This guilt-free French Onion Dip from scratch is loaded with sweet flavorful bits of caramelized onion in an ultra-creamy plant-based "sour cream". It's the ultimate party dip that carnivores, vegetarians and vegans can enjoy alike.

This guilt-free french Onion dip is made from scratch and loaded with sweet caramelized onions in a tangy cashew

Growing up I had a lot of guilty pleasures, but French Onion Dip, made with a packet of Lipton‘s Onion Soup Mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise, was one of my favorites, and it was the kind of thing I could eat with a spoon. As an adult it’s a bit harder to justify making such a sodium-laden cholesterol bomb, so it’s been at least two decades since I’ve had it.

The other day I was flipping through Pinterest and a photo of this classic, fired savory harpoons at my taste memories, eliciting a craving that wouldn’t go away. In the same spirit as my Vegan Spinach Dip I decided to try my hand at taking the “junk” out of this junk-food.

This addictive French Onion Dip is ultra-creamy and delicious, and it's healthy enough that you can eat the whole bowl and not feel bad about it.

The plant-based French Onion Dip I came up with surpassed all expectations and I’d say it easily beats the artery clogging original on taste. Seriously, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a fan of Lipton’s Onion Dip that didn’t like this plant-based made-from-scratch version better.

For this onion dips “sour cream” base, I’ve used raw cashews. They’re perfect for this dip because they have a neutral flavor, are loaded with umami, and have a subtle sweetness that compliments the caramelized onions beautifully. Nutritional yeast gives the cashews a fermented dairy flavor, and apple cider vinegar lends a pleasant tang.

A bit of soy sauce gives the dip another amino acid boost, which works in synergy with the onions, cashews and nutritional yeast to jack the lip-smacking umami factor to 11. I used usukuchi soy sauce for its light color, but if you don’t mind your dip turning brown, regular soy sauce will work just fine.

All these ingredients get tossed in a high speed blender along with half the caramelized onions and they’re blended until they form a velvety smooth dip. The remaining caramelized onions get mixed in at the end by hand to provide little bursts of flavor as you chew.

A few culinary trick turn some basic ingredients into this ultra-creamy and flavorful plant-based French onion dip.

While it may take a bit more work than mixing 3 packages of food, there’s nothing complicated about making this vegan onion dip from scratch and it can be put together in under thirty minutes. Here are the culinary tricks I used to help speed things along:

The first trick is to chop the onions into a fine dice (1/8-inch pieces). This not only makes it easier to incorporate the caramelized onions at the end, the added surface area speeds up the caramelization process.

Mincing the onions finely speeds speeds up caramelization and makes it easier to incorporate into the French onion dip.

To get things moving even faster, I like to start the onions off by steaming them with a lid on. This cooks the onions through so you can skip the sauteeing and get straight to caramelizing. You can read more tips about caramelizing onions here.

The last trick is to boil the cashews for a few minutes to soften them, instead of soaking them overnight. This gets the job done in minutes rather than hours, and the results are just as good, if not better.

Finally, this onion dip keeps for a few days in the fridge, so it’s a great make-ahead option for parties and potlucks, and it’s a dish that everyone can enjoy.

Vegan French Onion DipGrowing up I had a lot of guilty pleasures, but French Onion Dip, made with a packet of Lipton‘s Onion Soup Mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise, was one of my favorites, and it was the kind of thing I could eat with a spoon. As an adult it’s a bit harder to justify making such … Continue reading “Vegan French Onion Dip”

Summary

  • CourseAppetizer
  • CuisineAmerican
  • Yield8 servings
  • Cooking Time20 minutes
  • Preperation Time5 minutes
  • Total Time25 minutes

Ingredients

2 tablespoons
olive oil
285 grams
onions (2 small onions, finely diced)
140 grams
raw cashew nuts (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons
nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon
usukuchi soy sauce
1 tablespoon
apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon
salt
1/4 teaspoon
ground black pepper
flat-leaf parsley (for garnish)
paprika (for garnish)

Steps

  1. First steam the onions with a lid. This cooks the onions through quickly, helping them to caramelize faster.
    Put the olive oil and onions in a frying pan and cover with a lid. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook covered until the onions are tender (about 10 minutes).
  2. Once the lid is removed you can turn up the heat to burn off the water and start to caramelize the onions for the french onion dip.
    Remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium-high to quickly burn off the excess water.
  3. For the most flavorful vegan french onion dip, be sure to fully caramelize the onions.
    When you hear the onions start to sizzle, saute them stirring continuously, until the onions are fully caramelized (another 10 minutes or so).
  4. Boil the raw cashew nuts to soften them up.
    While the onions cook, add the raw cashew nuts to a small pan and cover with about an inch of water. Bring the cashews to a boil and then set a timer for 2 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and let the cashews cool to room temperature in the liquid.
  5. The boiled cashew nuts go into a blender with nutritional yeast, soy sauce, salt and lemon juice to make a creamy plant-based French onion dip.

    Use a slotted spoon to add the cashew nuts to a blender. Measure out 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid and add it to the blender. Add the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, and half of the caramelized onion mixture.

  6. Blend the vegan French onion dip until it is very smooth and creamy.

    Blend until very smooth. If your blender is having trouble spinning, you can add a little extra cooking liquid from the cashews to help it out. 

  7. Stir in the remaining caramelized onions into the vegan French onion dip and adjust seasonings to taste.
    Transfer the dip from the blender to a bowl and stir in the remaining caramelized onions. Adjust the seasonings (salt and vinegar) to taste.
  8. Garnish with minced parsley and paprika and serve your vegan French onion dip with bread, chips, or vegetable sticks .