Your Secret For Creamy, Mayo-Free Egg Salad Is Ricotta

If you grew up with egg salad, it's likely you think of this dish as being scooped into bowls for backyard barbecues or stuffed into quick and easy sandwiches. But now that we're adults, it's time to give egg salad a (slightly) gourmet upgrade. You may not think of this meal as something you'd munch on with your pinky in the air, but swapping in one key ingredient might change your mind.

Instead of adding mayo, use ricotta. It may sound odd to replace a condiment with cheese, but technically, ricotta isn't cheese at all (it's a byproduct of the cheesemaking process). A classic egg salad just needs the main ingredient, flavorings, and mayo for a creamy texture, and ricotta can fill the latter requirement in a heartbeat. It has a soft, airy consistency while still bringing creaminess, but it'll ultimately give your dish even more fluffiness than mayo does. Plus, it has a mild, fresh, slightly sweet flavor that will remain in the background among your other ingredients. Plus, if you're looking for a more nutritious option than mayonnaise, ricotta is low in salt and fat.

Keep your egg salad tangy sans mayo

In general, you can use about the same amount of ricotta as you would mayo. Go for whole milk ricotta if you want the thickest, creamiest dish possible, but skim or part-skim will also give you a smooth consistency that's just a little lighter. If an egg salad calls for four hard-boiled eggs, deploy between 3 and 4 tablespoons of your new ingredient. You can typically follow this ratio when replacing mayo in your favorite egg salad recipe, but always check to see if there's another creamy ingredient on the list. In our za'atar egg salad sandwich recipe, for instance, you'll find mayonnaise and labneh or Greek yogurt. If you plan on keeping the latter inclusion, scale back your ricotta usage by about half so that you don't make your dish too liquidy.

However, combining ricotta with a dairy product like Greek yogurt or labneh can have major benefits for your egg salad. Because this cheesy byproduct has a more straightforwardly mild flavor, you lose the tanginess that mayo normally brings. A plain yogurt can compensate here, or you can up the amount of apple cider or white balsamic vinegar you use. Or, in the case of our easy egg salad lettuce wraps, just dump in more diced dill pickles. If want to pile on even more flavor, add in some chopped pickled jalapeños or cherry peppers, and chow down with your pinky in the air.