Learn how to make garlic confit, a simple yet versatile vegan condiment, with just three ingredients. It’s so rich and buttery, you’ll want to put it on everything!
Garlic confit, made with just olive oil, garlic, and thyme, is a rich and buttery condiment. It’s surprisingly vegan and adds a luxurious touch to various dishes. This simple yet versatile spread transforms the sharp, intense flavor of raw garlic into a soft, mellow taste, perfect for enhancing a wide range of recipes.
The slow-cooking process in olive oil not only softens the garlic cloves but also infuses the oil with a deep garlic flavor, making it a valuable ingredient in its own right. Whether spread on bread, stirred into pasta, or used as a base for sauces, this softened garlic cloves recipe is an easy way to elevate ordinary dishes.
What Is Garlic Confit?
Garlic confit involves a technique where whole cloves of garlic are gently simmered in olive oil at low temperatures. This method alters the garlic’s texture, resulting in a tender, spreadable consistency.
Unlike its raw counterpart known for its intense sharpness, confit garlic acquires a sweet, subtly rich profile. The olive oil itself also undergoes a transformation, absorbing the essence of garlic, becoming a flavorful component for an array of dishes. This process, while straightforward, imparts a complexity of flavor to the garlic, making it an exceptional ingredient for both simple and elaborate vegan dishes.
Garlic Confit For Vegan Dishes
Make this vegan spread to use in a variety of dishes like:
- alfredo sauce
- pasta dishes
- creamy sauces
- chickpea fries
- vegan aioli
- … this mushroom toast recipe!
Garlic Confit: Key Ingredients Explained
The key ingredients for garlic confit are simple by themselves, but create complex flavors when combined and simmered on the stovetop over low heat. Let’s go over the components to make this vegan garlic spread!
Garlic: In the confit process, garlic cloves lose their sharpness and pungency. Slowly cooked in olive oil, they caramelize, becoming soft with a subtly sweet flavor, distinct from raw garlic. For the best results, choose fresh, firm garlic cloves, larger ones if possible, for ease of handling and consistent flavor.
Olive Oil: It’s both a cooking medium and a preservative in garlic confit. The oil gently cooks the garlic, absorbing its flavors, and extends the shelf life when stored in the refrigerator. Extra-virgin olive oil is recommended for its quality and depth of flavor, though other types of olive oil can also be used.
Thyme: This herb adds earthy and floral notes, enhancing the garlic confit’s complexity. You can also experiment with other seasonings like bay leaves for warmth or peppercorns for spice. Rosemary and chili flakes are other good options for variety.
How To Make This Vegan Garlic Confit Recipe
Making this recipe is pretty straightforward, and most of the time doesn’t require much work on your end. Let’s go through the process, from prepping the garlic to toasting sourdough and spreading it with the confit.
Step One: Peel The Garlic
There are several ways to make peeling a lot of garlic easier. I love the shaking method but feel free to try any of the options below.
- Shaking in a Steel Bowl: Place garlic cloves in a large steel prep bowl, cover with another bowl to create a dome, and shake vigorously. This method loosens the skins, popping many cloves out and making the rest easier to peel.
- Crushing with a Knife: Lay the flat side of a knife on a garlic clove and press down firmly. The skin will crack, making it easier to peel away.
- Using a Silicone Garlic Peeler: Use a silicone garlic roller, a tool specifically designed for peeling garlic. Simply place cloves inside the tube, press down lightly, and roll. The skin comes off easily, leaving you with perfectly peeled cloves.
Step Two: Simmer The Ingredients
Combine the garlic, olive oil, and thyme in a medium-sized saucepan. Gently simmer the mixture over low heat for two hours, looking for small bubbles to indicate the right temperature. Avoid rushing the process; slow cooking is key to softening the garlic and enhancing its flavor without browning or burning. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Optional Step: Roasting Mushrooms And Assembling The Toast
If you’re making mushroom toast, roast mushrooms while the garlic confit simmers. Toss the mushrooms in a bit of olive oil and roast at 425°F for about 30 minutes, turning them once halfway through. They’re ready when they’re nicely colored around the edges yet still juicy in the center.
After preparing the components, begin assembling your toast. First, slice and lightly toast two thick pieces of sourdough bread in olive oil. Then, top each slice with softened garlic cloves and roughly chopped roasted mushrooms.
Garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Finish with a generous sprinkle of flaky sea salt, crucial for enhancing the garlic’s sweetness and the mushroom’s umami flavor.
Garlic Confit Uses
The ways to use this garlic confit are endless, but these are a few great ways to start! Be sure to add a few pinches of flaky sea salt. It amplifies and balances out all of the flavors in the garlic.
- Spread on Bread: Mash and use it as a spread for toasted bread or baguettes. It offers a creamy, mellow garlic flavor that’s less intense than raw garlic, making it a perfect pairing for a simple, savory snack or appetizer.
- Hummus: Blend it into your homemade hummus for a smoother, richer garlic taste. This adds complexity to the hummus without overpowering the other flavors like tahini and lemon.
- Vegan Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Incorporate it into mashed potatoes in this seitan bourguignon recipe for a creamy, rich garlic flavor. This enhances the dish without the sharpness of raw garlic, creating a comforting and hearty side.
- Vegan Aioli: Blend it with vegan mayo to create a smooth, rich aioli. This can be used as a dip for fries, a spread for sandwiches, or a dressing for salads.
- Sautéed Greens: Sauté it with greens like spinach or kale, or use them in Brussels sprouts. The confit adds a mild garlic flavor that enhances the greens without overwhelming their natural taste.
- Vegan Risotto: Stir it into a vegan risotto to add depth and richness. It pairs well with mushroom or vegetable risotto, providing a creamy texture and a subtle garlic flavor.
- Pizza Topping: Use it as a topping on homemade vegan pizza. It adds a nice touch with its soft texture and deep flavor, complementing other toppings like vegetables and vegan meat and cheese.
Storing Garlic Confit
For safety, store garlic confit in the refrigerator. Room temperature storage can lead to botulism, as garlic in oil creates an oxygen-free, low-acid environment conducive to harmful bacteria.
How To Store Garlic Confit Safely
To minimize this risk, use refrigerated confit within a week, and consider making it in small batches. Label it with the date to track its shelf life.
When refrigerated, the olive oil in the confit will solidify and turn yellow due to its fat composition. This is a normal physical change and does not indicate spoilage. The confit remains safe to eat.
For longer storage, freezing is an option. Freeze the garlic confit or its infused oil in small portions. Ice cube trays are great for this! Remember to thaw it in the refrigerator, not at room temperature, to ensure safety.
Garlic Confit: An Amazing Kitchen Staple
Creating garlic confit is a simple yet transformative technique that elevates vegan dishes with its rich, buttery flavor. This guide has detailed the process of simmering garlic in olive oil, alongside thyme, to produce a versatile condiment perfect for spreading on bread, enhancing pasta dishes, or adding depth to vegan sauces.
By using high-quality ingredients like fresh garlic and extra-virgin olive oil, you ensure a flavorful addition to your go-to vegan basic recipes. The slow-cooking method not only mellows the garlic’s sharpness but also infuses the oil with a complex garlic essence, making it a valuable ingredient in its own right.
Whether incorporated into vegan aioli, used as a topping for pizza, or stirred into creamy alfredo sauce, garlic confit promises to transform ordinary recipes into extraordinary ones.
Garlic confit is a preparation where garlic cloves are slowly cooked in olive oil at low heat, resulting in tender, mellow-flavored cloves and a flavorful garlic-infused oil. This method softens the garlic’s sharpness, making it spreadable and suitable for various culinary applications.
Garlic confit is used as a versatile ingredient in cooking, ideal for spreading on bread, enhancing the flavor of sauces, soups, and pasta, or as a subtle, rich addition to various dishes where a mellow garlic flavor is desired. The infused oil can also be used as a flavorful base for dressings, marinades, or cooking.
Yes, it’s normal for garlic confit and its oil to solidify in the refrigerator due to the olive oil’s natural response to cold temperatures, but it will return to a liquid state when brought back to room temperature.
Yes, garlic confit needs to be refrigerated to ensure safety and prevent the growth of bacteria, including the risk of botulism; it should not be stored at room temperature.
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This garlic confit is so buttery and versatile! Mash and spread it over toasted sourdough, and drop it into mashed potatoes, pasta, or soups. This keeps for about a week in the refrigerator, but it likely won’t last that long because it’s so delicious!
- 6 heads of garlic*
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 2 cups olive oil
- Peel all of the garlic (see suggestions above for suggested methods).
- Place the peeled garlic, thyme, and oil into a saucepan. There should be enough oil so all of the garlic is covered.
- Simmer over very low-medium heat until the garlic is softened, but not browned, about 2 hours.
- Low and slow will allow the garlic to soften up without burning. While it’s simmering, you want to see a few bubbles form in the saucepan.
- It’s done when the garlic mashes easily when touched. Stir occasionally to avoid any burning or sticking on the bottom of the saucepan.
- Remove the thyme sprigs and allow to cool.
- Transfer the garlic and oil into glass jars. Make sure the garlic is completely covered in the oil.
- Store in the refrigerator. Do not store at room temperature to avoid the risk of botulism.
- Use within a week.
- When choosing garlic, find bulbs with big cloves. They have the most flavor and are the easiest to peel.
- You can also use peeled garlic from the store, just make sure it’s fresh (older garlic tends to dry out.)
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Category: Spreads, Condiments
- Method: Simmered
- Cuisine: American, French
Keywords: vegan garlic confit