Lebanese Garlic Sauce

This recipe is a great way to include garlic in your meals on a regular basis.  It works as a salad dressing on raw or cooked vegetables and as a dip for fried foods.  And how about on grilled or roasted meat, fish, chicken or lamb!  You can even use it as a substitute for regular mayonnaise on a sandwich, or simply on french bread.  The consistency varies from creamy, paste-like, to thinned out mayonnaise.  It depends on how you pour the oil during the making, and how the garlic and oil emulsify or don’t.  There are a number of variations on the making of Lebanese Garlic Sauce.  Some recipes call for yogurt, some for mint, a pinch or two of white bread for a fluffier texture, boiling hot water, egg white or even a bit of mayonnaise.  But, basically, there are only four main ingredients: garlic, salt, lemon and oil.  A lighter oil, such as canola is preferable; some use olive oil, but usually in combination with another oil.


4-5 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)

Peel and crush the garlic.   Place into food processor with the salt.  Pulse until smooth.  Very slowly add the oil, allowing the mixture to take on a creamy texture.  Finally, add the lemon juice and mix well.

The traditional Lebanese  garlic sauce, “toum bi zeit,” or garlic with oil, was made with a mortar and pestle, and certainly today results will vary, when using a blender or a food processor.  But whether the consistency is thicker or thinner, it’s always tangy, garlicky, delicious!

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