Once upon a time, mayonnaise was the sole contender for binding together a batch of creamy egg salad. Today we have options -- all it takes to pull together a mayo-free egg salad is thinking outside of the jar.
Without a dressing of some sort, chopped eggs are dry, crumbly bits -- the creaminess derived from a binder, such as mayonnaise, transforms them into the soft, palatable salad that’s the highlight of many a classic sandwich. Try other creamy condiments such as ricotta or yogurt or both together -- use Greek-style yogurt for a richer mouthfeel and less tangy hit of flavor. Or substitute cottage cheese or hummus, the latter is a good option if you want a non-dairy binder. These alternatives will do the trick when it comes to keeping the salad together, and each imparts its own flavorful twist without overwhelming the eggy flavor.
Mashed avocadoes are another ideal choice, as they have the same quiet appeal of eggs and play nicely with the smoothness of the yolks and the chunkiness of the egg whites. An olive tapenade or chimichurri would also do the trick, keeping the eggs together while also providing a radically different, flavorful twist -- thin either out with olive oil so they add flavor without overwhelming the egg salad and loosing the essential egginess.
Who Needs Dairy? Go Vinaigrette Instead
A good vinaigrette is a ideal option for those wishing to go dairy and mayo-free with their egg salad -- or for those just looking to mix things up! Olive oil is a natural choice for a vinaigrette but try using hazelnut or walnut oils which both impart a mild sweetness but are not so strongly flavored to detract from other ingredients. Experiment with different vinegars and condiments such as mustard or horseradish cream to establish your preferred egg salad vinaigrette. Let citrus juice step in for the vinegar or add a splash to brighten the dressing. Another test kitchen trick is to grate some yolk into the vinaigrette for an eggy boost in flavor and a richness in texture.