If you must know...
Although we love the flavor of thick, creamy egg salad (made with full-fat mayonnaise) just like Grandma's recipe, there are some occasions where you may need to make a few swaps. One serving of egg salad can run you anywhere from 200-300 calories, and swapping in low-fat mayo can save you 50-100. If you're looking for a lighter version of this classic Southern dish or, you're one of the rare Southerners who can't stand mayonnaise – you don't necessarily have to compromise on a flavorful, silky texture. Here are five substitutes that will yield a tasty, mayo-free egg salad for your next sandwich.
Most health food bloggers tend to turn to Greek yogurt as their first swap for mayonnaise or sour cream, with good reason. Greek yogurt has a ton of benefits; healthy fats replace oily ones and protein fills you up longer. However, unlike mayo, greek yogurt has a tang that will affect the taste of your egg salad. If you aren't up for making the full 1-1 swap, try using half mayonnaise and half Greek yogurt in your egg salad. If you do want to use the full amount of Greek yogurt, season it with a bit of salt and pepper, and add a little more mustard to your egg salad. Add the Greek yogurt bit by bit so that you can moderate the taste as you go. On the food safety side, make sure that you have a cooler ready when picking a dairy alternative if you're taking your salad to go.
With Ricotta Cheese
Never thought about adding ricotta to egg salad? This fluffy cheese might be your new favorite ingredient. Ricotta cheese is made from the leftover whey of other cheeses, so it's a little softer than most. While it may not be thick enough to be a full 1-1 swap for mayo in your recipe, you could use half mayonnaise and half ricotta – or half Greek yogurt and half ricotta – along with a few seasonings to give your egg salad some pizzazz. If you want to lower the fat further, some home cooks opt for cottage cheese, instead – it has less calories than ricotta and yields a similar result. Again, make sure to add the cheese in spoonfuls, so that you don't accidentally skip over your desired texture.
While avocado is not this Southerner's swap of choice, there are a handful of folks who swear by the recipe. Avocados are full of healthy fats, so you get the creamy factor in your egg salad without the oil of mayonnaise. Yes, it'll turn your egg salad green, but if you have a table of adventurous eaters, avocado and fresh herbs is an elegant way to dress up your tea sandwiches. Add in a whole mashed avocado for every 6-or-so boiled eggs, and throw in a little Dijon mustard, fresh chives or dill, and cracked black pepper for depth. If your egg salad needs a little more liquid, try a squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of olive oil.
You may also be interested in this Buttermilk-Herb Egg Salad Sandwich:
Who would've thought? If you're a lover of hummus, you'll be thrilled with this simple swap for mayonnaise. Hummus is typically made with ground chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame paste), lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. It's a thicker binding agent that will keep your egg salad hearty and spreadable, and it's incredibly flavorful. If the hummus by itself is too thick or dry for your taste, add an extra teaspoon of tahini or a drizzle of olive oil to balance out the texture. This is a great egg salad for dipping; try red peppers, your favorite crackers, carrots, celery, or baguette slices.
If you're really looking to turn the tables on egg salad, Martha Stewart has a twist for you – take out that binding agent altogether and replace it with your favorite vinagrette. You can make your own, of course, with oils like avocado, walnut, or hazelnut (milder flavors), then cut the oil with an acidity like red wine vinegar or lemon juice. Add in your seasonings, some garlic, and some fresh herbs to make your egg salad flavorful, and whisk in some mustard. With this version, your egg salad won't stick together well – so use it if you're planning on topping a leafy salad or making crostini.