Making french onion dip is easy! All you have to do is take 2 cups of sour cream, one cup of mayonnaise, and one of those packets of french onion dip powder. Mix it all together and you’re done! …or not.
Developing a vegan, healthy, unprocessed french onion dip from scratch has been on my list for a while. I knew it would be easy to get the flavor and mouthfeel right with blended cashews. The problem was, it would have been a million calories if that thick and creamy texture was nothing but pure cashews. Then I heard about people using water chestnuts as a way to add body and thickness to sauces without adding any calories and that worked beautifully here. Water chestnuts (those weird white tasteless crunchy things you’ve probably only ever had in frozen stir-fry veggie mixes) are easy to find in the canned section, cost about 10 cents, and have a very mild taste that blends right into this sauce to add body and keep the calories and fat down. Perfect.
Makes about 2 cups of dip
- 1/2 a sweet vidalia onion
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup water chestnuts
- 1/2 cup+ water
- 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh chives (optional)
Prep: Soak the raw cashews for at least an hour before blending.
Slice half a sweet vidalia onion into thin rings. In a skillet, heat a tiny drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and add the onion slices along with a dash of salt and pepper. Toss regularly and cook until the onions soften and just begin to brown.
While the onions are caramelizing, blend the other ingredients: drain the cashews of their soaking water and combine in a blender with 1/2 cup water chestnuts, 1/2 cup water (to start), a few grinds of black pepper, a tablespoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of garlic powder, and a little apple cider vinegar. Blend until totally smooth, and feel free to add additional water as needed to achieve the right consistency.
Note: It’s important that you’re happy with the taste & texture of the dip at this point (minus the onion flavor, of course) because once you add the onions in the next step, you want them to remain somewhat chunky, so you can’t really go back and re-blend to adjust the flavors without also blending the onions. Make sense?
When the onions are done, pour them right into the blender, then blend on low for just a few seconds until the slices have been broken down into small pieces, but definitely stop before they become smoothly pureed into the dip.
Refrigerate! This makes a significant difference, so it gets its own step. After 2+ hours in the fridge, the flavors will mellow, the texture will firm up a bit, and the dip should be served cold anyways. Then, top with chives (optional) and serve with your favorite veggies (but definitely not potato chips). 🙂