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Cashews are magic, pure magic. While they are delectable on their own, cashews also rock in many vegan dishes. They can turn into a crunchy toasted topping, a vegan sour cream, or in this case, an incredibly delicious garlic lemon aioli. This vegan aioli is my take on the traditional mayonnaise-based one. And it’s darn good.

simple vegan aioli in a glass jar next to cloves of garlic.
Table of Contents
  1. What is Aioli?
  2. How to Make Vegan Aioli
  3. Garlic Lemon Aioli FAQs
  4. Using Aioli in Dishes
  5. More Great Sauce Recipes
  6. Garlic Lemon Aioli Recipe

What is Aioli?

Traditional aioli is made when oil is forcefully mixed with something water-based. Oils typically include mayonnaise or olive oil, while the water components are lemon juice or vinegar.

ingredients for vegan aioli including olive oil, sea salt, garlic cloves, raw cashews and lemons.

Other flavors are then added based on what result you want. Use it as a sandwich spread, dip or dressing. I love a versatile sauce, and my vegan aioli is a good one however you want to use it.

How to Make Vegan Aioli

easy homemade dressing in glass jar with rub sealed lid on wooden cutting board.

I’m harnessing the magical power of cashews in my version of a classic sauce. To turn them into a creamy sauce, start by soaking the cashews for one to four hours before making the aioli. If you forget to soak them ahead of time, heat water and pour the hot water over the cashews. Let soak for 10-15 minutes before using.

Because I’m not mixing oil or cream with lemon juice, Dijon mustard and garlic, I don’t need to combine them in a fancy way. Simply toss all the ingredients into a good food processor and process until creamy.

If your food processor isn’t mixing them easily, add a tsp or two of water. Don’t add too much water at one time because the mixture will become too runny.

vegan dressing using cashews in glass jar with stainless spoon and garlic cloves.

Garlic Lemon Aioli FAQs

What’s in traditional aioli?

To make aioli, you need an oil base and a water base. Begin by slowly mixing the two to break up the oil, then whip it to fluff and cream.

How do you make vegan aioli?

My garlic lemon aioli uses soaked cashews, lemon juice, dijon mustard and garlic. It’s super simple to make and requires a food processor.

What’s the difference between mayonnaise and aioli?

Real aioli is olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Today aioli is pretty much mayo with a lot of garlic in it. My vegan version uses cashews (and is insanely good).

Using Aioli in Dishes

This delicious garlic lemon aioli pairs well with a variety of recipes. Swap it in as a sauce, dressing and more in the following recipes:

Don’t forget to rate and review this recipe when you make it. I love hearing how these recipes turn out and what genius ways you make my recipes your own!

More Great Sauce Recipes

If you loved making this homemade garlic lemon aioli, then try out one of these other delicious recipes:

Leave a rating + review of this yummy sauce once you’ve tried it. I’d love to hear your feedback!

5 from 1 vote

Garlic Lemon Aioli

100% vegan and 100% scrumptious. This aioli is the perfect dressing for my Kale Caesar salad. Make sure to soak those cashews for a soft and creamy result. You'll enjoy this incredibly simple recipe!
Prep: 4 hours 5 minutes
Total: 4 hours 5 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 2


  • 1 food processor


  • ¼ cup raw cashews soaked 1-4 hours
  • 1 garlic cloves peeled
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • lemon squeeze of juice
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  • Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
  • In a food processor, blend all the ingredients until creamy. If needed, add a few tsp of water to help blend. The mixture should be thick and creamy.
  • Store in an air tight jar in the fridge until ready to use.


  • This dressing was originally created for my Kale Caesar salad.
  • Swap out cashews for soaked almonds. 
  • This is meant to be mixed into a salad, not poured over it (which is why it is thicker).
  • I have a larger food processor, so I like to double this recipe to help it blend well. 
  • Lasts up to 3-4 days in the fridge.


Calories: 92kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 16mg, Potassium: 114mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

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  1. How much lemon is a squeeze? Like the squeeze of a wedge or the squeeze of a whole lemon? Can’t wait to try it!

    1. I usually do a little squeeze (maybe 1/2 tsp) and then you can always add more if you like.

  2. 5 stars
    This aioli is AMAZING. I still can’t get over how creamy it is with no dairy in it.

    1. Awesome, it’s def one of my favorites as well and a great dairy-free option!