Walnut-Lime Mayonnaise

Long story short, I’m on a rotation diet. Again. Seems there is still something causing inflammation so off I go to systematically eliminate things I like to see which one is the culprit. As you probably know the first step in this voluntary form of torture is to eliminate all the usual suspects: gluten and lactose are high on the list.

When I was chatting with friends about an approach one suggested Paleo. I had heard people talk about this diet and my response was usually smile-and-nod on the outside, smirk on the inside; another fad. However the source was a friend who started Paleo as a last ditch effort to wrangle a life-arresting form of IBS – it worked. I decided to actually learn what it was about and give it a chance.

Aside from the elimination of lactose and gluten, my two likely problem children, the diet seems to be geared toward eliminating all processed and refined foods, everything.

Fine, I can do that for 3 weeks. However, while I thought I would be safe with my ‘Olive Oil’ mayo, I was not. Basically they add a little olive oil to what is mostly canola oil, a forbidden item. Fine, I’ll make my own.

WalnutLimeMayo1 WalnutLimeMayo2

I chucked the ‘Olive Oil’ mayo into the bin after the first taste of this; much richer, creamier and with just a little hint of lime.

  • 1 C Walnut Oil
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 T Lime Juice, fresh
  • 1/2 t Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 t Salt

The process here is important.

Take the whole eggs and lime juice out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature, about an hour. Separate the yolks. Add the lime juice, salt and egg yolks to a small bowl, whisk, cover with plastic wrap, then let the lot sit for another 2 hours – unrefrigerated. We’ll get to the why later.

Add the yolk mixture to a food processor, turn it on, then dribble the oil in little by little until you hear the splatter of the mixture against the side of the processor. Its going to take a little oil for the mixture to rise up to the blades. Afterwards, stop adding oil and wait for the mixture to emulsify (thicken up). You’ll notice a distinct change in its composition from runny to slightly thickened, like ranch dressing.

Next, add a slow but steady stream of oil until all the oil is incorporated. The way I do it is to add 1 Tablespoon at a time with an unhurried pace.  At the end add your hot sauce then shut it down. The whole process takes about 10 minutes.


One of my research assistants loved this version of mayo but then said, ‘Well I guess you have WalnutLimeMayo3to throw that out tomorrow otherwise you’ll get Salmonella poisoning”. This is certainly an alarmist statement. Yes, raw eggs are a great environment for Salmonella, which is why you should buy the freshest possible from a source you trust.

Now back to the process. The reason I let everything come to room temperature then whisk together the yolks, lime and salt is basically to guard against Salmonella and to extend the shelf life. Most bacteria hate acidic and salty environs, it messes up their metabolism and they die. The thing is – acid works best at room temperature and it needs time to work, hence the mixing it up and letting it sit out part.

While Mayo Clinic advertises 3-4 days as a safety zone for keeping fresh mayo, I can keep mine around for 7 days with no ill effects.



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