`Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce (Toum) - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce (Toum)

This garlic sauce is the epitome of Mediterranean and Lebanese cuisine -- a distillation of a few simple ingredients into an incredibly intense sauce. Perfect with grilled meats, or roasted veggies, this sauce has a ton of strong garlic flavor and a decidedly pungent kick, so be careful!
Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce (Toum)
Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce (Toum)
By Paul Kostandin
Dec. 2, 2020 12:23 UTC

Toum or Garlic Sauce is one of the most impor­tant sauces/dips in Mediterranean, and specif­i­cally Lebanese, cui­sine. Like Spanish or Italian aioli but with a lot more bite, this sauce is the per­fect accom­pa­ni­ment to so many dishes, but espe­cially grilled chicken like shawarma or kebab.

It is incred­i­bly gar­lic for­ward, and will absolutely stay with you for hours. But if you’re fine with smelling like vam­pire repel­lant for a while, the fla­vors this sauce imparts are breath­tak­ing, in large part to the spici­ness from the raw gar­lic.

While most aio­lis rely on egg prod­ucts, whether whole or just yolks to help build the emul­sion, toum is tra­di­tion­ally made from oil, gar­lic, lemon juice, and salt.

Throughout my test­ing, I’ve found that using a small amount of the water found in canned chick­peas you can help cre­ate a much more sta­ble emul­sion, while still keep­ing the dish vegan. This opaque, slightly earthy liq­uid is filled with long-chain starches that mimic the qual­i­ties of eggs added to may­on­naise or aioli.

Try exper­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent extra vir­gin olive oils when­ever you make this recipe and choose which one works best for you. I love to use a medium to full-bod­ied, spice-for­ward olive oil because I think it stands up well against the pun­gent gar­lic and lemon fla­vors, but I’ve always found that a lighter, del­i­cate oil makes a slightly less bit­ter sauce that is great for fish or veg­gies.


Garlic Sauce (Toum)

Course: Sauces, DipsCuisine: Mediterranean, LebaneseDifficulty: Medium


Prep time



This gar­lic sauce is the epit­ome of Mediterranean and Lebanese cui­sine — a dis­til­la­tion of a few sim­ple ingre­di­ents into an incred­i­bly intense sauce. Perfect with grilled meats, or roasted veg­gies, this sauce has a ton of strong gar­lic fla­vor and a decid­edly pun­gent kick, so be care­ful!


  • 12clovesgar­lic

  • 1/4cuplemon juice

  • 1/4cupchick­pea liq­uid

  • 2 cupsextra vir­gin olive oil

  • 2tspkosher salt

  • 1tspground black pep­per


  • In a food proces­sor or blender, com­bine the gar­lic, lemon juice, salt, pep­per, and chick­pea liq­uid. 
  • Mix the ingre­di­ents on medium speed until the gar­lic is pureed and the mix­ture is frothy. 
  • Begin to incor­po­rate the extra vir­gin olive oil by driz­zling it into the bowl or blender carafe while the machine is run­ning. Be patient and driz­zle very slowly to keep the emul­sion sta­ble. 
  • Once the oil has been com­pletely com­bined the mix­ture should be light and fluffy and resem­ble may­on­naise or aioli. 
  • Taste for sea­son­ing and adjust as nec­es­sary. 
  • Store the sauce for up to a week in an air­tight con­tainer in the refrig­er­a­tor.


  • I like to place a fun­nel filled with ice over the top of my food proces­sor and driz­zle the oil through the ice. This helps keep the oil as cold as pos­si­ble to ensure a sta­ble emul­sion. 

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