Lebanese Garlic Sauce (Toum) is filled with garlic flavor, thick, and spreadable. It’s great with Middle Eastern food or anywhere you want garlic flavor.
Let me start off by saying that if you don’t like garlic, you might as well save your time and skip this post. Because aside from chewing on a whole garlic clove, this Lebanese Garlic Sauce (aka Toum) is one of the most potently garlicky things you will ever eat.
However, if you’re a garlic lover like I am, this sauce is simply magical. It never fails to amaze me how simple garlic, salt, lemon juice, water, and oil can whip up into a thick, spreadable sauce without any additional emulsifiers. The texture of it very closely resembles mayonnaise, but without the egg, and way more delicious garlic flavor.
It took me a few tries to get the hang of making this sauce. But I think the secret is removing the center (germ) of the garlic. Yes, this is tedious and takes time, but the first two times I tried to make this, I skipped that step and ended up with an oily mess that didn’t emulsify.
It’s also crucial to add the oil very slowly. Make sure you have a steady hand (and a good measuring cup that doesn’t drip), or consider using something to help you, like maybe a plastic squeeze bottle.
Once you’ve got this sauce made, it lasts awhile in the fridge. Just put it in a jar, or airtight container – one recipe makes about 4 cups.
Of course it’s delicious on chicken shawarma and donair, but it’s also great on roasted veggies, and makes a good (extra garlicky) substitute for mayo on sandwiches. You just might want to skip it if you have a hot date or important business meeting 😉
Lebanese Garlic Sauce (Toum)
- 1 cup garlic cloves, hard bottom ends trimmed, and peeled
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- 3 cups canola oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
- Place the oil into the freezer to chill while you prep the garlic. Cut the garlic cloves in half lengthwise, and remove the center (germ) portion of each half (it will pop out easily if you carefully insert the tip of a paring knife and pull it out).
- Add the de-germed garlic halves to the bowl of a food processor, along with the salt. Pulse until the garlic is minced. Add 2 Tablespoons of the lemon juice and 2 Tablespoons of the ice water and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
- While the food processor is running, very slowly add 1 cup of the oil in a slow, steady stream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add 1 Tablespoon of the lemon juice, and 1 Tablespoon of the ice water.
- Repeat step 3 again with another cup of oil and the remaining lemon juice and water.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and very slowly add the remaining cup of oil. You should end up with sauce that resembles a very thick mayonnaise. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a month. Serve with chicken shawarma, donair or gyro, falafel, pita, vegetables or meat.
Lebanese Garlic Sauce Nutrition Notes:
Note that the above nutrition information is for 1 Tablespoon of sauce. Keep in mind that it is very high in fat and calories, but is mostly “good”, heart healthy fat (eg. unsaturated fat).