A Recipe: Preserved Lemon & Mint Allioli

Preserved Lemon and Mint Allioli

Allioli.  Allioli. Allioli.   I love how the vowels and lulling Ls roll off the tongue – softly and whimsically – almost like a child’s nonsense word.  all-ee-oh-lee.  It’s a melodic sound.  Allioli is a Catalan version of classic aioli, and it differs fundamentally from Provençal aiolis in that it is made without egg yolk – offering just a combination of good quality olive oil, fragrant garlic and unrefined sea salt.

In this version of allioli, I’ve augmented the classic Catalan combination of olive oil, garic and salt with the bright flavors of preserved lemon and fresh mint.  This is a raw recipe – teeming with beneficial bacteria, vitamins and food enzymes.  Preserved lemon, a fermented food featuring prominently in North African cuisine, provides a lovely but well-tempered sourness to the allioli.  Preserved lemon, a combination of little more than lemon, unrefined sea salt and time, is extraordinarily rich in nutrients including vitamin C, food enzymes and beneficial bacteria.   The raw garlic provides a boost of additional vitamin C and can be a powerful antioxidant.   Olive oil features prominently in this sauce, so it’s essential to choose a very good quality unrefined oil.  A good olive oil should be fragrant, rich and bold.

preserved lemon & mint allioli

By Jenny Published: June 8, 2010

  • Yield: Approximately 1 pint
  • Prep: about 5 min

Thinned with a touch more olive oil, preserved lemon and mint allioli makes a fantastic and flavorful salad dressing. Alternatively, enjoy its fresh and bright flavors in a spread or as a dip. It is a perfect addition to the summer lunch table. I like this sauce served with fish and over grilled meats.


  • 1 preserved lemon (seeded and chopped fine)
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • dash unrefined sea salt
  • 1 cup unrefined extra virgin olive oil


  1. Combine chopped preserved lemon, peeled garlic cloves and chopped fresh mint into the basin of your food processor along with a dash unrefined sea salt.
  2. Pulse the ingredients together for a few seconds until they’re well-combined.
  3. Continue to process the ingredients while pouring the unrefined extra virgin olive oil into the mixture in a very thin stream until the allioli is well-emulsified and smooth.

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What people are saying

  1. Dan K says

    I thought that when you pulsed olive oil in a blender the olive oil becomes bitter. Was this a problem for you?

  2. Jenny says

    Dan –
    I’ve never experienced bitter or off-flavors from putting olive oil in a food processor – and I do it a lot for most of my dressings and mayonnaises. Traditionally, though, allioli would have been made by hand with a mortar and pestle.

  3. Jenny says

    Rhonda –
    With preserved lemon, you always eat the rind – it’s the best part! In this recipe, I used both rind and flesh.

  4. greenmama says

    thanks for the recipe! I’ve been looking for a new way to use my preserved lemons. What do you tend to serve this allioli with? Do you use it as a dip? A spread?

  5. mar says

    You made a catalan happy today! me:) I was starting to fear everyone else thinks olive oil is bitter or too strong for mayo or allioli. I think freshly made good quality olive oil isn’t necessarily strong. It can become too powerful if it has been extracted with too much pressure, or heated, etc during the delicate milling process.
    Sarah, using sunflower would be non-traditional and less healthy. Please find a great unfiltered oil and get ready to go to heaven 😉

  6. merce says

    how long does it last in the fridge? i guess long time as there is no egg and it is partially preserved
    would it make sense to make more than a pint?

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