A thick, creamy garlic sauce that has an intense garlic flavor. It is wonderfully delicious served on grilled meats, falafel and shawarma but it can be used on practically anything. Try it on pasta, pizza, stirred into steamed veggies or as a spread for sandwiches. It also makes a to-die-for dip for french fries. The possibilities are endless.
I have been buying a Lebanese garlic sauce at Central Market occasionally, and I stress the ‘occasionally’ as it is almost six dollars for a dinky little 8-ounce container. So, I was excited when I saw a garlic sauce recipe in my new cookbook entitled, Comptori Lebanais by Tony Kitous, There are some great sounding Lebanese recipes in this book and I have already picked out a few that I want to try. This garlic sauce is also known as toum which happens to be the Lebanese word for garlic.
During a recent trip to Costco I purchased a huge bag of peeled garlic with the intention of making my own garlic sauce. The whole bag of garlic cost less than seven dollars so my homemade Lebanese garlic sauce is very economical compared to the commercial container.
Homemade Lebanese garlic sauce is very similar to making mayonnaise and you just have to take your time drizzling in your oil and lemon juice and can’t be in a rush. It eventually comes together into a thick, creamy delicious sauce.
This garlic sauce is so good! It has an intense garlic flavor and a little goes a long way. It will keep in the refrigerator for at least a month and can be used in pasta recipes, spread on salmon steaks and baked, stirred into sautéed vegetables and it is really good spread on sourdough bread and toasted under the broiler. It has a nice creamy texture almost like a mayonnaise with a lemony tang to it and of course a great garlic flavor. It is addictive!
I mixed several tablespoons of this sauce with additional lemon juice to thin it out and used it with our grilled lamb kabobs and quinoa. That! was really delicious!
As mentioned earlier, you must take your time when you make this sauce. If you rush the process the mixture will not emulsify and you will end up with a thin marinade. That wouldn’t be so bad actually but what we are after this time is a thick, fluffy, creamy, delicious spread with somewhat of a mayonnaise consistency. So take your time with this process and give the mixture time to emulsify. It should take you 7 to 8 minutes to add all of your oil.
You also want to start with dry equipment. If your spatula, food processor or measuring cups have even a drop of water it could prevent the mixture from emulsifying. Now that I have said that, if you do happen to get water in the mixture, all is not lost. You can still recover. Water and oil actually can emulsify but if water gets in the mixture, the process will be greatly lengthened and you may feel like giving up and using the mixture as a marinade. So make this process easier and start with dry equipment and add the oil VERY SLOWLY. You will love the results.
You might also want to check out our delicious Lemon-Dill Aioli Sauce. It is a smooth creamy sauce that goes perfectly with fish and is made in a similar fashion to this garlic sauce. While the aioli sauce has egg yolks in it to assist with the emulsion process, this creamy garlic sauce is egg free and vegan friendly.
How to make Lebanese Garlic Sauce:
Lebanese Garlic Sauce
Yield 2 pints
A thick creamy garlic sauce that has an intense garlic flavor. Wonderfully delicious served with grilled lamb kabobs and quinoa or rice. Try it on pasta, pizza or stirred into steamed veggies.
- 30 large garlic cloves, about 1 cup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 cups oil, avocado, vegetable, canola, peanut or corn (do not use olive oil or sesame oil)
- Add the garlic and salt in a food processor and puree until smooth, stopping several times to scrape down the sides.
- With the motor running, slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of the oil through the opening in the lid in a thin stream. Then, with the motor still running, pour in a teaspoon of the lemon juice. The mixture will begin to thicken a little.
- Continue alternating between ½ cup of the oil and a teaspoon of the lemon juice, waiting a few seconds between additions to give the mixture time to absorb, until you've added all of the oil and lemon juice. Do not rush, this is a process that will take about 15 minutes. The sauce will become thick, creamy and look like mayonnaise.
- Alternating between the oil and lemon juice is the secret to proper emulsification which creates the light and fluffy garlic sauce.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
It is important to make sure that all your equipment is dry. If even a drop of water is on your measuring cups, spatula or food processor the water will prevent emulsification.
Adding the oil or lemon juice very slowly is also important to the success of this recipe. When you add the oil it should be in a very slow and thin stream, especially in the beginning. The entire process should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
If the mixture breaks while adding the oil, stop adding the oil and continue pulsing until it comes together again then continue adding oil in a very thin and slow stream.
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Serving Size 2 Tablespoons
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 20 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Sodium 74 mg
Total Carbohydrates 3 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.