We have a house full of bagel lovers. Actually, I should say bagel connoisseurs. When I was recipe testing for our BEST Vegan Bagels, everyone ate their body weight in bagels for a couple of months around here until I had the recipe perfected. And we definitely didn’t have any complaints throughout it all. But we did have a request: Cream cheese, please? Caramelized Onion Tofu Cream Cheese to the rescue.
What is a bagel without cream cheese? It’s the peanut butter to the jam, the cookie to the milk, the peas to the carrots… they’re partners in crime and they deserve to be eaten TOGETHER.
True, there are many store-bought vegan cream cheese options to choose from. Some are even pretty tasty. But they’re expensive, and I like making things from scratch, so vegan cream cheese just had to be made.
Tofu in a dip?
Yes! If you haven’t already tried a tofu-based dip, prepare to fall in love. It’s creamy, less expensive than cashews, low calorie, and high protein. Pretty perfect, right?
For this dip, I used Extra Firm Tofu. I like the Sunrise brand, but anyone will do. I’ve made this dip with Medium Firm Tofu, too. And while the texture is smoother, it’s also thinner which makes it more like a delicious dip and less like thick, luscious cream cheese – so it really just depends on what you’re aiming for. If you substitute Medium Firm Tofu, leave out the water in this recipe or it will be way too thin and watered down in flavor.
I always tend to include onions in my tofu-based dips and cream cheeses because they’re such a great base for flavor. So it’s easy to fry up the tofu at the same time as the onions. I’ve tried rushing this recipe with raw tofu and onions… let me save you the time and ingredients. It’s not a great option. The raw onion has a VERY strong flavor that overpowers everything. So unless you’re like my Grandpa who loved raw onion sandwiches – you probably won’t like the flavor of a raw onion cream cheese.
Can I substitute the cashews?
You can use additional tofu in place of the cashews, but it won’t be as creamy. It also won’t set to the same thickness. The tofu is the base of this cream cheese because it’s healthier than using 2 cups of cashews. But overall the spread still benefits from a small portion of cashews because there’s nothing as deliciously, vegan-y creamy as cashews. The raw cashews are like little sponges, too. So as the cream cheese sets in the fridge, the cashews soak up moisture and create an even thicker, creamier texture.
This Caramelized Onion Tofu Cream Cheese is
- Thick and creamy
- Easy to make
- Perfect for weekly meal prep
- Versatile (it’s for so much more than bagels!)
Try Caramelized Onion Tofu Cream Cheese on
- Sandwiches (as a healthy alternative to mayo)
- In our Chickpea Stuffed Bell Peppers (below)
- Tortilla Chips
- Nacho dip
More dips, dressings and sauces
- Easiest Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Best Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
- Easy Garlic Tahini Dressing (on Apple Spinach Salad)
- Healthy Vegan Energy Balls – Date Sweetened
So here it is, our Caramelized Onion Tofu Cream Cheese! We hope you love it as much as we do! And if you make it, let us know what you think in the comments below, leave a rating, or show us on Instagram @plantednoshery. Enjoy!
Caramelized Onion Tofu Cream Cheese
- 1 block Extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
- ½ cup Raw cashews
- ¼ cup Water
- 1 Large onion, peeled & roughly chopped
- 2 Lemons, juiced ~ 4 tbsp
- ½ Lemon, zest ~ 1 tsp
- 1½ tbsp Olive oil + 1 tsp for frying
- 1½ tsp White wine vinegar
- 2 tsp Sea salt
- ½ tsp Granulated garlic
- In a non stick frying pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat
- To the hot pan, add the cubed tofu and roughly chopped onion
- Stir fry until onions are translucent and tofu is browned
- While the tofu and onions are cooking, add the cashews, water, lemon juice & zest, salt, garlic, olive oil and white wine vinegar to a Vitamix or high powered blender
- When the tofu and onions are browned, add them to the Vitamix or blender and blend on high speed until smooth (tamp down the sides or stop and scrape the sides of the blender as needed to ensure it is smooth throughout)
- Once blended evenly, scrape into a lidded, airtight container that holds about 2½ cups or more
- Let cook for 15 minutes before refrigerating for 1½-2 hours to set
- Once set, it will be creamy, smooth, spreadable and dippable! Enjoy!