Grand Aioli is my idea of a perfect party dinner. Four different kinds of Aioli, one of them vegan, are served with a stunning spread of different vegetables and protein for dipping. Easy to prepare ahead of time and guaranteed to please everyone, this is one of my favourite dishes to serve, when I want both an impressive and healthy spread. Vegan version included.
Why You Want to Make This
I know it looks like it’s a lot of effort, but it really isn’t. The 4 types of Aioli take a maximum of 5 minutes each. There is a bit of vegetable chopping, but since you want them large enough to dip comfortably, that’s quickly done. Some roasting, boiling and quick steaming of some of the ingredients and you are ready to assemble. You could buy ready cooked prawns or scampi, if you wanted to skip the extra step of frying them briefly.
Can be Prepared in Advance
Most of the ingredients for Grand Aioli can be prepared well in advance. The different aioli keep well in the fridge for several days. Pre-chop the veggies, so you only have to stem or boil them quickly on the day. The eggs can be cooked the day before too. I tend to keep each ingredient in its own container in the fridge, so they keep the perfect flavour.
Always wondering what to serve the vegans and non-vegans, without preparing two different meals? This is it. There is plenty of variety for both here. The Green Cashew Aioli is so delicious, even the non-vegans will want their share. If you’ want to make all the sauces vegan, use a larger quantity of the cashew base without herbs, then divide and mix different flavourings into it.
During my weight loss journey, which lasted nearly a year, I was looking for feasts that would not throw me back in my progress. This is one of them. With all the fibre from vegetables, protein from prawns and eggs and healthy carbs from the boiled potatoes, you have a pretty balanced meal that is surprisingly low in calories. Depending on how much aioli you spread on said veg of course. But if you use the cashew aioli as base, even that gives you fibre, protein, and healthy fats.
The Four Types of Aioli
I made four different kinds of Aioli for this Grand Aioli, though theoretically you could also use my Black Garlic Aioli. It would be delicious for sure.
Traditional would be just the classic version, but I do love variety in my dips and can never decide on just one.
Classic Aioli – This is the very classic base version, made with egg, oil a bit of lemon juice, mustard and, of course, garlic
Chili Aioli – By simply adding a little bit of Sriracha, chili powder and maple syrup to the basic version, we have made a Chili Aioli, for the lovers of spicy food.
Green Aioli with Greek Yoghurt – For a slightly lighter and fresher version, the basic Aioli gets mixed with 0% fat Greek yoghurt and loads of fresh herbs. Tons of flavour, less fat.
Green Cashew Aioli – The vegan version. But don’t be fooled, this is no less delicious than the original. I would even say it’s my favourite out of all of them. Still super creamy, lots of flavour from garlic and herbs, I’m completely hooked!
This depends a lot on you: What vegetables do you like for dipping? You can get very creative here. Just don’t leave out the potatoes, as they might be the best of all with any of the Aioli.
Use fresh and good quality new or baby potatoes, for their size and creamy, nutty flavour.
Broccoli and asparagus are lovely for their green crunchiness, so are green beans.
I used some squash, since I found some small and pretty ones. Hokkaido was my favourite of them, as it has a particular sweet and nutty flavour when roasted, that I adore.
Fresh carrots, mini sweetcorn, mini peppers, cherry tomatoes, and radishes can never go amiss. If you can find it, radicchio would be lovely for the bitterness and colour it brings to the table. Unfortunately it is very hard to find in Ireland.
For protein, boiled eggs and prawns or scampi are typically served. But if you have more meat eaters in the crowd, some sliced roast beef might be nice too. Or grilled chicken breast pieces.
Lemons, both for garnish and squeezing over last minute. And some Maldon salt for sprinkling.
On the Aioli front, being at the heart of a Grand Aioli, it will depend which ones you decide to make.
The classic version is made mainly with eggs, oil, mustard, lemon juice and garlic.
For the Chili version use Sriracha or any chili sauce you enjoy, chili powder, lime juice and cilantro.
Fresh herbs and 0% fat Greek yoghurt for the lighter green version.
The Cashew Aioli is, as the name says, based on cashews which get soaked in water and then blended with water, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, dates (I know this sounds weird, but trust me, it’s delicious) and lots of fresh herbs.
Prepare the Aioli first since you can leave them in the fridge for the flavours to meld while you prepare the veggies and proteins.
My personal trick to perfect mayonnaise, leading to perfect Aioli is, to use a stick blender.
Using a slim jar or container that just fits the stick blenders head with very little room to spare on the sides, you add your egg, mustard, and lemon juice at the bottom, then top it with all of the oil. Gently lower your blender head, equipped with the whisking disc, all the way down, so it covers the egg. Switch it on at full speed and do not move it for a few seconds. You will see mayonnaise forming right away at the bottom. Keep it still until the white mass doesn’t expand upwards further, then gently tip your blender into a diagonal, and very slowly move it upwards.
This method will do the same as you would do by hand: Incorporate the oil in a thin stream, by creating a vortex that pulls it slowly into the egg, emulsifying it in the process. The trick lies in the waiting time before moving the blender, to give it enough time to pull in the oil until it reaches no more. Once you’ve pulled it all the way up, most of the oil will be incorporated and you will have a firm and very stable mayonnaise.
Mash your garlic, chop your herbs roughly and add all of them with some salt and pepper to your mayonnaise. Blend again with the pureeing attachment, to create a smooth and delicious Aioli.
Due to the specific jar requirement, you’ll have to make one portion at a time. If you’d rather make the whole batch at once, you could use a food processor or blender and slowly drizzle the oil in, to emulsify the mayonnaise.
Variations of Aioli
I made 3 batches of this basic Aioli, then mixed the chili sauce and maple syrup into one, finely chopped herbs and Greek yoghurt into the next and left one as it was.
The Green Cashew Aioli is even easier: Soak the cashews in just boiled water for about 30min. Drain, then add to a high speed blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until super smooth and creamy. I’m using my Nutribullet for this. You could use the zest of the lemon as I did here, but I found it tastes lovely with just the juice, so I left the step out in the recipe.
This is one of the recipes that, yes, in theory you could make in a normal blender or food processor, but it will never be as satisfyingly smooth as in the high speed version. So if you, like me back in time, wonder why on earth anyone would eat a grainy cashew sauce, the lack of high speed is the reason.
Things to Dip
Prepare the Veggies for the Grand Aioli
Depending on what veggies you are using for dipping, cut them into easy dippable pieces.
Leave the potatoes whole, especially if you got baby potatoes.
The squash was halved, deseeded with a spoon, and sliced into wedges, drizzled with a little olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted on a baking tray until the edges started to brown and caramelize. About 25min at 400°F/200°C.
Boil the potatoes for about 20-25 minutes until you can easily pierce them with a sharp knife.
The eggs are boiled for about 7-8 minutes, for that waxy perfection.
Clean tender stem broccoli, asparagus, and beans, leaving them whole, but cutting off any dry ends. Steam the broccoli for 3-4 minutes, until slightly tender but crunchy. The Asparagus gets 5-10 minutes in the steam, depending on the thickness of your spears. You’ll want them tender but with bite. The beans can be cooked or steamed for about 5-10 minutes, until tender-crisp.
If using mini sweetcorn, it is also great steamed for 5-6 minutes.
Prepare the Protein
If using ready cooked prawns, you don’t need to do anything to them. I used raw and briefly pan fried them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, until they were opaque and no rawness showing in the middle anymore. This just takes a few minutes.
Now it’s time to serve. Peel your eggs. Divide the Aioli into smaller serving bowls, so everyone at the table can reach them easily.
Arrange potatoes, eggs, prawn and vegetables on a big board or plate, sprinkle over a bit of Maldon salt and squeeze over some lemon. Top with lemon wedges and dig into your Grand Aioli!
Most parts of this meal can be prepared ahead of time as described above. If you do so, keep each part in a separate container in your fridge.
The Aioli will last for about 2-3 days covered in the fridge. The Cashew Aioli up to 5 days, as it doesn’t contain raw egg.
There will most likely be leftovers in form of aioli, which are amazing on sandwich, vegetables of course and any meat you might have. Cold or hot, it’s a pretty universal dip.
Looking for different festive dinner ideas?
Vegetarian Mezze Feast
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?
If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.
- Stick blender, high speed blender
- 3 eggs very fresh
- 2 ¼ cups neutral oil such as grapeseed
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 9 fresh garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt or more to taste
- 1 tbsp Sriracha or another chili sauce you enjoy. More or less to taste.
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/8 tsp ancho chili powder or more to taste
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
Green Herb Aioli
- ½ cup 0% fat Greek yoghurt
- 4 tbsp mixed soft herbs like dill parsley and basil, chopped
- 1 cup cashews soaked in just boiled water for 30min
- 2 dates destoned
- 4-6 tbsp fresh soft herbs like parsley basil and dill, roughly torn
- 3 cloves fresh garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp liquid aminos or Tamari or soy sauce. Liquid Aminos are slightly sweeter so you might have to adjust the seasoning if you are using one of the other options
- ½-1 cup water start with ½, add more after blending if the aioli is too thick. If you keep it in the fridge, it will thicken more
- Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetables for dipping
- 1 lb baby or new potatoes
- 1-2 Hokkaido or similar squashes depending on size
- 1-2 packs tender stem broccoli I used 2 small packs
- 1 pack green beans about 300g
- 1-2 bunches of Asparagus depending on size
- 2 packs mini sweetcorn
- 1 romaine lettuce heart
- 1 pack radishes
- 1 pack cherry tomatoes
- ½ lb carrots
- 1 pack mini peppers halved and deseeded
- 2 packs large prawns or scampi ready cooked or raw (fry them if you got raw ones)
- 8 eggs for boiling use more if you have more than 8 people
- Start by preparing the Aioli as it benefits from some time in the fridge for the flavours to meld.
- Use a stick blender for a foolproof method. In a slim jar, add eggs, mustard, and lemon juice (lime juice for one batch for the chili version) at the bottom, then pour in all the oil.
- Lower the blender head equipped with the whisking disc, covering the egg. Switch on at full speed, keeping it still for a few seconds until mayonnaise forms.
- Tilt the blender diagonally and slowly move it upwards, allowing the vortex to pull in the oil. This method creates a stable mayonnaise.
- Mash the garlic and add it with salt to the mayonnaise. Blend again to create a smooth Aioli. Taste and add more salt ort lemon juice to taste.
- Do this in 3 batches, since a jar slim enough to fit your blender will likely only hold one batch of Aioli. Use lime juice instead of lemon in one portion for the chili sauce.
- Customize one with chili sauce and maple syrup, another with finely chopped herbs and Greek yogurt, and leave one as it is.
- Soak cashews in just-boiled water for 30 minutes. Drain and add to a high-speed blender with other ingredients.
- Blend until super smooth and creamy. High-speed blending ensures a satisfyingly smooth texture.
Things to Dip:
- Cut veggies into easy dippable pieces. Leave potatoes whole, especially if using baby potatoes.
- Halve and deseed squash, slice into wedges, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 400°F/200°C for about 25 minutes.
- Boil potatoes for 20-25 minutes until easily pierced with a sharp knife.
- Boil eggs for 7-8 minutes for waxy perfection.
- Clean tender stem broccoli, asparagus, and beans, leaving them whole. Steam broccoli for 3-4 minutes, asparagus for 5-10 minutes, and beans for 5-10 minutes until tender-crisp.
- Steam mini sweetcorn for 5-6 minutes if using.
- If using ready-cooked prawns, no preparation is needed. If raw, pan-fry briefly with olive oil, salt, and pepper until opaque and cooked through.
- Peel eggs, slice in half lengthways, and divide Aioli into smaller serving bowls.
- Arrange potatoes, eggs, prawns, and vegetables on a large board or plate.
- Sprinkle with Maldon salt, squeeze over some lemon, and top with lemon wedges.
- Serve and enjoy the Grand Aioli feast!