Photos by Joanne Bruno
When I’m invited to a party, I’m the first person to jump on the opportunity to bring a dish. I know, that’s so nice of me, right? Eh, maybe not. My generosity is usually pretty self-interested. See, unless I’m heading out to a meat- and dairy-free party, which I have yet to attend, I know there’s not likely to be much, if anything, I can eat. Side note: If you’re having an all-vegan party, pretty please let me know. I’ll gladly bring a dish, despite the luxury of having a full array of vegan hors d’oeurves available.
That’s not the end of my confession though. I might have, once or twice (or more) brought along a vegan dish and simply forgotten to tell anyone that it was vegan. Just a little omission, really, and nobody ever complained or showed any suspicion. (Sorry, friends and family!)
What all this proves is that you really don’t need dairy to create a mean party snack. Take this French onion dip. Okay, I’ve yet to bring this stuff to a party, but that’s only because I couldn’t help but polish off the whole batch on my own. So it’s good, and I’m definitely bringing it to my next party and I’m betting no one will guess it’s vegan…unless of course you take me up on that whole vegan party offer, in which case, duh.
What people will notice is that this is way better than any French onion dip they’ve ever had. Most conventional French onion dips I’ve tried in the past have been just okay. They usually involve a packet of dried spice mix or something premade that comes out of the refrigerator case of a convenience store. This stuff is made with caramelized onions, which generally make most things better. Tofu and cashews have become something of a go-to all purpose dairy substitute for me, and in this recipe they did a beautiful job of standing in for sour cream. Add a few spices and some lemon juice for tartness and this just might be your new favorite French onion dip. Take it to your next social gathering. I’ll leave it up to whether or not to tell your host what it’s made of.
- 3 cups sliced onions loosely packed (about 2 medium onions, or ¾ pound)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews soaked in water 4-8 hours and drained
- 1 cup silken tofu ½ pound
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ to ½ cup water
- Place onions, olive oil and thyme into large skillet and toss a few times to coat onions. Place over medium-low heat. Allow to cook, uncovered, flipping occasionally, until onions begin to caramelize and brown in spots, about 25-30 minutes. Add garlic clove and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
- Place cashews, tofu, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce into bowl of a food processor fitted with an S-blade. Process until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Season with salt and pepper and thin with water. Pulse a few times to blend.
- Add onion mixture and pulse a few times, just until finely chopped and incorporated into mixture. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately or chill.