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I absolutely love a good dip. Onion dip has always been one of my favorites. You know the one, sour cream mixed with instant soup powder. It’s really terrible for you, so much dairy and salt and not much of anything else. This vegan onion dip recipe packs a ton of flavor without half the guilt as the traditional dip. However, this recipe is still not okay for phase one of an elimination diet. Only use it to reintroduce tree nuts or once you know tree nuts are safe for you!
Using real caramelized onions makes this dip feel decadent and special. It’s so indulgent to be able to gorge on this savory treat. You can always add even more onions if you’re like me and just cannot get enough of them! Just always make sure to take your time cooking them. Caramelized onions happen slowly, that’s what brings out the natural sweetness of the onions and creates that wonderfully deep flavor.
Soaking raw cashews makes them easier and creamier to blend. If you can’t find raw cashews you can use roasted and salted cashews just cut back on the added salt. You can still soak roasted cashews; it just won’t have as striking of an effect. I’ve found that roasted cashews are also typically cheaper than raw cashews. Don’t break your bank over a dip. Especially because you’re probably going to eat this whole recipe at once.
Serve this vegan onion dip with anything that you would normally dip in onion dip. Sweet potato chips and baby carrots are my favorite partners for this caramelized vegan onion dip. The little bit of sweetness pairs really well with the natural sweetness brought out while caramelizing the onions. The saltiness of the dip is also an addictive addition to the sweetness of the dippers. You’ll have to be careful not to eat this entire batch in one sitting!
This appetizer or snack will last about 1 week in the refrigerator. You can freeze it if you need to save some for a later date. Simply remove from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature overnight before serving.
Tips for caramelizing onions
- Start with the right onion! Yellow onions are standard in my house for almost all uses but sweet vidalia onions will give even more sweetness to the caramelizing process without adding extra sugar. Don’t use red or white, they have a higher water content and you’ll never reach the desired texture.
- Use the right pan! You want a pan that’s big enough for all of the onion slices to be in contact with the pan at all time. Having a big pile of onions in an undersized pan won’t cook evenly. I use my large cast iron, check out the one featured at the bottom of this list.
- Slice thinly but not too thin! Slice your onion about 1/2 cm thick. If you slice it too thin, like so thin that you can see through it, the onion will cook to quickly and be more likely to stick and burn. Too thick and it’ll take hours to reach your desired color.
- Use a lower heat! I set my burner at about a 3 (out of 10) when making the onions for this vegan onion dip. Every burner is different, but you want to aim for the low end of medium low.
- Don’t use too much oil! You want just enough oil to cover the pan. Remember, you’re not making fried onions, the slices don’t need to be submerged in oil.
- Don’t stir too much! At the beginning of the process you’ll want to stir very little. Maybe two times in the first 20 minutes. If the onions are really starting to stick, add a little water and stir, but then leave it alone again. You’ll stir a bit more toward the 40 minute mark but just trust the process and let the onions do their thing.
- Add sugar if you’re short on time. I don’t like adding sugar to my caramelized onions, I prefer to take the slow route. However, if you’re in a rush, add about 1 tbsp sugar to two sliced onions after they’ve been cooking for about 25 minutes. This will cheat the process and make them look and taste more caramelized in less time.
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour
- 2 small yellow onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar (can substitute plain or apple cider vinegar as well)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- up to ¼ cup water
- extra olive oil for cooking onions
- heat a skillet over medium low, drizzle with olive oil
- add sliced onions and saute for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, stirring infrequently, until a nice caramelized color is reached
- add minced garlic and saute 1 minute longer
- add all ingredients except caramelized onions, garlic, and water to a food processor or blender and blend
- mixture should be creamy, add water until desired consistency is reached
- add 1/2 cup of the caramelized onions and pulse to incorporate onions without destroying them, top with any extra
- chill for at least one hour and serve cold