Home From Erika's Kitchen Switch It Up: Mayo Is Out, Avocado Spread Is In!

Switch It Up: Mayo Is Out, Avocado Spread Is In!

by Erika Nicole Kendall

A few weeks ago, I told you guys to pick a condiment. You picked it, and then you wondered what the hell to do with your choice.

Some of you decided to venture out into making your own version of that condiment. How dope is that? If you did, send me a photo so I can show the rest of the #bgg2wlarmy (a term lovingly coined by @miss_hellion….I wonder how the @GoArmy team feels about that one, ha!) whatcha workin’ with!

Some of you just went out and found clean versions of your chosen condiment. This… is also great. The fewer the weird-stuff in your food, the better!

In fact, let’s look at some of the ones I’ve found:

Water, GMO soybean oil, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, modified food starch. The first five ingredients.

First of all, I hate to break it to y’all… but this stuff isn’t even mayonnaise. I know y’all are out here using it as “sandwich spread,” or even – God, help you – dressing for your macaroni and potato salads, but it’s not mayo. Look again – they don’t even call it mayonnaise on the label anymore! I’m just saying. It might be time to let this stuff go.

Besides. Look at the label, for goodness sakes.

chicken-tblt 021

It even compares itself to mayonnaise. Right there – across from the fat and cholesterol information. Whew.

Before you look at it and believe that it’s “still okay” just because the numbers appear to be low, remind yourself: are you seriously only using 1 tablespoon of the stuff? Or are you using at least 2 tablespoons per each slice of your bread for your sandwich? Be honest with yourself about that.

And then, think to yourself, that the first five of fourteen ingredients are “water, soybean oil, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, and modified food starch,” which is similar to cornstarch.

And then remember that mayonnaise has maybe 5 ingredients, unless you’re doing something fancy.

Okay. Enough berating of the “dressing.”

Here’s another mayonnaise.chicken-tblt 023

“[GMO] Soybean oil, water, whole eggs and egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, calcium disodium EDTA,” natural flavors.

Sigh. At least we’re a bit closer to what an actual mayonnaise recipe looks like. Let’s break this down a bit, shall we?

Mayo, typically, is a combination of egg, oil, salt.

Ain’t much more to it.

Egg and oil blended together carefully, slowly, creates an emulsion that results in a creamy, smooth and, yes, oily concoction that adds all kinds of texture to even the driest and most plain recipes. That’s why mayo goes wonderfully on whole wheat breads – I’m not even gon’ lie, the stuff has the texture of cardboard, sometimes – and is the dressing of choice for a good potato salad (unless you like ’em German?) or macaroni salad. I mean, the stuff is awesome… but it’s serious business. Add parsley to it (flat, not curly), black pepper, vinegar, chipotle, aleppo, lemon juice, oregano… whatever. Get fancy. Or don’t. Either way, it’s good stuff.

And it shouldn’t require 5 tablespoons for you to know its there, or for it to do its magic.

That explains the egg, oil – though this choice of oil is a fail… assume any appearance of soy in a processed food product is GMO – salt, lemon juice, vinegar… and we already know what that sugar is about. It’s always gotta have sugar.

But what’s that Calcium Disodium EDTA about?

According to What’s That Ingredient, Calcium Disodium EDTA is, “made from formaldehyde, sodium cayanide, and Ethylenediamine.”

According to Oregon State University’s Food Glossary,

Used in canned and carbonated soft drinks for flavor retention; in canned white potatoes and cooked canned clams for color retention; in crab meat to retard struvite (crystal) formation; in dressings as a preservative; in cooked and canned dried lima beans for color retention; in fermented malt beverages to prevent gushing; in mayonnaise and oleomargarine as a preservative; in processed dried pinto beans for color retention; and in sandwich spreads as a preservative. Used medically as a chelating agent to detoxify poisoning by lead and other heavy metals. May cause intestinal upsets, muscle cramps, kidney damage, and blood in urine.

Does it have a backstory? Melanie Warner has a guess:

“In 2006, the beverage industry acknowledged that when ascorbic acid and either sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate were combined in certain conditions, small amounts of benzene, a substance known to cause leukemia and other cancers, were formed. This occurred in products like Sunkist Grape and Orange sodas, Kool-Aid Jammers orange drink, Crystal Light Sunrise Classic Orange drink, and Giant Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail. The solution in many cases was the addition of another chemical that could blunt the formation of benzene– the preservative calcium disodium EDTA. Widely used in sauces and condiments, calcium disodium EDTA (the EDTA stands for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) has been shown to cause kidney damage in laboratory animals, and in sensitive individuals it can result in upset stomach and muscle cramps.”

Listen. I live in Brooklyn. I can get artisanal homemade hand-canned pickles and sausage if I cared. But when I go home to my mom in Indiana, chances are high that she’s got Miracle Whip in the fridge (no matter how much I fuss at her.)

What do I swap it out with?

My chipotle-garlic-avocado spread!

Avocados, man. Keep it simple. Seriously.

One whole peeled avocado

Take your super-ripe avocados, peel them, chop them into chunks, put them in a bowl. Take a fork – or potato masher, if you’ve got it – and start to mash your avocado. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on them, and give it a moment.

Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on the mixture as you’re whipping it; the citrus helps preserve the avocado. I’d say about a teaspoon or two for every whole avocado you’re working with.

Avocado Spread

Chop up some raw garlic into fine pieces. Throw it in there. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Beat it up, beat it up.


The consistency of your spread – meaning, whether it’s super thick or super thin – totally depends on you. I’d start with a tablespoon, and add more if that’s what you desire. If you’d prefer less? Keep that in mind for next time. More? Have at it! But remember; it’s a spread. Not soup.

Add a handful of finely-chopped cilantro. Or not. You can do what I did and add a half-teaspoon of ground chipotle. Or not. Even at this point, you’ve got something delicious that you can totally play with. Don’t be afraid!

Avocado spread on sourdough!

With my spread, since the grocery store had sourdough bread on sale, I snapped up a loaf and spread it all around. Eddy loves a good sandwich, so I started plotting.

The chicken and the (t)B for my (t)BLT!

I grabbed some turkey bacon, some thin-sliced chicken breasts, and rubbed them both down with a Mexican-inspired blend of cumin, chipotle, aleppo, smoked paprika and cilantro. My rub might’ve consisted of about a teaspoon of each. Cut up a couple of beefsteak tomatoes, a head of leafy green lettuce. Stacked it up.

Chicken (t)BLT

The end. Go eat.

You may also like


Eve April 11, 2013 - 11:23 AM

This sandwich looks amazing!! I died @ “beat it up. beat it up. ….Sorry.”

Erika Nicole Kendall April 11, 2013 - 11:29 AM

What can I say? I have my moments. LOL

Jacqueline Stallworth April 11, 2013 - 11:32 AM

I’m going to try that avocado spread… looks yummy!! I absolutely love your recipes. I have been cooking your brussel sprout recipe, and it is always GOOD. Thanks alot…

Elvira April 11, 2013 - 11:39 AM

That sandwich looks like what I need right now. I love avocados and I can certainly live with using it as a spread all the time but I wonder, does it keep well? I mean, how long will it last in the fridge?

Erika Nicole Kendall April 11, 2013 - 11:43 AM

Fresh, like this? Maybe 3 days tops. Citrus or not, it WILL start to turn. 1 avocado makes about enough to spread on 4 slices of sourdough like I had above, with just a little left over for taste testing… that is, if you taste test like I do.

Luckily for you, it keeps exceptionally well in the freezer. Thawing out takes a day or so in the fridge, so you’ll have to plan ahead for when you want to use it.

Erin April 11, 2013 - 11:44 AM

Ok, Erika. Sorry if I missed this somewhere before, but what in the world is aleppo?

Erika Nicole Kendall April 11, 2013 - 1:42 PM

LOL It’s a ground pepper! Whew, let me get to posting on these spices and herbs. Y’all are missing out out here!

Kitana April 11, 2013 - 11:46 AM

You know, I actually wrote a blog article like a few years ago about Miracle Whip vs. mayonnaise because I saw a commercial and it made me wonder. Mayo has to be like 70% oil to be classified as such and since the amount of oil Miracle Whip actually has is not known, it can’t call itself mayo. I used to love Miracle Whip anyway because mayo isn’t my thing, but I gave it up altogether when I found out that they started using HFCS.

Durkia April 11, 2013 - 12:55 PM

I absolutely L.O.V.E avocados! It’s my thing now since I have totally given up mayo. The thought of it just turns me off so much. But I have been in love with avocado mixed with a dab of Chobani plain greek yogurt to mix with my tuna. I think I have eaten this tuna mixture about 2-3 times a week in the last 30 days lol. I’m so down with these little green monsters!

Kris April 11, 2013 - 1:40 PM

This looks good but what about those foods like chicken salad or tuna salad? I spent at least 20 minutes one day reading all the mayonnaise labels trying to find a clean one.
I suspect your going to suggest Greek yogurt but is there a clean brand of mayo anywhere?

I guess I’ll have to start looking for a homemade mayonnaise recipe!

Erika Nicole Kendall April 11, 2013 - 1:41 PM

I actually make my chicken salad with greek yogurt, believe it or not. LOL

Crystal April 11, 2013 - 2:31 PM

I LOVE Greek yogurt in my chicken salad. I will never go back to mayo. And I love avocado so that’s easy for me to transition to an avocado spread.

I still do have mayo in the fridge, but that’s because I use it as part of a homemade deep conditioner for my hair (which, by the way is amazing).

Ruth April 11, 2013 - 3:23 PM

Kris, I’ve used avocado as a mayo substitute in tuna salad. (It was one of those, “who put this empty mayo jar back in the fridge?” situations.) It was pretty good–I threw in some kalamata olives and dried thyme for a more mediterranean flavor.

Kris April 12, 2013 - 8:14 AM

Thanks Ruth! I might try this. I love avocados but was a little weirded out by the thought of green tuna salad or chicken salad but it would probably taste really good.

I’m going to try with Greek yogurt too. I actually have a yogurt maker (its very easy to make homemade yogurt even without one) and by straining it with cheesecloth I can make plain organic Greek yogurt with no fillers. Gonna try it this weekend!

Good post!

scarlet April 11, 2013 - 1:53 PM

This is great advice. I’d also point out that mayonnaise is easy to make at home from quality eggs and olive oil. My husband used to buy the “olive oil” mayonnaise at the grocery store until we read the ingredients and realized it was made mostly from soybean oil as well.

Now, if we want mayo, we make it at home. Avocado sounds like it would be a yummy substitute though.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 11, 2013 - 9:58 PM

We’ve made it, too, but damn if it doesn’t last worth squat! I swear…3-4 days and it’s toast!

Tee April 11, 2013 - 4:57 PM

I am also an avid tuna/chicken salad eater. Recently I purchased the organic spectrum brand of mayo from Whole foods. I think it is good.

It is pricy though. A jar as big as Hellmans was 11.79

Kris April 12, 2013 - 8:21 AM

Ooh! Thank you! I was checking out the list of ingredients and it doesn’t look too bad!

I’m still going to try the yogurt and avocado but nice to know there is an option.

Sonya April 11, 2013 - 5:32 PM

I have a question. I really, really, really enjoy mayo. I don’t have to have on or in everything, except for my burger. I’m not so fond of ranch (otherwise I could find an organic version and use it.) Avacado isn’t an option for me (due to an allergy.) What’s a girl to do? I mix it with my BBQ sauce when I grill (an old trick from granny.) Thank you! 🙂

Erika Nicole Kendall April 11, 2013 - 9:56 PM

Honestly, I would probably stick to spicing 0%, 2% or even full fat greek yogurt. I’m a fan of doing this because its an opportunity to add in some extra protein. I should probably blog about that, too.

Julie April 11, 2013 - 5:53 PM

Erika, is turkey bacon clean food? What kind/brand did you use? If there is a clean version of turkey bacon, I want to buy it.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 11, 2013 - 9:52 PM

It can be. I blogged about it here.

FelicityR April 11, 2013 - 7:28 PM


So, I’m definitely going to make this spread. I love avocado, but I’ve always been scared to make something with it myself. This certainly seems simple enough.

I have a question, though… Would it be silly of me to try to make mayo myself? Like, if I tried to mix some oil, eggs and salt in a bowl? Is that even possible? How would I store it? lol

Erika Nicole Kendall April 11, 2013 - 9:51 PM

I’m gonna post about it. Both me and the hubs tried to make mayo… only one of us came out successful.

And I was pretty pissed about the almost carton of eggs that we wasted. ROFL

Stacey April 11, 2013 - 9:10 PM

That sandwich is giving me life right now!!

I like hummus as a sandwich spread.My fav is the chipotle pepper one from Trader Joes. I also use it in egg salad. For tuna I like sour cream. Gonna have to try greek yogurt,

Ceej April 14, 2013 - 6:13 PM

I hate mayo and miracle whip too. But avocados make my stomach turn. Yet nearly every clean/healthy recipe insists avocado is a great alternative. But there another option for those of us who HATE that green fruit? (I feel the same way about peanut butter… I think it’s a texture thing.)

Erika Nicole Kendall April 14, 2013 - 10:15 PM

How is it a texture thing? LOL You like greek yogurt but not avocado? Girl, if anything, greek yogurt gives me the heebie jeebies more than anything!

AND even with those hebie jeebies, I STILL eat it! Mama’s gonna need you to let that hatred go, and embrace that lovely green thing. 😉

JazzFest July 24, 2013 - 1:51 PM

It looks delicious!!!

tootsiecooksweet October 1, 2013 - 8:00 PM

I have to try that ur way.

Sydney December 15, 2014 - 5:02 PM

So surprised at how great avocado tastes as a replacement to mayo! I am in love!! I always wanted to try it but never did. I diced some onions and threw them in mines. Ahhhhhhhh… so good!!!! But I wanted to ask you what kind of bread are you using here in this post?

Erika Nicole Kendall December 16, 2014 - 2:08 PM

Sourdough from a local bakery out here!

sandra creech June 9, 2015 - 12:11 AM

try this ladies, i found this recipe on facebook and had to try it, it is delicious, 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cooked), 1 ripe avocado (mashed or pureed) 1/4 onion, (chopped), juice of 1/2 a lime, 2 TBLS cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, mix it all together and you have NO MAYO…AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD, IT’S DELICIOUS!!!!

Marilyn July 20, 2015 - 12:36 PM

I quit using mayo and miracle whip in favor of greek yougurt flavored w/ mint and dill.

S.Johnson January 23, 2017 - 12:23 PM

Will give this a try this week.

Leslie March 3, 2017 - 3:13 PM

How long does whipped avacado spread last in the fridge?

Erika Nicole Kendall March 3, 2017 - 3:36 PM

Not very, maybe a couple of days max.

It’s worth noting, however, that mayonnaise—when it’s made properly and without a bunch of fillers and preservatives—lasts about the same, too.

Leslie March 3, 2017 - 3:19 PM

What about subbing hummus?

Erika Nicole Kendall March 3, 2017 - 4:01 PM

Also doable! Hummus and falafel is a thing for a reason!

Comments are closed.