Alternatives to Mayo

Do you love mayo? I do! I can distinctly remember the first time I tasted Hellman's. I swooned. (I grew up with Miracle Whip. Too sweet and just not the same!)

Yes, mayonnaise is fantastic. Delicious, creamy, rich. But also very heavy and fatty. Sometimes you want that fattiness. But sometimes you want something lighter, or spicier, or just different.

If you're making a salad--like tuna or chicken salad--a great substitute for mayo is cream cheese. I always use cream cheese with tuna, but it's great with salmon, chicken, ham, and turkey, too. Cream cheese is rich and even thicker than mayo, and it adds a creaminess for way less calories and fat. You can mix cream cheese and mayo together for the best of both worlds.

If you're making coleslaw or potato salad, you can substitute yogurt or sour cream for mayo. I like to do a ratio of 50/50. Half mayo and half whole milk yogurt is my go-to blend. This combo is still rich and thick, totally yummy, but less fatty and caloric. Need more richness? Go for sour cream or Greek yogurt instead.

How about sandwich spreads? Here's where you can really get creative!

Instead of mayo on the bread, try something totally out of the box. If your sandwich ingredients are mild and neutral in flavor--like turkey breast, say--you can take your sandwich in many different directions. Here are a few of my favorites:

* tart jams like sour cherry and blackcurrant;
* Dijon mustard--or any specialty mustard;
* hummus--in any flavor you like;
* pesto--basil, mint, cilantro, arugula, parsley, or your own variation;
* nut butters--almond, pecan, sunflower seed, walnut, whatever floats your boat;
* goat cheese or feta cheese spread;
* mashed avocado or guacamole.

Do you have more ideas for fabulous spreads or condiments to add to your dishes in place of the usual mayo? Please share!