This dairy free french onion dip is a healthier homemade take on a true classic! Made with cashews instead of sour cream / mayonnaise, and TWO kinds of deeply caramelized onions. An ultra creamy vegan dip that is not only easy to make but also packed with umami rich flavor! Gluten free, paleo, and Whole30 compatible.
The best vegan french onion dip
French onion dip was like the snack soundtrack to my childhood.
It was at every picnic, birthday party, and backyard BBQ all summer long. Do you share some of those memories? I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you do – and are looking for a healthier version to enjoy in the very same ways.
I realized when I brought this to a get together and folks started asking for the recipe that I’m not the only one who still craves this nostalgic dip! Something about setting it out for a group of friends that just feels right as we sink into the long, glorious days of summer.
I’m pretty sure that when french onion dip was invented back in the 1950’s it was essentially made of just sour cream and french onion soup mix. But since we’re making a healthier version we’ll be using only real, whole food ingredients that are vegan, gluten free, paleo friendly, and Whole30 compatible.
No sour cream, cream cheese, or mayonnaise in sight.
It might take a little longer to make than the stuff we ate as kids – good things (AKA caramelized onions) take time. But I can promise you that it is well, well worth the effort!
Why you’ll love this dairy free french onion dip
This homemade dip is:
- Ultra creamy
- Dairy free / gluten free / vegan
- Full of umami rich flavor
- Whole30 compatible
- Perfect for snacking with chips and/or veggies
- Absolutely delicious!
Dairy free french onion dip ingredients
The ingredients for this recipe are actually quite simple. Most are pantry friendly and you might actually already have them on hand, but if you don’t they’re pretty easy to find.
- Raw cashews – The raw cashews stand in for cream cheese / sour cream / mayonnaise and are what makes this dip sooo creamy. Before being stirred into the caramelized onions they’re blended with a little water until luscious, thick, and smooth.
- Caramelized onions – Yellow onions are thinly sliced and slowly caramelized on the stove top with olive oil until deeply caramelized, sweet, and meltingly tender.
- Green onions – For an added layer of delightful oniony flavor I added a whole bunch of thinly sliced green onions to the caramelized onions about 5 minutes before taking them off the heat. If you don’t have any on hand feel free to skip them!
- Lemon juice – Lemon juice brightens the dip up, and mimics some of the tartness that you’d normally get from sour cream or mayo.
- Coconut aminos – Coconut aminos add a nice round depth of flavor. They can be substituted with tamari (gluten free soy sauce) or a vegan Worcestershire sauce.
- Nutritional yeast – Nutritional yeast is one of my favorite vegan / Whole30 compliant ingredients. Perfect for a “cheesy” flavor without any dairy. It can be left out if you don’t have any on hand, but I highly recommend keeping it stocked in your pantry to use in all kinds of recipes!
- Spices – Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder all boost the savory flavor profile of this healthy dip!
- Chives – Totally optional but make a delicious and aesthetically pleasing garnish for this recipe.
- Chips and/or veggies for serving
You can find many of these french onion dip ingredients on Thrive Market – a membership based natural products store that is like the Whole Foods of Costco but based online and with the BEST wholesale prices.
How to make this dairy free french onion dip
There’s two main components to this dip – the caramelized onions, and the flavorful and creamy cashew base.
Before you blend the cashews you’ll need to soak them in hot water, so get that started before you start with the rest of the recipe.
After that, the caramelization of the onions is the most time consuming part of the recipe. For the best flavor, don’t shortcut this step! While the onions caramelize you can cut some veggies for dipping, or just pour yourself a drink and crank some tunes while you stand by the stove.
Here’s the step-by-step
- Soak the raw cashews in a heat proof bowl for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
- Thinly slice some yellow or sweet onion and caramelize slowly on the stove with olive oil and salt. If the onions look like they’re getting too dark on the edges or are sticking to the bottom of the pan add a few tablespoons of water and scrape up any dark bits and reincorporate them into the onions.
- About 5 minutes before onions are done add the thinly sliced green onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and soft.
- Drain the cashews and blend on high until smooth and creamy with the lemon juice, coconut aminos, and spices.
- Mix together the caramelized onions and cashew base. Season to taste with salt and pepper and move to the refrigerator to chill and thicken up.
- Garnish with some reserved caramelized onions or chives if desired and serve with chips and your favorite cut veggies!
What does this french onion dip taste like?
Honestly it tastes really similar to the classic french onion dip that we all grew up eating. Maybe a little more complex with a nuanced depth of flavor, but overall very comparable!
Some tasting notes:
- Slightly tangy
What to serve with french onion dip
While ruffled potato chips are the ultimate classic pairing for french onion dip, you can really go any direction you want!
Here’s some ideas:
- Potato chips
- Sweet potato chips
- Crackers – (These are our favorite rn!)
- Cut veggies – cucumber, radishes, and carrots would all be delightful
What makes this French onion dip healthy
While everyone’s version of “healthy” will look a little bit different, this homemade dip is probably generally considered healthier than any store variety.
That’s because it’s made with all REAL whole food ingredients. No mixes, no dairy, and no processed ingredients whatsoever.
Instead it boasts a wide array of nutrients / minerals from the nuts, alliums, spices, and plenty of healthy fats from the raw cashews.
How long will this homemade dip keep in the refrigerator?
This dip should last up to a week (7 days) in the refrigerator in a covered container.
If you don’t think it will all be eaten by then you can freeze it until your ready to enjoy it again!
Love this recipe? Try these other healthy dip recipes from NK!
- Dairy Free Dill Pickle Dip
- Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Avocado Herb Green Sauce
- Dairy Free Queso Fundido with Ground Beef
- Whole30 Roasted Red Pepper Tahini Dip
- Fast and Easy Romesco Sauce
- Sweet Potato Hummus
- 5 Ingredient Cashew Beet Dip
- Creamy Cashew Queso
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This dairy free french onion dip is a healthier homemade take on a true classic! Made with cashews instead of sour cream / mayonnaise, and TWO kinds of deeply caramelized onions. An ultra creamy dip that is not only easy to make but also packed with umami rich flavor! Gluten free, vegan, paleo, and Whole30 compatible.
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews
- ½ cup + 3 tablespooons water, plus more to soak cashews
- 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced (can be omitted)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Salt and pepper to taste – I used about an additional ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Reserved caramelized onions or chives to garnish
- Serve with ruffled potato chips, cut veggies, or crackers (Note: To keep this recipe Whole30 compatible it should be served with cut veggies or alongside a Whole30 meal)
- In a medium sized heat proof bowl cover raw cashews with just boiled water. Allow to soak for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
- Trim and cut onions in half and thinly slice. Try and cut them into as even slices as possible, so that they cook at an even rate.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. The bigger the skillet (more surface area) the faster your onions will caramelize.
- Once hot, add onions with kosher salt. Sauté, stirring every few minutes, until the onions have softened considerably. Lower the heat to medium low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply caramelized and tender. This step can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. If the onions look like they’re getting too dark on the edges or are sticking to the bottom of the pan add a few tablespoons of water and scrape up any dark bits and reincorporate them into the onions. Don’t worry about watering down the flavor – the water will evaporate and create more evenly caramelized, tender onions. This step can be repeated as often as necessary.
- If using green onions: About 5 minutes before onions are done add the thinly sliced green onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally.
- When the onions are caramelized and the green onions are translucent and soft, set aside and allow to cool while you make the rest of the dip.
- Drain cashews and add to a high speed blender along with the ½ cup + 3 tablespoons water, lemon juice, coconut aminos, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Add more water a tiny bit at a time if the texture is too thick to blend. When done, there should be no pieces of cashews remaining, and be the texture of sour cream.
- Transfer caramelized onions to a bowl (setting some aside to garnish the dip if desired) and add the blended cashew mix. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- The dip may seem a bit thin at first, but will thicken when chilled. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. The flavors will deepen as the dip sits. If you’re in a hurry you can stick it in the freezer to chill faster, and take it out every 5 ish minutes to stir for about 15-25 minutes.
- Garnish with reserved caramelized onions or chives if desired and serve!
This dip should last up to a week (7 days) in the refrigerator in a covered container. If you don’t think it will all be eaten by then you can freeze it until your ready to enjoy again!
Coconut aminos can be substituted with gluten free soy sauce or vegan Worcestershire sauce – however both of those are not considered Whole30 compliant.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: snack
- Method: blender
- Cuisine: american
Keywords: picnic, summer, french onion, cashews, dairy free, vegan, whole30, snack