Ask Addie: What’s up with this vegan garlic spread that everyone is loving?

When a reader enthusiastically emails you about a product she loves, including an offer to drop off samples, it’s hard to say no.

Majestic Garlic is the name of a powerful garlic spread similar to toum, a traditional dip from Lebanon. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Austinite Susan Sneller isn’t affiliated with Majestic Garlic, a light garlic spread out of California that is only sold locally at Wheatsville.

What was her motivation for reaching out to the local newspaper? “I’m hoping you’ll create a wave of demand that will shake up grocery stores so they’ll stock it,” she wrote.

Sneller told me that she uses the airy spread as a dip or a marinade or with meat, fish, potatoes and other vegetables. She even puts a little of it in  ramen noodles. “It’s very versatile and doesn’t have an unhealthy ingredient in its carton.”

A few days later, she and her son arrived at the Statesman to share three tubs of this surprisingly spicy and intensely flavored spread. We ate it on crackers, and I can see how it would give indigestion to people who aren’t keen on the taste of raw garlic.

Toum is the name of a Lebanese and Mediterranean garlic spread that contains oil, garlic and lemon juice. Contributed by Charles Haynes via Creative Commons.

It turns out that Majestic Garlic is a commercial version of toum, a Lebanese garlic spread that is similar to aioli, but without an egg yolk. (Austin360Cooks contributor Paul Czarkowski mixes the garlic spread with harissa to make a marinade for chicken.) After digging around, I found out that Trader Joe’s makes a version of it, and that you can make it at home if you have a food processor or high-powered blender.

You can find plenty of recipes on the web, but if you want to watch someone expertly drizzle the oil into the garlic, watch this YouTube video from Kamal Al-Faqih, who demonstrated the dip on his YouTube channel.

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Majestic Garlic is made with organic raw garlic and cold-milled flaxseed, as well as safflower oil, sea salt and lemon juice. According to the website: “Majestic Garlic stands alone as a delicious, versatile and nutritious condiment, adding incredible flavor to the most simple of dishes, while harnessing the many health benefits of garlic.”

If you want to find Majestic Garlic’s toum, head over to Wheatsville, which is the only place to find it locally. (Sneller says the company will ship the product to Texas when the weather isn’t so hot. They also make Majestic Hummus, a raw and sprouted hummus made with raw garbanzo beans.)

Majestic Garlic sells cayenne and basil garlic spreads, but here is how to make a version of plain toum at home.

Lebanese Toum

You can find a version of this creamy garlic spread in Kamal Al-Faqih’s 2009 book, “Classic Lebanese Cuisine: 170 Fresh And Healthy Mediterranean Favorites.” Feel free to cut the recipe in half, but make sure you drizzle the oil slowly into the garlic and that the equipment and ingredients is totally dry from water. Here’s a little more about the emulsification and why toum is a little different than aioli. Use this spread to flavor meats, including chicken, or to spread on grilled or broiled bread.

1 cup garlic, peeled
4 cups canola oil
1/2 cup lemon juice, divided

Place the garlic in a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse the garlic to finely chop and then start to drizzle the oil slowly, using a thread-like stream. After every 1/2 cup of oil, add about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, alternating until both are used. It will take several minutes to fully add the oil, and the slower you add it, the better chance that the sauce won’t break.

— Adapted from a recipe in “Classic Lebanese Cuisine: 170 Fresh And Healthy Mediterranean Favorites” by Kamal Al-Faqih

 


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