Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Vegan Surprise Dip

Hello from the Great White North!  Even though Allysia is away down in Austin, we figure I can still add a little bit of Canadian food wonder to the blog.  Even though a significant portion of the cooking talent has left the house I think I can still hold my own in the kitchen.  Today's post comes as a little bit of a blast-from-the-past.

One of the Christmas traditions I honor every year involves my dad's side of the family (all eighty of us!) getting together on boxing day for a gift exchange, a potluck feast, and a lot of booze.  This was Allysia's first year experiencing this debacle and my first year as a vegetarian, so when we were tasked with bringing an appetizer I wanted to make something to show off how vegan food doesn't have to be super different or weird.  Enter: Vegan Shrimp Surprise Dip!


The non-vegan version of this dip is something that my mom has been making for special occasions since I was a kid.  It is a delicious combination of tangy cocktail sauce, fresh veggies, cream cheese with shrimp sandwiched in the middle of it all.  If we were going to make this familiar dish for my practically-carnivorous family, we would need a reasonably facsimile for shrimp.  Luckily, I remembered spotting these in one of the local stores.


The story behind these beauties is an interesting one.  The company's founders have a daughter named Sophie (hence the name Sophie's Kitchen) who loved seafood, but also happened to be allergic to it.  With this in mind the parents developed a vegan alternative that looks and tastes like seafood without any of the animal products.  Judging by the rate at which my family demolished the dish I'd say they succeeded on all counts.

With that said, let's get on with the recipe!

Vegan Shrimp Surprise Dip

Ingredients:

1 tub vegan cream cheese (we used Tofutti brand)
1 package vegan shrimp or other seafood
1 jar spicy seafood cocktail sauce (or replace with homemade)
1 1/2 cups Daiya shredded vegan mozzarella
1/2 large green pepper, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
Black pepper
Assortment of crackers (for serving)

Directions:

1.  Using a large spoon, scoop the vegan cream cheese into a 9-inch pie plate.  Use the spoon to smooth the cream cheese out so it covers the bottom of the plate evenly.  Sprinkle pepper over the cream cheese.




2. Take the vegan shrimp and dice them.  The shrimp from Sophie's Kitchen are quite large, so I split them down the center and then cut them into pieces.


3.  Spread the diced shrimp across cream cheese in a layer and then pour on the seafood cocktail sauce.  Homemade cocktail sauce can be made using lemon juice, freshly grated horseradish, and vegan worcestershire sauce (lots of recipes can be found easily online), but I like the stronger "tang" of the store-bought stuff.


4. Cover the cocktail sauce with a layer of Daiya.  Use more or less than stated if needed.


5.  Cover the Daiya with the diced green pepper and tomato pieces.  We garnished ours with a few leftover shrimp, just because.


The funny thing about garnishing the dish with two giant vegan prawns is that all of the omnivorous humans instantly rushed to grab and devour them, not even realizing their non-meaty nature.  And there you have it!  This semi-traditional dip was devoured by vegans and non-vegans alike, though the carnivorous family cat wasn't too impressed.


See you next time, internet.

13 comments:

  1. Vegan prawns!!? Who comes up with these things, and how? Amazing! I have such a big list of vegan products to try.

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    1. I know! There is a girl who works at one of the stores here who likes to order in interesting and cool things, so the freezer still has a bunch of mock-meats that I haven't tried yet.

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  2. Nice! I used to love cocktail sauce but didn't see the purpose of it without shrimp. This totally kicks the ass of any shrimp ring. I've only tried those shrimp once in tacos, I'm curious what their other products are like.

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    1. I have also been searching for a way to put cocktail sauce into my face without shrimp, and so far I think this is the best way! I don't think the store here carries any of their other products but I wonder if I could get them to order a few in to try out...

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  3. Glad you're going to contribute posts from up North!

    My step-mom makes a similar dip for family gatherings. Cream cheese + shrimp + cocktail sauce. I love your deluxe vegan version. Those shrimp look sooo realistic. Cool that the carnivores enjoyed it. Nice job!

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    1. I'm not positive but I think the recipe originated in an old Company's Coming cookbook-type thing years and years ago. I know tonnes of other people who make it but everyone seems to have their own name for it.

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  4. Can I comment? Can I, can I? Okay, here it goes. Ummmmmm.....you're awesome. Tee hee. <3 Or do you want a more constructive comment? I loved the shit out of this, and I barely got to have any because your cousins nommed it all!

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  5. There are vegan shrimp and prawns?! I had no idea! You have some great foods in your part of the world :-)

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  6. I"ve seen veggie versions of prawns down in this part of the world, but never vegan ones - interesting! What's the texture like? I tried some vegan prawns las time I was in the US and they were quite chewy - these look way better. Good to make a dish that impresses the omnivores - and nice that you have an omnivorous family that don't freak out at the thought of eating something without meat and all the rest in it.

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  7. what store are these at? i checked nature's best and old fashioned on albert south today and nothing. i thought i should ask instead of driving all over. i miss vegan shrimp SO much. the asian stores in calgary all had them, but not here:(

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    1. Yeah totally, you can buy all the vegan seafood stuff at the north end Old Fashion Foods. As far as I know, that's the only one in the city that carries that stuff (because there's an awesome vegan gal who works there, yay!). It's on Albert Street (so not the one in the northwest). Hope you enjoy 'em! :)

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    2. we'll see if this publishes me as unknown again (don't know why that always happens when i pick my google account). i stopped by there and they had most of the sophie's stuff on half off since it had a best before of dec (since it's frozen, i don't care), so i stocked up. thanks for the tip:)

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    3. Yeah you're unknown again, ha ha! And also, I'm glad you got that stuff on sale, awesome! Hope they're good (I only tried a few products of theirs).

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