Thanksgiving is almost here, which means the day after Thanksgiving is almost here, which means you’re that much closer to the very best part of the whole holiday: leftover turkey sandwiches! Thoughts of Thanksgiving dinner might make your mouth water, but even more delectable is that tried-and-true combo of turkey and sliced bread with a little (or if it’s me, a whole lot of) mayonnaise.
I’m already a huge fan of mayo, but did you know you can make that sandwich even more flavorful by swapping in mayo’s fancy cousin, aioli? At restaurants these days, it seems like you can’t throw a frite without hitting a little metal container of aioli, and so I’ve had my fair share. But, I didn’t know until recently that the difference between mayo and aioli is that aioli, while essentially a garlicky mayo, has Mediterranean roots and is officially made with both garlic and olive oil.
Jacques Pépin Collection Double-Handle Rooster Bowl, $13.96 at Sur La Table
Bring it to the table in this cute bowl.
If you’re unfamiliar with aioli, you should get started with our Basic Aioli recipe. And if you are saving your first encounter with aioli for the day-after Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, well then I truly envy you: I should’ve waited for such a special occasion!
For a shortcut in aioli creation, try this recipe that uses store-bought mayonnaise—except if you want to appease your persnickety friends, make sure you use mayonnaise made from olive oil. Or, just don’t tell them, and then if they question you further, act like you didn’t hear them. Your secret is safe with me!
If you’re looking for a deeper, roast-ier garlic flavor, try our Roasted Garlic Aioli recipe. You will be putting in extra oven time to roast your garlic to perfection, but if you love garlic like I do, it will be worth it to experience the joy of an utterly garlicky sandwich dressing.
Sweet paprika is a simple addition to the basic components of aioli. With our Sweet Paprika Aioli recipe, you are remedying the only problem I can see with the Thanksgiving-turkey-and-aioli sandwich: lack of color. Dress that sammy with a pop of orangey-pink, and if you are interested in smokier flavors, try substituting smoked paprika instead of sweet.
In our Fall Herb Aioli recipe, sage and thyme add an autumnal element, perfect for tying together your Thanksgiving leftovers. This is the aioli that begs turkey to bring its buddies, cranberry sauce and slice-of-sweet-potato, to join the party between two pieces of bread.
If your Thanksgiving turkey was actually a Thanksgiving Tofurky, then you’ll not be wanting mayo or egg ingredients on your day-after sandwich. This is where marvelous aquafaba comes to the rescue! Instead of egg, this recipe uses chickpea water for its egg-like properties to give you a completely vegan version of aioli.
Usually the go-to flavors for accompanying fish, lemon and dill add tangy brightness to your sandwich dressing in this recipe. Unlike the other recipes, this one calls for avocado oil, and so, yes, it is missing the olive oil requirement of true aiolis. Should you find yourself amongst aioli dogmatists while you are eating or serving this recipe, I suggest quietly coughing the word “aioli” when describing the “lemon-dill aioli sauce” and emphasizing the word “sauce.” That oughta do it.
For a little spice on your sandwich, try this recipe which uses chipotle in adobo sauce. While the lack of olive oil prevents this from being a bonafide aioli, the use of mild-tasting vegetable oil actually helps highlight the smoky chipotle flavor.
If you try our Calabrian Chile Aioli recipe, you may want to swap olive oil in for the canola oil—this way you can lean into the chiles’ Italian roots and keep this aioli true to its Mediterranean heritage. These peppers will give your sandwich a slightly fruitier spice.
For the final recipe in this aioli round-up, we’re back to the store-bought mayonnaise shortcut; though, as mentioned before, you can purchase a fancier version made from olive oil. This recipe, born of the serendipitous action of combining chimichurri and mayo, will add tanginess and a little spice to your turkey sandwich. And if you’re genetically wired to dislike cilantro, then the other aforementioned aiolis will have to be your guiding light for taking the post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich to the next level…even if you should arrive at that level very full from the day before and completely out of breath.
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Related video: How to Make Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers
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