This homemade French onion dip puts the store-bought genre to shame! Creamy, tangy, and packed with umami flavor, it's sure to be gone within minutes.
To me, there's hardly anything more nostalgic than French onion dip and streaky chips. They take me straight back to the holiday season from my childhood, where jars of store-bought French onion dip had a permanent place on the snack table. When my sister and I were growing up, my mom always served us healthy, homemade food, so the onion dip was a real treat. I shoveled as much as I could, savoring every bite of the creamy dip with the salty chips.
This year, I finally came up with my own French onion dip recipe. It's much healthier than the dip I loved as a kid, but it's just as addicting and even more delicious. The first time I did, I found Jack standing in front of the fridge, devouring it like a late night snack. When I did it again a few days later, I had to tell him it was forbidden. It's creamy, tangy, and rich in umami flavors. I wasn't going to leave him alone!
French Onion Dip Recipe Ingredients
Unlike most homemade French onion dip recipes, this one is completely vegan and dairy free! Instead of making the base with sour cream, mayonnaise and / or cream cheese, I use my go-to cashew sour cream recipe. Cashews give it a creamy and flavorful texture, and Dijon mustard, lemon juice, white wine vinegar and onion powder make it tangy and flavorful. Note that it's best to prepare it in a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix. If you don't have a high speed blender, be sure to soak your cashews at least 4 hours in advance.
Once you have prepared the cashew cream, you will add these ingredients to prepare the dip:
- Caramelized onions - For a rich, sweet and salty onion flavor! You will only need one onion to make this dip, but I recommend caramelizing additional onions and keeping them in the fridge or freezer. You can add them to pasta, pizza, egg dishes or other dips on the go!
- Onion powder - It gives the dip a bold and concentrated onion flavor.
- Fresh chives - For garnish! Their fresh flavor contrasts well with the rich caramelized onions and umami onion powder.
- And sea salt - To bring out all the flavors!
Find the full recipe with the measurements below.
How to make French onion dip
This onion dip recipe is easy to make, but it does require planning in advance. If you don't have caramelized onions on hand yet, you'll need to cook them first. Caramelizing onions is simple (just cook them over low heat, stirring occasionally), but it takes time. Be sure to set aside at least an hour for cooking the onions before dipping, as well as time for them to cool.
When the onions are at room temperature (they can also be cold if you already have some on hand), mix in the cashew cream. As I mentioned above, you will need to soak the cashews in advance if you don't have a high speed blender.
Then mix the dip! Chop the caramelized onions and add them to a bowl with the cashew cream. Stir in the onion powder, salt and pepper and season to taste. Put the dip in the refrigerator for an hour to chill it before eating.
When you're ready to serve, top the dip with chives and dig in! I will always recommend serving this French onion dip with streaky chips, but if you don't have them on hand, plain chips or fresh vegetables will work too.
Store leftover dip in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It will thicken as it cools, so you can dilute it with water, one teaspoon at a time, before serving. Enjoy!
More favorite appetizer recipes
If you like this French onion dip recipe, then try one of these delicious appetizers:
French Onion Dip
This onion dip is creamy, tangy, and full of umami flavor! Served with chips or vegetables, this is a fantastic appetizer or snack. If you don't already have caramelized onions on hand, note that you will need to allow about 90 minutes to prepare them and let them cool before mixing the dip.
In a small bowl, combine the cashew sour cream, caramelized onions, onion powder, salt and several pieces of pepper. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
Top the cooled dip with chives and serve with crisps.
* From about 1 onion. It's easier to whip up the whole batch and have more than it is to cook just one onion. Caramelized onions will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months.
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It’s easy to be cynical about the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but there is a lot of undeniable and powerful energy surrounding the idea of change at this time of year. For many of us, that change starts in the kitchen.
Maybe it means resolving to cook at home more often, to keep a well-stocked freezer and pantry, to waste less, or to make slightly more wholesome choices. Maybe, for you, this is the year in which you’d like to give veganism ( or vegetarianism ) a try.
Whether you’re trying to dip your toes slowly into the world of plant-based eating, or you’re ready to make a total shift, it can be helpful to keep a few things in mind.
Some people go vegan overnight, and they never look back. But for many others, a slow transition is more sustainable ( and pleasurable ) than a 180-degree turn. If the idea of going vegan feels daunting, start with a couple of small steps, like a Meatless Monday challenge at home, or switching one of your daily meals to a meatless and dairy-free option. ( You’d be surprised at how easy it is to trade your turkey sandwich for hummus, tempeh bacon, and avocado ).
I’m quick to say that vegan food is just food. While there are a couple of secret weapon ingredients to have on your radar ( nutritional yeast, I’m lookin’ at you ), for the most part a saine appetite for grains, beans, and produce is all you really need to get started. With that said, any dietary shift can be tricky, and veganism is no exception. So, before you get started, take just a little time to go over the basics of plant-based nutrition. Find a useful, all-in-one resource, like Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina’s Becoming Vegan, or Ginny Messina and Jack Norris’ Vegan For Life. At some point, someone will ask you where you get your protein ( or your iron, or your calcium ), and while you could laugh the question off, it’s a lot more powerful to supply a quick, confident answer.
Going vegan expanded my palate dramatically : I learned about all sorts of global cuisines, warmed up to my spice rack, and tried ingredients I’d never considered before. But my culinary repertoire was pretty meager when I made the switch. If you already have some culinary experience, don’t assume that you’ll need to acquire an entirely new bag of tricks to eat vegan or vegetarian.
In fact, one really useful place to start is by looking at some of your favorite dinner recipes and thinking about how you might adapt them to be meatless and/or dairy-free. It may be as simple as removing some cheese ( or replacing it with cashew cheese ). It may mean trading the central protein for beans, soy foods, or even a hearty vegetable, like mushrooms.
Until I went vegan, I had never tried tempeh, soba noodles, kimchi, kabocha squash, nutritional yeast, millet, mulberries, or buckwheat…and the list goes on. Becoming vegan encouraged me to explore new ingredients, and it also introduced me to more global dishes.
A great many dietary folklores around the world are already plant-based, which means that vegans and vegetarians have many rich, exciting culinary folklores to draw upon. If you’re new to plant-based cooking, explore meatless dishes and recipes from other parts of the world ( Indian, Ethiopian, and Middle Eastern dishes are some of my personal préférés ). Dust off your spice rack and add new flavors to your food. Use your transition to plant-based eating as an excuse to try new grains, legumes, and vegetables.
A lot of folks assume that adapting a recipe to be vegan means replacing the meat or poultry with a faux meat, a block of tofu, or tempeh. That’s cool, but it can also be fun to think creatively and imaginatively about how to capture the essence of a traditional recipe without animal protein. No, lentil Bolognese isn’t really Bolognese, but it does capture the heartiness of the original; cashew banana yogurt is a far cry from dairy, but it does evoke the same, sweet creaminess.
Many people are surprised by how easy it is to go meatless. Cheese, on the other hand, is a different story. I myself used to utter the same words I hear constantly from readers, friends, and alimentation clients : ' I’d love to go vegan, but I can’t give up cheese. '
While I won’t pretend that giving up dairy is easy—it’s not, especially because it’s so ubiquitous in restaurant dishes—I will say that I had a much easier time living without it when I learned to make my own substitutes. Store-bought soy and almond cheeses weren’t cutting it ( especially nine years ago, when the options were limited ), and soy creamers and yogurts left me feeling equally flat. Making my first batch of cashew cheese—which authentically captured the tanginess and matière of goat cheese—was a revelation. Homemade nut milk let me create creamy porridge and muesli far more authentically than did store-bought, non-dairy milk.
Over time, I’ve experimented with tofu paneer, tofu feta, and cashew yogurt, and the list is growing. Homemade dairy substitutes are creative, fun, and cost-effective, and I think they’re a big step up from what you can find in the store.
While I’m the first to point out that vegan proteins extend far beyond soy foods—encompassing tonalités of different grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds—you really can’t beat tofu and tempeh for ' meaty ' texture and complete protein in meatless dishes. Both ingredients can be either memorable or mundane, depending on how you prepare them. I definitely recommend pressing tofu if you’re not already in the habit; it’ll create a firmer, more toothsome matière that most people prefer.
When preparing tempeh, be sure to use a boldly flavored marinade or sauce to help balance tempeh’s earthy taste, and if you find it bitter, you can steam it before marinating, too.
For the most part, I try to feature whole foods and homemade ingredients in my cooking. But in spite of the fact that I love to create my own dairy substitutes and I’d usually rather eat a scoop of lentils than a block of faux meat, I don’t eschew vegan products, and I think that keeping an open mind about them can really enrich the authenticity of your food.
This is especially important when you’re transitioning and vegan cooking still feels like a brave new world. Nine times out of ten, I’ll opt to use cashew cheese in a recipe rather than Daiya ( a melty, commercial vegan cheese ) ; coconut oil in place of Earth Balance ( vegan butter ) ; or grilled tofu in place of Beyond Chicken ( grilled strips of soy and pea protein that taste shockingly like chicken ).
But when I’m aiming for totally authentic, precise results, vegan substitute products can go a long way, and it’s comforting to know that they’re an option if I feel like taking a shortcut.
Over time, I learned to create vegan food with greater sensitivity to others’ tastes and folklores. I love a lot of really crunchy fare, from the aforementioned raw kale salad to tofu, sprouts, and grain bowls. And I know a lot of other folks who love these dishes, too. But sometimes being an ambassador of vegan food means knowing how to create dishes that feel familiar and appeal to a wide array of more conservative palates, like vegan lasagna, shepherd’s pie, or sloppy Joes.
And, if you’re trying to dispel the idea that all végétaliens eat is salad and prove that vegan food can be filling and hearty, then it’s all the more important to create dishes that evoke a sense of comfort.
Change feels a lot less daunting when you have company. If your family and friends aren’t exploring veganism along with you, then find community in other ways. Explore a vegan meetup or potluck in your community. Become a regular commenter on vegan food blogs. If you do have a friend who’s interested in plant-based cooking, invite him or her over for some recipe testing.
Studies show that failure to stick with a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is often attributed to feeling ' different ' or isolated. Food is all about community and sharing, so do your best to share this lifestyle with people you care about—even if they’re not making the change along with you.