`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)
Dec. 2, 2020
Paul Kostandin

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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