Mayonnaise wasn’t a big deal in my family and so was never something I sought out that much. Because of that, mayo often turned me off of some people’s picnic side dishes. With my dad being a minister, pot luck Sundays were a big part of my life and so I have had many encounters of mayonnaise and cream of soup concoctions gone wrong. Although I never saw this urban legend first hand, I remember my mom telling me a horror story of a woman who put mayo in her jell-o salads.
Although mayonnaise has gone through some great incarnations by embracing horseradish, wasabi, red peppers, olive oil etc, there are more people than just me who don't find big globs of mayonnaise appealing. The first time I made coleslaw and potato salad, one of the repeated compliments I got was how much people liked that they couldn’t really tell I used mayonnaise.
Although I originally just halved the mayo, I’ve pretty much gotten rid of it completely in my potato and macaroni salad as well as my coleslaw. The other plus of getting rid of mayo is you get more complex flavors that are fresher and tastier, and, in some cases, even cut down on fat.
So instead of mayo, consider any of the following . . .
- Greek yogurt = This substitute is thick and tangy and is fat free. Greek yogurt is the one I use most often because I really love the effect it has. It is adaptable to potato and macaroni salad as well as coleslaw because it gives an extra subtle flavor. It is also a great flavor bridge in that the tanginess helps link creamy to vinegar or whatever acid you choose.
- Plain yogurt = This has all the tanginess, but isn’t as thick as Greek yogurt and so works better for things like coleslaw and chest box cucumbers that have runnier sauces.
- Sour cream = Gives body as well as being rich and tangy. Sour cream does up the fat content, but it gives even more savor than the yogurts while also adding richness.