Naturally vegan and gluten-free, this Lebanese Garlic Sauce is light, fluffy and packed with flavor. Serve with grilled meat, shish kebobs or warm pita.
I am so lucky. As much as I would love to say that I am a self-taught, self-made home chef, I really can’t take credit. It’s in my blood. It’s in my DNA. It’s in my genes. My family is full of incredible cooks on both sides but today’s post is about one woman, in particular, my Aunt Paula.
She won’t let anyone photograph her, ever. As you know, I’m a bit camera happy and always have it out at family gatherings and parties. Whenever she sees me come near she looks the other way.
My Aunt Paula is known for gifting friends and family with food all year round. If you’re sick, she will defrost homemade chicken soup and deliver it with a bag of Fritos – the best chicken soup topping in the world. Just have a baby? She’ll stop by at dinner with a platter of Hushwee rice.
At Christmas, she is notorious for The Gift of Butter (Clarified Butter). If we happen to stop by for a walk during the weekend, it’s almost a guarantee she is baking up a loaf of barley bread for my Uncle Randy to pack in his lunch box during the week. Inevitably, she’ll have a loaf to send you home with. Aunt Paula is the best and I owe all of my Lebanese food skills to her.
As you probably guessed, this Lebanese Garlic Sauce was the most recent food gift I received from my Aunt Paula. The recipe is just four simple ingredients but with a little love it turns into a magical, intoxicating and addictive sauce you’ll be spreading on pita sandwiches, serving with Beef Shawarma, or dipping with Chicken Tawook.
Garlic Sauce 101:
What is toum?
Toum is a Lebanese garlic spread which is an emulsified garlic sauce that carries a pungent garlic punch to it.
What makes up Lebanese garlic sauce?
It’s a fairly basic recipe containing garlic cloves, salt, and canola oil.
Is there mayo in garlic sauce?
One of the best qualities of garlic sauce is that there is no mayo
Is garlic sauce spicy?
Due to the amount of garlic, this recipe calls for it is. If you’re looking to tone down the spice level you can use less garlic. Additionally, the type of garlic you use makes the difference. If you’re using elephant garlic it’s going to make the dish a little milder. If you’re looking for a spicy sauce then use fresh garlic.
How long does garlic sauce last in the refrigerator?
Up to 1 month in an airtight container.
What does garlic sauce pair well with?
Grilled meats are what people use it for the most but we also spread on pita bread or roasted vegetables. The four recipes below are some of my favorites to pair with garlic sauce.
- Beef Shawarma with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
- Shish Tawook Chicken
- Spicy Lebanese Potatoes
- Greek Marinated Grilled Vegetables
If you’re a visual person and need to see the process I encourage you to take a look at this video for help. Your fork is waiting.
Thousands of people have made this recipe with success but there is always that chance that something may not go right. Prior to making, make sure you check out the video. Here are the 3 things I usually hear the most with hopes to help you.
My Garlic sauce is falling apart!
If you don’t want your garlic sauce to fall apart when you’re making it do not dump the oil in right away. You need to drizzle in the oil slowly and you may need to pause while you’re waiting for the mixture to thicken up. When you see it begin to thicken up THEN you start with the lemon juice. Alternating between the two is the key to proper emulsification which creates the light and fluffy garlic sauce.
I don’t have canola or vegetable oil.
Only use canola or vegetable oil. Do not use olive oil, almond oil, or coconut or peanut oil as it will ruin the end result. One person mentioned that refined avocado oil has worked perfectly but my thoughts are that it would change the flavor of the dish.
I only have garlic in a jar.
Buy fresh garlic. Don’t use garlic in a jar. Garlic in a jar is quite bitter.
Lebanese Garlic Sauce (Toum)
- 1 cup garlic cloves peeled (roughly 3 heads of garlic)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups canola oil you may not need all of this
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (about one lemon)
- Place the garlic cloves and salt in a large food processor and puree until smooth. It's a good idea to scrape down the sides two or three times to ensure that all of the garlic is finely processed.
- Turn the machine back on and slowly drizzle in the oil through the lid starting with 1/2 cup. After the first 1/2 cup has been added, pour in a teaspoon of the lemon juice.
- Continue alternating between 1/2 cup of the canola oil and a teaspoon of the lemon juice until you've added all of the oil and lemon juice. Alternating between the two is the key to proper emulsification which creates the light and fluffy garlic sauce. One tip is to let the machine run between oil additions to let the emulsion thicken. NOTE: This process requires you to drizzle in the oil -- not dump in the oil right away. When you see it begin to thicken up THEN you start with the lemon juice.
- You know it's done when the sauce is white and thick with a similar consistency of mayonnaise. It usually takes about 10-15 minutes.
Need more delicious, homemade Lebanese food in your life? Check out my Pinterest board!