When the Kitchen Gets Hot, Reach for Magic Mayo

Yay! Leftovers! Episode 4

For a moment, let's pretend everyone agrees that mayonnaise is magical. Because it is. Whether you prefer a vegannaise — or none at all — once you spike this polarizing sauce with other ingredients, and essentially treat it like a butter or cream sauce, powerful forces send haters into shock and lovers over the moon. And the best place to unleash this magic is on leftovers.

To make the case, I've divided the possibilities into six categories by flavor traits: herby, assertive, hot, savory, sweet, and tangy. You can dabble in more than one category of course. Just taste as you go, since there really isn't a recipe beyond what you have handy. Then sock it away in the fridge for a week or so (or a few days if using homemade mayo or vegannaise).

Start by using magic mayo the obvious ways — for dipping, spreading on sandwiches, and bringing together composed salads. Thin a little with water or other liquid for a quick drizzle or dressing. Then give a second life to reheating simply cooked meats and green vegetables, baked potatoes, grilled chicken, roast pork slices or pork chops, baked or grilled tofu, even noodles or grains. Simply brush or toss with the magic mayo and pop in a medium-high oven to warm and develop a nifty little crust.

And you can always cook the first round with seasoned mayonnaise. Marinating before roasting or grilling (or basting as food cooks) takes you into retro territory with an update. Or here's a crazy idea: Toss some with pasta and some of its cooking water for a quick sauce. 

The vid will get you rolling. And here's Mark's super-quick, super-good vegannaise recipe, with variations for making it sweeter or thicker — for those of you looking for a plant-based foundation. 


Makes: Almost 1 cup
Time: 10 minutes

A few tips: Cider vinegar lends a more mayonnaise-like flavor; lemon juice is brighter. For a slightly golden tint, add a pinch of turmeric. And don’t skimp on the blending time; your reward will be a creamy consistency. 


  • 6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu (about 3/4 cup; half a 12-ounce package)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

  • Pinch ground turmeric (optional)


1. Put all the ingredients in a blender. Turn the machine to medium speed and let it run for a minute or 2, then turn it off.

2. Scrape the side of the container down with a rubber spatula, turn the blender back on, and let it run for 3 minutes. Stop and scrape again, then run the blender for a minute or so more. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Sweeter Vegannaise, Salad-Dressing Style. Like really good Miracle Whip, if that makes sense: Add 1 tablespoon sugar along with the other ingredients.

Thicker Vegannaise. The consistency will be more like store-bought: Reduce the oil to 2 tablespoons and the vinegar to 1 tablespoon. You will have to stop and scrape the side down more frequently.

— From How to Cook Everything Vegetarian 10th Anniversary Edition