This recipe for French onion dip turns a classic fat and flavor bomb into a modern spectacle in its own right using dairy alternatives and long slow caramelized onion in lieu of the packaged soup mix. At the restaurant I make all the dairy alternatives, but there are now good store-bought alternatives at natural food stores. As a replacement for the sour cream base, I use a combination of cashews, vegan mayo and coconut yogurt. To achieve a deep umami flavor I use vegan Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, onion powder, garlic, thyme and black pepper. —Ariel Nadelberg
oil, preferably grapeseed or canola
medium yellow onions, finely sliced (4 cups)
large cloves of garlic, minced
vegan Worcestershire sauce
raw cashews, soaked overnight
apple cider vinegar
unsweetened Coconut yogurt (soy substitute works but be sure it's unsweetened)
In a large sauté pan over low heat, add the oil and onions along with a big pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions caramelize into a deep brown color. This may take up to 30 minutes or more. Add a splash of white wine or water occasionally to incorporate the tasty brown bits on the bottom of the pan. When the onions are nearly done, add the garlic and spices and allow to cook for a few moments longer. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and thyme leaves. Remove from heat and let cool.
Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Add them along with the vinegar to a blender and blend for a couple minutes. Once cashews have broken down – they should resemble chunky peanut butter at this state - add the yogurt and mayo to the blender. Blend until smooth. If mixture is too thick a touch of almond or soy milk will help get the ingredients moving. Add the cooled onion mix to blender. Pulse on low until incorporated. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve surrounded by chips and sliced raw veggies.