Vegan Caramelized Onion Dip with Fresh Za’atar

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 9 votes

Vegan caramelized onion dip is super creamy, tangy, and deeply flavoured with caramelized onions and a liberal sprinkle of fresh za'atar.

Vegan caramelized onion dip
Vegan caramelized onion dip

I’m a little bit dip-obsessed right now, so I hope you won’t mind yet another classic rendition with a twist here with this vegan caramelized onion dip (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.

Some more dip inspiration for you and your partying needs: roasted carrot harissa dip, creamy kale pesto and white bean dip, warm jalapeño popper dip, and a luscious eggplant dip with tahini and walnuts.

Vegan caramelized onion dip

Vegan Caramelized Onion Dip with Fresh Za’atar

Vegan caramelized onion dip is super creamy, tangy, and deeply flavoured with caramelized onions and a liberal sprinkle of fresh za'atar.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 3 cups

Ingredients

DIP

  • 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

FOR SERVING

  • flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • olive oil or chili-infused olive oil

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 ;)

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in medium saute pan over medium heat. Add sliced onions to the pot. You should hear a moderate sizzle. Sauté 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.
Vegan caramelized onion dip
11/12/2019 (Last Updated 18/03/2024)
Posted in: appetizer, autumn, cashews, creamy, gluten free, grain-free, holidays, refined sugar-free, salty, snack, spring, summer, sweet, umami, vegan, winter

23 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Cathy

    5 stars
    We love your artichoke-kale dip, but I wanted to try something different for our family Christmas party. Very helpful that you can (should) make this ahead. Mine didn’t look appealing (more brown than yours) and I ran out of time to make the topping. I thought it had a good flavor, but it really didn’t get eaten at the party. After the party, my daughter and I couldn’t get enough of this dip. It is rich, creamy, and flavorful. I served with regular and vegetable chips, but I have to agree regular potato chips are the best! Next time I make it I will half the recipe (this makes a lot of dip!).

  • Bonnie

    Is the store bought Za’atar okay or will it take away from the dish? I never even heard of that spice until now.

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Bonnie!
      You can use store bought za’atar if you like for a little extra ease! The dip will still be great.
      -L

  • Ashley

    5 stars
    This dip is amazing! I made it for a Stranger Things viewing party with friends and it was a hit! 

  • Anisha

    5 stars
    This dip was so lovely and the flavor just got better the next few days! I really enjoyed it with some roasted veggies and on toast. Thanks for the recipe :)

  • Ali

    5 stars
    So delicious! My family has been a bit skeptical about our mostly gf/df Thanksgiving and they were so impressed when we tried this doing some taste tests the night before. Perfect with potato chips, and the caramelized onions are deliciously sweet. Thank you!!

  • taryn

    I love this dip so much and love to serve it at parties because anyone can enjoy. Thank you!

  • Cami

    I want to make this for a family get together but my brother is allergic to cashews, could I sub something else in their place?

    • Bonnie

      Yes, is there a good substitute for cashews? Or omit them?

      • Laura

        Hi Bonnie and Cami,
        Unfortunately there isn’t a direct substitution for the cashews in this recipe. The cashews make up such a huge bulk of the recipe and it’s where all of our creaminess comes from. You could go in with a similarly rich and soaked nut like macadamias or pine nuts, but these nuts can prohibitively expensive in large quantity. I also haven’t tested a variation of this recipe with those nuts, so can’t confirm whether it works or not. My hunch is that both have too strong of a flavour to work here. You could try a vegan soy-based sour cream (Follow Your Heart makes a good one) or a mixture of a vegan sour cream and vegan cream cheese. You would need roughly 2.5-3 cups total to mix with the caramelized onions and other ingredients.
        -L

  • Catherine

    I made this dip over the holidays and it is fantastic! My vegan daughter actually asked to have it for dinner last night. Thanks for a such a solid recipe!

  • Michelle

    WOW! I made this last weekend and it is DELICIOUS! I love that it needs (should be for the best flavor) to be made several days in advance, great for stress-reduced entertaining.

    I have many food allergies, so I greatly appreciate recipes with few ingredients. BTW, Tim’s Cascade potato chips brand – ‘Original‘ and ‘Sea Salt and Vinegar’ are vegan and gluten free – a perfect pair for this luscious dip, but be forewarned you and your guests will gobble this up and won’t be hungry for the main meal! Thank you for posting such a lovely recipe!

  • Kim

    I’ve missed that onion dip in a packet since going vegan – and then I made this. Wow! This is INCREDIBLE. Thank you!

  • Alex

    As far as non-bean dips go, the creamy onion one is my fave too! I’ve been meaning to try making a dairy-free version myself. This one sounds perfect. Love that you use onions AND onion powder.

  • Larissa

    I have been following your website for a couple of years after being introduced to your first cookbook through the cookbook club I am a member of.

    I admit that although many of your recipes have appealed to me (and are currently earmarked) I had not tried any more until I saw this recipe.

    Well done! The depth of flavour achieved in this recipe is amazing! Although your recipe calls to let it sit overnight, this was just to good and I have to admit that a significant amount did not survive long after mixing together.

    This recipe has become one of my favourites and will certainly be made again.

    Looking forward to trying more of your amazing recipes.

  • Judi

    This dip is delicious! I made it last night for my not interested in vegan kids, and they loved it! The caramelized onions are amazingly good, along with the creaminess of the cashews.

  • Lisa

    I made this for our Christmas Eve appetizer – so fabulous! Truly, this one is amazing! Thank you!!

  • Joanna Aceves

    OMG! I’m made this today for a New Year’s Eve gathering on Tuesday and from what I tasted, this is some delicious dip!! I’m so excited for NYE!!!

  • Tamara

    OMG – this is SO GOOD!!!!

  • Jules

    This dip is ridiculous. So easy to make and so, so delicious. I made this dip to bring to a friend’s house for a football game and it was DEVOURED. The fresh za’tar and drizzle of good olive oil take it over the top.

  • Sam

    Thank you for being one of the only bloggers who is honest about how long caramelizing onions takes… some other blogs say 15 minutes and I actually laugh out loud haha. This recipe looks fantastic – I’m gonna make it for NYE!

  • Masha

    This looks so incredible!

  • Krystal

    Your sauce game has always been on point but THESE DIPS?!?!??! The kale and artichoke one was sooooooo good and somehow I think this one will be even better. I think I’m gonna commit to “dip is definitely dinner” nights for a while.