Garlic Lemon Aioli – A Creamy, Versatile Dressing that’s 100% Plants

simple vegan aioli in a glass jar

Cashews are magic, pure magic. While they are delectable on their own, cashews also rock in many vegan dishes. They can turn into a crunchy toasted topping, a vegan sour cream, or in this case, an incredibly delicious garlic lemon aioli. This vegan aioli is my take on the traditional mayonnaise-based one. And it’s darn good.

ingredients for vegan aioli

What is Aioli?

Traditional aioli is made when oil is forcefully mixed with something water-based. Oils typically include mayonnaise or olive oil, while the water components are lemon juice or vinegar.

Other flavors are then added based on what result you want. Use it as a sandwich spread, dip or dressing. I love a versatile sauce, and my vegan aioli is a good one however you want to use it.

easy homemade dressing

How to Make Vegan Aioli

I’m harnessing the magical power of cashews in my version of a classic sauce. To turn them into a creamy sauce, start by soaking the cashews for one to four hours before making the aioli. If you forget to soak them ahead of time, heat water and pour the hot water over the cashews. Let soak for 10-15 minutes before using.

Because I’m not mixing oil or cream with lemon juice, Dijon mustard and garlic, I don’t need to combine them in a fancy way. Simply toss all the ingredients into a good food processor and process until creamy.

If your food processor isn’t mixing them easily, add a teaspoon or two of water. Don’t add too much water at one time because the mixture will become too runny.

vegan dressing using cashews

Garlic Lemon Aioli FAQs

What’s in traditional aioli?

To make aioli, you need an oil base and a water base. Begin by slowly mixing the two to break up the oil, then whip it to fluff and cream.

How do you make vegan aioli?

My garlic lemon aioli uses soaked cashews, lemon juice, dijon mustard and garlic. It’s super simple to make and requires a food processor.

What’s the difference between mayonnaise and aioli?

Real aioli is olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Today aioli is pretty much mayo with a lot of garlic in it. My vegan version uses cashews (and is insanely good).

plant based recipes

Using Aioli in Recipes

This delicious garlic lemon aioli pairs well with a variety of recipes.

Don’t forget to rate and review this recipe when you make it. I love hearing how these recipes turn out and what genius ways you make my recipes your own!

homemade garlic lemon aioli

Garlic Lemon Aioli

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100% vegan and 100% scrumptious. This aioli is the perfect dressing for my Kale Caesar salad. Make sure to soak those cashews for a soft and creamy result. You’ll enjoy this incredibly simple recipe!

Total Time4 hours 5 minutes



  • ¼ cup cashews (soaked 1-4 hours)
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • ½ test Dijon mustard
  • squeeze of lemon


  • Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.

  • In a food processor, blend all the ingredients until creamy. If needed, add a few teaspoon of water to help blend. The mixture should be thick and creamy.

  • Store in an air tight jar in the fridge until ready to use.


  • This dressing was originally created for my Kale Caesar salad.
  • Swap out cashews for soaked almonds.
  • This is meant to be mixed into a salad, not poured over it (which is why it is thicker).
  • I have a larger food processor, so I like to double this recipe to help it blend well.
  • Lasts up to 3-4 days in the fridge.

Nutrition (estimated)

Calories: 92kcal (5%) Carbohydrates: 5g (2%) Protein: 3g (6%) Fat: 7g (11%) Saturated Fat: 1g (6%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monnounsaturated Fat: 4g Sodium: 16mg (1%) Potassium: 114mg (3%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 1g (1%) Vitamin A: 1IU Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) Calcium: 9mg (1%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

More Great Sauce Recipes

If you loved making this homemade garlic lemon aioli, then try out one of these other delicious recipes:


Lemon Arugula Salad – A Delightful, Plant-Based Meal with Flavor

arugula salad

Hearty salads bring a whole lot of nutrition and fill me up so I’m not searching for a snack an hour after lunch. Just like with green smoothies, a good salad needs a balance of carbs, protein and healthy fat. My Lemon Arugula salad is definitely loaded with hearty plants and could arguably be the best arugula salad you’ll make.

I’d rather drink my greens over chewing them, so if I make a salad it’s got to be great. Trust me when I say this salad is #worthit.

best arugula salad with walnuts, snap peas and fennel

Best Arugula Salad Recipe

This salad was created with both presentation and flavor in mind. I wanted a beautiful dish as well as something to fill me up.

Make sure the barley is cooked before adding it to this arugula salad. If you know you won’t have time to cook it day-of, cook it beforehand!

My tarragon dressing can also be made ahead of time, just give the jar a good shake before pouring it over the finished salad.

If you want to add even more flavor to this dish then toast the walnuts before adding them.

ingredients for a filling lemon arugula salad

What is Arugula?

Arugula is in the same leafy green family as kale, and is not a mild veggie. It is however loaded with health benefits since it’s high in calcium, potassium, folate and vitamins C, A and K.

I love using arugula in salads, on top of pizza and even in pesto. If it’s a bit too strong for you to use as the only base in this salad then don’t toss it altogether! Pair it with mixed greens or spinach and enjoy its peppery addition to your lunch.

simple tarragon dressing

Tips for Tarragon Dressing

If you want a super simple dressing then this one is for you! Simply toss all the ingredients into a jar with a good lid then shake to mix. You can refrigerate until ready to use.

I recommend using fresh tarragon since dried tarragon has a completely different taste and flavor. I know it’s easy to swap fresh for dried when using something like basil, however that’s just not the case with this unique herb.

If you want to keep this dressing vegan, swap in maple syrup for the honey.

simple lunch recipe made with plants

Arugula Salad FAQs

What goes well with arugula?

I chose crispy fennel and walnuts along with a lemon tarragon dressing for my arugula salad. The dressing especially helps tone down the bite from the arugula.

How do you make arugula less bitter?

Pair it with flavors that help balance it out. I pair arugula with a zesty tarragon dressing and use fennel to help tone down the bitterness and boost the flavor.

Is arugula a lettuce?

Arugula is actually in the cruciferous family along with kale, broccoli and bok choy. It’s got a strong flavor so you could try half arugula, half spinach (or lettuce) until you get used to the flavor and kick.

easy and delicious salad recipes

Delicious Salad Recipes

Ready for more incredible salads? Then try out another one of my creations below:

arugula salad

Lemon Arugula Salad

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This lemon arugula salad is a feature on any table. It’s got unique (yet findable!) ingredients + an elevated flavor profile that makes me feel like I’m at a fancy restaurant. The perfect salad to mix up your lunch routine.

Total Time20 minutes



  • ½ cup barley (uncooked)
  • ½ fennel bulb (thinly sliced)
  • 4 cups arugula
  • ½ cup sugar snap peas
  • ¼ cup Walnuts (chopped)
  • 2 . green onion (thinly sliced)

Lemon Tarragon Dressing

  • 2 . lemon (juiced)
  • 1 test honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 . tarragon (fresh)
  • ½ test Dijon mustard
  • dash sea ​​salt
  • dash ground black pepper
  • 1 . chives (chopped)


  • Cook barley according to package. Allow to cool.

  • Prepare fennel by cutting off the green stalks. Halve the white bulb and carefully remove the core. Place the cut side down on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife, thinly cut or shave the fennel.

  • Place The fennel in a bowl with arugula, barley, pea pods, walnuts and green onions.

  • For Dressing: Place all ingredients in a small jar and shake well. Refrigerate until ready.

  • Drizzle Dressing over the salad, gently toss and serve immediately.


  • Swap barley with cooked quinoa.
  • To make the dressing vegan, swap in maple syrup for honey.
  • The dressing will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge.
  • Barley can be cooked ahead of time then refrigerated until ready to be used in salad.

Nutrition (estimated)

Calories: 573kcal (29%) Carbohydrates: 51g (17%) Protein: 12g (24%) Fat: 39g (60%) Saturated Fat: 5g (31%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g Monnounsaturated Fat: 21g Sodium: 68mg (3%) Potassium: 963mg (28%) Fiber: 13g (54%) Sugar: 6g (7%) Vitamin A: 1728IU (35%) Vitamin C: 39mg (47%) Calcium: 220mg (22%) Iron: 6mg (33%)


Strawberry Arugula Salad – Loaded Spring Salad with Berries and Lemon

strawberry arugula salad

Nothing rings in Springtime like strawberries, fennel and arugula. I originally created this strawberry arugula salad for my cookbook, Simple Green Meals, and it is definitely a favorite.

While this salad recipe may contain a few plants you aren’t familiar with, give it a try! These were new to me at one time too, and I got to discover just how incredible they are. Trust me.

Fresh, homemade dressing to top a homemade salad

Strawberry Arugula Salad Recipe

For an extra creamy dressing, combine all dressing ingredients (except for the poppy seeds!) in a blender or food processor. Blend until creamy. You may need to add a bit of water to help it blend well. Hand mix in the poppy seeds, then store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Slice the fennel bulb, Meyer lemon, strawberries, almonds and orange, then toss with the arugula and berries. Once you’re ready to eat, shake up that homemade vinaigrette and pour over the salad.

I won’t judge if you lick the bowl on this one. It’s ridiculously good. I love Meyer lemons so much I started growing them in my yard and eating them like apples. If this is your first time trying one then I dare you not to immediately fall in love :-).

fennel, lemon and arugula for a delicious meal

Easy Ingredient Swaps

While Meyer lemons are definitely preferred (they have the best flavor) in this strawberry arugula salad, you *can* swap them out for regular lemons. Just know they will be tarter and smaller. You can swap fennel for white onions as well as the berries for any berries you have on hand.

If you need this salad to be nut-freethen swap the almonds with hemp hearts or sunflower seeds, and swap the cashews in the lemon vinaigrette with the same.

perfect spring recipe that is 100% plant based

Strawberry Salad FAQs

What goes well with arugula?

Arugula typically has a stronger, peppery flavor. I like to pair it with lighter, sweeter ingredients like berries as well as tangy fruit like oranges.

What dressing is best on a strawberry arugula salad?

My Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette is the perfect pairing for this salad. It’s sweet, tangy and creamy.

How long does a strawberry arugula salad stay fresh?

If you mix up this salad without the dressing it can keep up to 48 hours in the fridge. For the best results though, I recommend eating it right away.

ingredients for strawberry lemon arugula salad

The Best Salad Ingredients

This strawberry arugula salad will leave you feeling great inside and out. The rawkstar ingredient list includes antioxidant-rich fruits, peppery leafy greens and a beautifully creamy salad dressing.

Arugula– This leafy green is in the same family as kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts, with the same powerful health benefits.

Fennel– A super-fiber bulb that is lightly licorice-flavored and crunchy.

Orange– A vitamin C powerhouse.

Berries– All the berries in this arugula salad are bursting with antioxidants that fight cancer, aid in cell repair and taste heavenly.

Mayer lemon– Lemons can help lower blood sugar through their pectin.

more fresh recipes made with plants

Leafy Salad Recipes

Salad lovers unite over these decadent recipes. If you’re looking for new salad inspiration then I’ve got you covered. I like a beautiful plate, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in these recipes:

Don’t forget to let me know how you like my strawberry arugula salad below! It’s got many of my favorite fruits and veggies, so I hope you love it too.

Strawberry Arugula Salad

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Total Time10 minutes



  • 4 cups arugula
  • ½ fennel bulb (very thinly sliced)
  • 1 orange (peeled and segmented)
  • ½ cup strawberries (sliced)
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • ½ Mayer lemon (seeded and very thinly sliced)
  • ¼ cup sliced ​​almonds

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 2 . cashews (soaked for 1 to 4 hours)
  • 2 . Mayer lemon (juiced)
  • 1.5 test honey
  • ¼ test sea ​​salt
  • dash ground black pepper
  • 2 . olive oil
  • 1.5 test poppy seeds


  • Combine the cashews, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add a teaspoon of water if needed. Mix in poppy seeds and set aside.

  • In a separate bowl, combine the arugula, fennel, oranges, berries, lemon and almonds.

  • When ready to serve, drizzle dressing on top.


  • Store dressing in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Swap in whatever berries you have on hand.
  • Hemp hearts or sunflower seeds can be swapped in for almonds in the salad and for the cashews in the dressing.
  • Meyer lemons are less tart and much sweeter (and larger) than regular lemons. You can swap in regular lemons if you can’t find Meyer lemons, yet it will change the flavor of the salad and vinaigrette.

Nutrition (estimated)

Calories: 488kcal (24%) Carbohydrates: 41g (14%) Protein: 12g (24%) Fat: 35g (54%) Saturated Fat: 4g (25%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g Monnounsaturated Fat: 22g Trans Fat: 1g Sodium: 336mg (15th%) Potassium: 952mg (27%) Fiber: 12g (50%) Sugar: 20g (22%) Vitamin A: 1213IU (24%) Vitamin C: 89mg (108%) Calcium: 253mg (25%) Iron: 4mg (22%)


Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette – A Tangy + Brightly Sweet Salad Dressing

lemon vinaigrette

For me to choose salad over other options, it’s gotta be great. I don’t eat “dry” salad. It needs a dressing that ties all the ingredients together perfectly. So you better believe I perfected this lemon vinaigrette before sharing it with you! This lemon dressing pairs well with berry-filled salads as well as those with peppery arugula.

I’m talking a sweet, tangy punch of flavor that shines. This vinaigrette isn’t a silent dressing, it is the star.

fresh lemons for fresh lemon juice

Lemon Dressing Recipe

I’m not kidding when I say this recipe takes five minutes to make. Squeezing the lemon takes more time than blending up the ingredients.

lemon vinaigrette recipe

All you need to do for fresh salad dressing is measure the ingredients below into a blender or food processor, secure with a lid, then blend it up. Pour directly onto your salad or store in the fridge until you’re ready to us it.

Don’t have one of the ingredients listed? No problem! Swap honey for maple syrup, olive oil for avocado oil, cashews with soaked almonds or macadamia nuts.

Vinaigrette FAQs

What’s the difference between a dressing and a vinaigrette?

A vinaigrette needs something acidic and an oil, while dressing is a broader term. A vinaigrette is typically used as a marinade or salad topper.

What’s in a lemon vinaigrette?

My recipe has Meyer lemon juice, honey, soaked cashews, sea salt, black pepper, olive oil and poppy seeds. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.

How long does lemon vinaigrette stay fresh?

I recommend using this dressing within one week of mixing. The fresher, the better! And definitely give it a good shake before using.

ingredients for lemon dressing

Power Ingredient List

Fresh Meyer lemon juice– You can use a regular lemon, yet the sweetness and flavor of Meyer lemons in this vinaigrette are out of this world.

HoneyLocal, raw, seasonal honey provides great health benefits (think allergy help) as well as a unique flavor depending on the type of honey. Lemon dressing can be super tart, so honey helps keep the balance.

olive oil– Use high quality olive oil when making dressing because you’ll taste it. This is the time to break into that gorgeous bottle you were gifted. #worthit

Cashews– A unique dressing ingredient and thickens up this recipe perfectly.

Poppy seeds– Provide a delicious flavor, slight crunch and a host of antioxidants.

homemade dressing with poppy seeds

Fresh vs Store-Bought Dressing

Have you ever found it a bit weird just how long store-bought dressing can stay ‘fresh’ in your fridge? Once I learned how easy it was to make dressing at home, I all but stopped buying it from the store. It’s super easy to make, and you probably have the basic ingredients on hand already.

If you want to buy your vinaigrette from the store then READ YOUR LABELS. Don’t be fooled by the healthy photos and pretty jars and instead make sure you can pronounce and recognize all the ingredients on the label.

plant based salads

Seasonal Salad Recipes

I’ve got a host of delicious salad recipes coming your way! The next time you’re in the mood for a plate of fresh plants, try one of these great recipes:

Salad doesn’t have to be boring, nor does it have to be your whole meal. Load it up with flavor and crunch, pair it with your favorite plant-based meal and fall in love with salad.

lemon vinaigrette for salad

Lemon Vinaigrette

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This bright and fresh dressing was originally created for my Strawberry Arugula Salad, yet can be used in a variety of Spring salads. Be sure to use fresh squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor.

Total Time3 minutes



  • 2 . cashews (soaked for 1-4 hours)
  • 2 . Mayer lemon (juiced)
  • 1.5 test honey
  • ¼ test sea ​​salt
  • dash ground black pepper
  • 2 . olive oil
  • 1.5 test poppy seeds


  • Place cashews, Meyer lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add water if needed.

  • Mix in poppy seeds by hand. Refrigerate until ready to drizzle over salad.


  • This dressing is best when fresh, use within one week of mixing.
  • Swap honey with maple syrup to make this dressing vegan.
  • If Meyer lemons aren’t available then use regular lemons.
  • I created this dressing for my Strawberry Arugula Salad, yet you can use it on any salad!

Nutrition (estimated)

Calories: 211kcal (11%) Carbohydrates: 9g (3%) Protein: 2g (4%) Fat: 19g (29%) Saturated Fat: 3g (19%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Monnounsaturated Fat: 13g Sodium: 293mg (13%) Potassium: 106mg (3%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 5g (6%) Vitamin A: 3IU Vitamin C: 8mg (10%) Calcium: 41mg (4%) Iron: 1mg (6%)


Lemon Fat Bombs – A Gorgeous Snack Full of Healthy Fats

lemon fat bombs on a pink tray with cut and uncut lemons + mums surrounding it

These Lemon Fat Bombs are great for a great way to curb your appetite in between meals. They also help your digestive system and enhance mental clarity thanks to the hearty dose of healthy fats + protein. Plus, my lemon meltaways look gorgeous on a party platter!

I love watching YouTube videos where the babies have their first taste of lemon. It’s so funny to watch their faces! They either love it or hate it. As for me— I LOVE lemon! When I was pregnant with my son, I literally ate lemons like apples. I eventually had to stop because my dentist said I was ruining my tooth enamel.

Lemon meltaways on a pink tray

What are Lemon Fat Bombs?

Fat often gets a bad rap. Honestly, your body needs fat to thrive. Yet not all fat is the same. My lemon meltaways use fat from plants (cashews and coconuts) as well as a fresh lemon juice, a bit of maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt for an easy peasy snack. Eat a few of these for your next afternoon snack and feel your brain wake up.

No need for that afternoon caffeine fix, grab one of these instead!

Fat Bomb FAQs

Are fat bombs good for weight loss?

Purposely eating fat can sound scary. Yet our bodies NEED fat to function at our best. So if you’re trying to lose weight and you cut out all fat, you aren’t doing your body any good! Including healthy, whole food fats like the cashews and coconut oil in these lemon fat bombs is a great way to get good fat back into your diet.

Can you eat fat bombs for breakfast?

You can include these in your breakfast, especially if you’re only getting protein and carbs in but no fat. Starting the day off balanced is the best way to go.

How long do fat bombs last?

Store my lemon meltaways in the freezer for several months. Once they set the first time, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe container and grab whenever you want to!

easy healthy fat recipe

Why Lemon Fat Bombs Make a Great Snack

  1. A quick alternative to sour candy, especially since my lemon meltaways don’t give me a sugar crash!
  2. One little treat goes a lot way in satisfying the body as well as the tastebuds.
  3. These fat bombs help me hang onto my focus thanks to the healthy fats which are incredible for the brain.
  4. You can make a large batch ahead of time and store in the freezer until you’re ready to enjoy.

Is your mouth watering yet from this lemon fat bomb recipe? Then I have a feeling you’ll LOVE my new recipe book. Don’t miss out on the healthy and taste recipes in Simple Green Meals.

delicious plant based snacks

Easy Snack Recipes

Best Green Smoothie

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Homemade Hummus

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Avocado Caprese Salad

Chocolate Covered Banana Bites

Flaxseed Smoothie

Apple ‘Donuts’

Fruit Leather

Vanilla Protein Shake

Key Lime Popsicles

Overnight Oats

Now I gotta go run to the kitchen and grab a snack for myself! I love nourishing my body with healthy foods that taste amazing. Which one of these snacks sound like a winner to you? And don’t forget to rate + review my lemon fat bombs; they are truly my go-to!

lemon fat bombs

Lemon Fat Bombs

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These lemon fat bombs, or meltaways, make a great quick afternoon snack. I should warn you—you really have to like lemons to enjoy these tart treats.

Total Time1 hour 20 minutes

Servings12 cubes


  • 1⁄2 cup cashews (raw)
  • 2 . maple syrup
  • 2 . lemon juice (fresh, plus more to taste)
  • 1⁄2 cup coconut oil
  • Pinch sea ​​salt


  • Place a baking sheet lined with waxed paper in the freezer OR use silicone ice cube trays.

  • In a blender or food processor, blend or process the cashews until finely ground.

  • Add the maple syrup and lemon juice and pulse a few times.

  • Add the coconut oil and salt. Puree until smooth and creamy.

  • Drop 1⁄2 tablespoonfuls of the cashew mixture onto cold baking sheets or into silicone trays. Return the pan to the freezer. (Depending on the size of the baking sheet, you may have to make the lemon bombs in batches.)

  • When the drops are solid, peel them from the waxed paper (or pop out of the tray) and store in the freezer in an airtight freezer container.



  • Going keto? You can swap out the maple syrup for a dash of stevia.
  • Have fun with these! Use your fav silicone mold to shape them into fun shapes, especially if they will be party food.
  • If you want to use a high powered blender to make these, feel free to double or triple the batch.
  • Lemon meltaways can be kept in the freezer for several months.

Nutrition (estimated)

Serving: 3cubes Calories: 118kcal (6%) Carbohydrates: 4g (1%) Protein: 1g (2%) Fat: 11g (17%) Saturated Fat: 8g (50%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monnounsaturated Fat: 2g Sodium: 1mg Potassium: 46mg (1%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 2g (2%) Vitamin A: 1IU Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) Calcium: 6mg (1%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

Plant Based Recipes to Fuel Your Life

This recipe was originally created for my cookbook, Simple Green Meals. If you are trying to eat more plants then this is the cookbook for you! It’s full of easy recipes just like the lemon fat bombs with a variety of flavors to fit your preference. I’ve got you covered for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and more.