I’m a little bit dip-obsessed right now, so I hope you won’t mind yet another classic rendition with a twist here (remember our pepperoncini artichoke dip a couple weeks ago?). I feel like everyone is looking for appetizer inspiration leading up to all of those holiday parties. In my opinion, this is often the trickiest contribution for a party or potluck! On top of trying to satisfy a lot of tastes, you 100% have to get to the party on time because your food is out first :)
Forever and ever, my favourite dip is classic creamy onion dip. Maybe it’s because it’s always served with tons of chips?! (lol) This vegan caramelized onion dip goes a couple steps further because a) caramelized onions and b) we’re topping it with a bright and tangy fresh za’atar spice blend. Cashews make up our sour cream base (is there anything they can’t do?), we add the caramelized onions and a few other flavour bombs. Finely minced thyme is mixed with sumac and toasted sesame seeds, and is all sprinkled on top along with a big drizzle of olive oil and some flaky salt.
This dip benefits from some time in the fridge to “marinate.” You could make it up to 5 days in advance. Just prep the fresh za’atar the day of serving. Once you get the chips out, you’re golden. All in one bite, you get creamy, slightly sweet, onion-y, salty, crispy, tangy, and bright. Major Flavourtown situation right here! Especially if you opt to drizzle a CHILI-infused olive oil on top. No one will believe that this dip is dairy-free.
VEGAN CARAMELIZED ONION DIP WITH FRESH ZA’ATAR
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: Makes about 3 cups
NOTES: I would recommend making this dip at least one day ahead of time and storing it in a sealed container in the refrigerator. The flavour marinates and strengthens as it sits!
-My favourite pairing for this dip is super classic, super salty potato chips, but fresh cut vegetables or crackers are also great ;)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium cooking onions, sliced into half moons
2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt, plus extra
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon tamari soy sauce
ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, finely minced
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
olive oil or chili-infused olive oil
Heat the olive oil in medium saute pan over medium heat. Add sliced onions to the pot. You should hear a moderate sizzle. Saute the onions, stirring often, until they are just starting to soften on the edges. Then, lower the heat slightly. Keep cooking and stirring the onions occasionally until they are golden brown, jammy, and super sweet. This process will take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. Add splashes of water if the onions start to dry up/stick. Transfer the caramelized onions to a cutting board and chop them up nice and fine.
Drain the cashews and add them to an upright, high speed blender. To the cashews, add the water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt. Blend the mixture on high for a full 2 minutes, stopping the motor to scrape down the sides of the blender if necessary. The resulting “sour cream” should be completely smooth.
Scrape the cashew sour cream into a medium bowl. To the sour cream, add the chopped up caramelized onions, onion powder, tamari, lots of salt, and pepper. Stir until the dip is evenly mixed. Taste the dip for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Store the dip in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to use (and up to 5 days).
Make the fresh za’atar. In a small bowl, combine the minced thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
To serve the vegan caramelized onion dip: scrape the dip out into a shallow serving bowl. Make swoops and swirls with the back of a spoon. Drizzle the top of the dip with olive oil (or chili-infused olive oil). Sprinkle all of the fresh za’atar on top of the dip. Finish with flaky sea salt if you like. Serve the dip with potato chips, cut vegetables, or crackers.