to verify my memory was more or less correct (it was, but having volumes of ingredients listed was helpful after so long). So, I made a batch and put it in the fridge. I air-fried some red lentil tofu, chopped up romain hearts, yellow onion, and tomato, and made enough chapati for us to make a delicious wrap (or maybe more like a gordita). The taste was amazing and it worked really well with the red lentil tofu. I believe it would also pair nicely with seitan that has been pan fried a bit. You know, or just smear it on some bread or dip some carrots in it. Whatever way you eat it, you will not be sorry. As an added note, this recipe requires an immersion blender. It can be made with a mortar and pestle or a food processor as well; which you can search the web for if you do not have an immersion blender.


Amount Measure Ingredient
70gramGarlic cloves
40mlLemon juice
200mlOlive oil


  1. Quarter the peeled garlic cloves, first removing any green core in the cloves
  2. Add all ingredients to a glass (I used a pyrex measuring cup). You want the immersion blender's blade area to be able to fit against the bottom of the glass while not being so big that the ingredients are not deep enough to get well blended.
  3. Press the immersion blender to the bottom of the glass and blend for ten seconds with it firmly pressed to the bottom
  4. Slowly lift it up a bit more at a time to incorporate more of the oil/ingredients
  5. Blend until a thick and even consistency is reached