Sweet Onion Dip & Mock Ricotta Cheese

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The vegans nailed it right when they came up with this one.

Beware! What you are about to make is sinfully rich and addicting! My sister whipped up this dip for Thanksgiving and I have been obsessed with it since. It is built on this recipe that she found over at Food.com. However, in place of raw onion, she folded in caramelized onion—the perfect complement to the mildly sweet macadamia.

Serve this dip with crudités, chips or crackers, or make these baked polenta bites (so good!). Just brush slices of polenta with oil and bake at 4oo˚F until tops and bottoms begin to crisp (flip once). Remove from oven and cool. Top with the Caramelized Sweet Onion Dip and a bit of store-bought tomato chutney. Divine!

And get this. Omit the onion altogether and you’ll have one of the tastiest, non-dairy ricotta cheese substitutes you’ve ever had. Just go easy on it. Macadamia nuts are insanely high in fat. This recipe makes about 8 servings and packs about 250 calories per serving (almost all from fat). On the flip side, macadamia nuts offer some seriously surprising health benefits.

Macadamia nuts and our family have a long history. My grandfather Quaintance owned an orchard on the Big Island of Hawaii and my dad tells stories of the family making the drive from Hilo to Paauilo to work the orchard on the weekends. Later that orchard would be sold off. When I was a kid I would make summer money picking nuts for a family friend—not far from grandpa's old orchard. It was hands and knees work in an eerily quiet orchard. I think I made $5 for each 15 gallons I picked. In the end, I was tickled to make that kind of money to spend on school clothes, and developed what would become a lifelong love and appreciation for the mac nut.

Caramelized Sweet Onion Dip or Mock Ricotta Cheese

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan | Paleo

Makes: About 2 cups 
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups RAW MACADAMIA NUTS
3/4 cup WATER
1 teaspoon SALT
1 clove GARLIC
1/4 cup CARAMELIZED ONION, minced (directions below, omit for mock ricotta)

Instructions:

In high-powered blender, blend macadamia nuts, water, salt, and garlic on high until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides. Add more water, one tablespoon at a time, to achieve a smooth, but thick, blend.

To Caramelize Onions: Peel and slice 3 large white onions into thin strips. Toss into a large skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and cook over low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions have caramelized and are dark golden in color. This will yield more than is needed for the onion dip. Use the leftovers on pizza, in soups, on appetizers.

Notes:

Macadamia nuts may be found in the refrigerated bulk section of many natural grocery stores. Macadamia nuts do not need to be soaked. For those just beginning to soak their nuts, seeds and legumes. Here is one of my favorite "soak or not to soak and for how long" charts.