Sometimes when you miss something you can no longer have, you try to find a way to be content with unfulfilled desire. Or you hope and struggle to find a way to be reunited with the object of your desires. That kind of unrequited longing was the inspiration behind today’s recipe, my Easy Vegan Rangoon Dip. I have other dips in my arsenal, like this Easy Vegan Queso Dip and my Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip. It’s good to have lots of dips to draw from to satisfy your culinary cravings!
I have a junk mail drawer with a stack of coupons to get the well-known Chinese Restaurant appetizer, but I can’t have them.
They’re not vegan.
Most people I’ve talked to agree that the Crab Rangoons found in a typical corner store Chinese Restaurant are vegetarian; citing that the “crab” is actually some non-meat-based substitute. But there’s no arguing that the creamy part is not vegan.
Something had to be done.
Unrequited love does not die; it’s only beaten down to a secret place where it hides, curled and wounded. For some unfortunates, it turns bitter and mean, and those who come after pay the price for the hurt done by the one who came before. — Elle Newmark says in The Book of Unholy Mischi
There are famous examples of unrequited love;
- Romeo and Juliet
- Dante and Beatrice
- Cyrano de Bergerac and Roxane
- Mork & Mindy
These are characters known for their intense and passionate desire for another, but with a tragic twist. The subject of their affection does not…or cannot love them back.
Because my family is vegan, Crab Rangoons are no longer on the menu for us. But that doesn’t mean we don’t crave them.
Of course, most days I don’t even think about them. I mean, it is a relatively unhealthy appetizer. Lots of grease and cream. It’s not exactly my idea of a delicious thought.
There is a point where love and appetite cross paths; it’s not a very rational, well thought-out place. It’s because that kind of primal urge is strong. Think about it; if a brilliant astronaut will drive cross country in diapers to see the object of her affections, what chance do the less than brilliant have at denying the urge to drive down the street to the nearest fast food chain?
I have an answer. At least when it comes to Crab Rangoons. Easy Vegan Rangoon Dip.
On days where I’m craving my favorite little Asian appetizer, I simply throw this tasty, creamy vegan dip together and serve it with some crispy rice crackers. And somehow it’s all good.
- 16 oz container of extra firm tofu*
- 1 cup Frank's Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce it's not really hot, if you're worried about that
- 1 container plain Vegan Cream Cheese
- 1 green onion chopped
- About 10 tortilla chips crushed
Warm up your oven to 350F.
Cut the tofu into 1/2" (fairly small) cubes. Don't feel like you have to be exact here; approximate is just fine. Typically you'd want to drain the tofu as well, but we get to skip that step for this recipe. Just be sure to use extra firm tofu.
Pour the Sweet Chili Sauce in a skillet and turn up to medium heat. Add the chopped tofu and allow the tofu to simmer in the sauce for several minutes. Be sure to stir the tofu well so each piece is well-covered in the sauce.
Use a medium-sized baking pan or casserole dish and spread all but about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese in the bottom of the pan. Top with chopped green onions.
Now return to your tofu which has been simmering in the skillet. Use your spoon to break up pieces of the tofu and be sure to stir the sauce so all the tofu is well-coated.
When the sauce has cooked down a bit, add the reserved two tablespoons of cream cheese to the tofu mixture and stir it around a bit. It gives it a creamier texture. Now pour it over the cream cheese/green onion mixture and top with the crushed tortilla chip pieces.
Bake in the heated oven for 20 - 25 minutes. I turned the heat up to 400F for the last 10 minutes to really brown that tofu and crisp those chips. If you do that just be sure to keep an eye on it so nothing burns!
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve warm with crackers.
* You can also use Gardein Crispy Tenders in place of the tofu. Simply cook according to package instructions and add chopped pieces over the cream cheese