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 Post subject: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:00 am 
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Tofu Pup

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The Backstory

I'm a fairly new vegan, and for the most part I've tried to take the "high road" when it comes to this new way of eating. Most of my meals are based on whole foods, minimally processed and cooked at home.

However, within the first few weeks of my vegan adventure, the superbowl rolled around and we were headed to a party with friends. I wanted to impress them with my new way of eating, so I decided to veganize a Buffalo Chicken dip recipe we'd all enjoyed in the past. Really, I'm under-selling this recipe -- in it's non-vegan form it is pretty awesome. :-) Unfortunately, my early attempt was, at best, so-so. This is a very cheesy recipe and it turns out the way I approached veganizing it the first time just didn't work. I know not all recipes are great candidates for vegan conversion, but I'd like to give this one another whirl.

So, can you help me veganize this recipe in a way that will still wow my non-vegan friends?

The Original Recipe

    * 1 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce
    * 8 oz cream cheese
    * 2 cups chicken, shredded
    * 1/2 cup ranch dressing
    * 8oz cheddar cheese

Blend the Frank's Red Hot sauce and cream cheese on low hit in a saucepan. Once blended, add the remaining ingredients.

What I Tried

    * substituted Daiya cheddar shreds to replace the cheddar cheese
    * Toffutti cream cheese to replace the cream cheese
    * TVP to replace the chicen

The Failures

I think the biggest problems were the Daiya and the TVP. I'd replace the TVP with seitan this time, hopefully cutting it or shredding it in a way that mimics the original, shredded chicken. I don't know what to do about the cheddar cheese, though. I've considered trying to modify one of Isa's cashew queso recipes...but am not sure I can get the flavor in the right neighborhood.

The Request

So, I'd love to hear suggestions from this community of (much!) more experienced vegan cooks.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:47 am 
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Shoot, I was going to recommend this one because I made it one once and it was delicious: http://www.cestlavegan.com/2010/08/buffalo-chicken-dip/

BUT, that soy bleu cheese might be hard to find, and actually it looks like they switched the name from Sunergia to Veg Cuisine; not sure what's going on with the company or production. They have it at Pangea though: http://www.veganstore.com/product/vegcu ... ternatives

And I just used chopped regular Gardein chick'n scallopini (not the buffalo wings). I'd never had buffalo chicken dip before, but this was goood.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:53 am 
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You could try something like Isa's red hot tahini sauce
http://www.theppk.com/2012/12/hoppin-jo ... ot-tahini/

mixed with cream cheese. I'm a bit iffy on gardein because I don't care for it myself. I think it would be a better choice than seitan. If you can get beyond meat, that might be an even better option.

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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:57 am 
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If you like to cook, after experimenting for a time you'll find or create substitutes that you like. But for a lot of dishes, the veganized versions may not taste much like the original (they may even taste better) bu they will satisfy the same tradition or function.

TVP: If you're going to use this, reconstitute it in a very tasty broth. I use one of the vegan varieties of the "Better than Bouillon" and add additional seasonings too. If Butler's soy curls are sold where you live, they would be a better choice than TVP. But if you have a Whole Foods nearby, and want something very chicken-like, your best choice would be "Beyond Meat." It tastes very much like shredded chicken to begin with, and has fooled omnis.

Daiya:Since you melt the cheese anyway, you might make your own cheese sauce or melty cheese, and taste as you go/modify to get a flavor you like. Isa's queso cheese would be a great place to start, or look up recipes from "Artisan Vegan Cheese" or Jo Stepaniak's Uncheese cookbooks. Experiment, and if you don't expect the result to taste exactly the same, I think you'll find that you can create something that tastes even better.

edit: I just ready Amy's reply, and the Gardein scallopine would be great too!

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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:00 am 
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I'm not sure about the cheese, but I'd use chopped/shredded Beyond Meat for the chicken if you can get your hands on it. I feel like the texture of TVP wouldn't be right in this kind of thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:04 am 
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I would try the new Beyond Meat chicken strips and shred them yourself. And the Daiya wedges melt better in my opinion then the shreds do. You just have to take the block and shred it yourself. The toffuti cream cheese should be fine but Daiya makes a cream cheese now too. And for the ranch dressing Follow Your Heart makes a vegan ranch dressing or there are some good homemade recipes on the internet.

Does this recipe call for baking it? My family loves buffalo chicken dip but the kind that they make gets baked in the oven and they serve it hot.

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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:11 am 
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I liked Beyond Meat, but it seemed a lot more dense than Gardein, at least when I just chopped it up. I think it's better and shred-ier (?) if you kind of break it apart with your hands. Either would be good though!

There are some good recipes for vegan ranch too, which I think are basically Veganaise, apple cider vinegar, and some spices. Like this, I suppose: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/saladdre ... nranch.htm Make sure you use unsweetened (not just plain) soymilk.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:52 pm 
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I came across this recipe recently, although I haven't tried it yet: http://www.gfinthecity.com/2012/02/buff ... a-dip.html


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Tofu Pup

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GraciaKai wrote:
Does this recipe call for baking it? My family loves buffalo chicken dip but the kind that they make gets baked in the oven and they serve it hot.

No baking here -- just a simple, stovetop melt-and-combine in a saucepan. It is also served hot/warm.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:38 pm 
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My boyfriend and I specialize in veganizing horribly unhealthy dip recipes, and we have made buffalo chicken dip a few times. We do vegan cream cheese, daiya cheddar, vegan ranch (made from vegenaise, penzey's ranch seasoning, soymilk, silken tofu), frank's red hot to taste, and some sort of fake chicken. Then top with more daiya, bake until everything's warm and bubbly, and eat.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:48 pm 
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Amy wrote:
Shoot, I was going to recommend this one because I made it one once and it was delicious: http://www.cestlavegan.com/2010/08/buffalo-chicken-dip/

BUT, that soy bleu cheese might be hard to find, and actually it looks like they switched the name from Sunergia to Veg Cuisine; not sure what's going on with the company or production. They have it at Pangea though: http://www.veganstore.com/product/vegcu ... ternatives

And I just used chopped regular Gardein chick'n scallopini (not the buffalo wings). I'd never had buffalo chicken dip before, but this was goood.


If using all the obvious replacements didn't work for you, it might not be a bad idea to try something a little different like the recipe linked to above. What commercial vegan cheddars lack is the sharpness that comes from culturing. Lemon juice should really help give that effect. Vegenaise might sound weird but 1. vegenaise makes everything better, and 2. it's creamy and awesome and kind of takes on the flavor of whatever you add to it. Which brings me to my next suggestion: use Follow Your Heart bottled vegan ranch (which is based on Vegenaise). It's awesome and traditional and other bottled ranches suck. I see that bleu cheese at pretty much every Whole Foods, for what it's worth. Ask around.

You've gotta make the recipe your own, rather than try to make an exact replica with exact subs. Put a slightly different spin on it (like bleu cheese!) and people will be interested in it, rather than straight-up comparing it to the old version. Have fun experimenting, and please invite me to your parties.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:38 am 
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Amy wrote:
Shoot, I was going to recommend this one because I made it one once and it was delicious: http://www.cestlavegan.com/2010/08/buffalo-chicken-dip/


My friends make this, but they use the daiya havarti because we don't have vegan bleu cheese around here. I love it and beg them to make it every time there's an appropriate occasion, and we had a housewarming party with a couple vegans, lots of vegetarians, and a few omnivores, and everyone devoured it within the first hour.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:33 pm 
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Tofu Pup

Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:37 am
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Thanks, everybody, for the suggestions! Many good tidbits in there, both in terms of ingredients and in attitude when approaching the idea of veganizing recipes.

I am very intrigued by the book on artisan vegan cheese making, so that should be some fun all on it's own.

Next time I have the opportunity to make this type of dip, I'll give some of these ideas a whirl and post with the results.

Thanks again, Mike

P.S. Made my first vegan cheesecake (Isa's pumpkin cheesecake) and the vegan vanilla ice cream from Veganomicon to serve alongside and it went pretty well. It's not going to survive the weekend. Turns out a slice of pumpkin cheesecake and a few scoops of ice cream is not a bad way to recover from a hot mountain bike ride. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:15 pm 
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The original recipe seems pretty straightforward, and I'm betting the Tofutti cream cheese wasn't the problem. However, I've found that Daiya shreds can be kind of a nightmare. In fact, to make them at all palatable they need to be melted with a little liquid before adding them to a recipe, which helps eliminate the weird textural issues that make them pretty gross on their own.

Alternatively, you could try the Teese cheddar sauce, which works well when mixed with other stuff: http://www.chicagoveganfoods.com/teese_ ... gan_sauce/

For the shredded chicken I'd suggest chopped up Gardein strips (http://www.gardein.com/products.php?p=13) or the TJ's analogue (http://www.adventuresinfakemeat.com/201 ... first.html).

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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:12 pm 
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Tofu Pup
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If you have a trader joe's near you, I find their vegan shredded cheese blend to be superior in melting to daiya.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:32 am 
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anu wrote:
If you have a trader joe's near you, I find their vegan shredded cheese blend to be superior in melting to daiya.
I think only the TJ's mozzarella shreds are vegan, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:10 am 
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Tofu Pup
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Desdemona wrote:
anu wrote:
If you have a trader joe's near you, I find their vegan shredded cheese blend to be superior in melting to daiya.
I think only the TJ's mozzarella shreds are vegan, though.


Thanks for letting me know. I missed that :( I guess its targeted to lactose intolerant people.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:56 am 
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Jill wrote:
TVP: If you're going to use this, reconstitute it in a very tasty broth. I use one of the vegan varieties of the "Better than Bouillon" and add additional seasonings too. If Butler's soy curls are sold where you live, they would be a better choice than TVP.


Soy curls for the win!

My husband constantly marvels at how chicken-like they are. In fact, he simmered up a pot of cut-up chicken yesterday (bleah), and while he had it served over rice, I had my rice topped with slaw and soy curls sautéed in homemade bbq sauce. I offered him a bite, which left him asking for several more! He then assured me he had made the chicken for our teenager, and wish he'd known what I was making before he served himself.

I can't find them locally, but they are SO worth the order to the Butler website - particularly for a recipe that calls for shredded chicken (such as this dip, or in pozole, or... or...). They arrive quickly and can be stored for future use (I have several bags in the freezer now, which will shrink rapidly once I prepare for a feast of visiting omnis this holiday weekend).


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 Post subject: Re: Veganize this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:34 pm 
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I made the cest la vegan recipe last superbowl but I used tofu misozuke as the blue cheese sub. I thought it came out fantastic! It was sort of an investment though. Maybe if you made it yourself it might be a more afffordable dip!

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