Monday, November 2, 2015

Hot or Cold Vegetarian Crab Dip

I'm not a big fan of food labels. People always ask me what I am. I don't think many people eat by strong boundaries, unless of course if they have allergies or beliefs. For example, I am a vegetarian but have many vegan-tendencies ... I don't use cow's milk or regular mayonnaise, but will eat eggs, cheese and yogurt. I'm not gluten free but I try to use a lot of alternative flours in meals and baking. I think many people have those few exceptions in their life too. I like to consider myself a moderation eater (except no meat or fish), but even more importantly, I am a dipper. Anything that I can dip is a bonus in my book!

Labeling recipes can be so hard for me because almost in all situations, it only takes one substitution for it to go from vegetarian to vegan, gluten-filled to gluten-free, nut-filled or nut-free, dairy filled to dairy-free ... I think you get the idea. This is one of those recipes. A friend and I were recently talking about crab dips. she just had a really good one at a friends house and she felt bad for me since it's been so long since I've had crab dip. This quickly lead to the substitutions conversation about how easy it is to make any recipe fit your diet with a little bit of research.

For instance, I've seen a lot of recipes for jackfruit barbecue instead of using meat. I've always wanted to try one, but I just love my lentil barbecue so much I can't seem to pull the trigger. Since I am a dipper, I was ready to jump on this opportunity a lot faster than the barbecue (even though I use my barbecue as a dip too!). We did I quick google search and saw that a lot of people have used hearts of palm for a seafood substitution. To be honest, I've never used hearts of palm so I was pretty excited to try it. I've always seen it, usually by the artichokes in the grocery store so I knew it wasn't going to be hard or rare ingredient to find.

The hardest part of making this recipe was not hiding the hearts of palm. I wanted to showcase the vegetable amongst everything else I was adding to it. After trying a few different things out, I learned that the size of the hearts of palm was the deal breaker. Don't chop them too small, they should be, at the very least, twice the size as anything else so the texture really shines through. The first time I served this to people they were surprised and asked when we started eating fish again ... and this came from the biggest fisherman that I know! I knew I hit a home run.

Again, with this recipe, simply use vegenaise, vegan cream cheese and vegetarian worsteshire sauce and it's vegan! Now, the only thing that I have a hard time deciding is if this should be served hot or cold! Both ways are both so good so I have been doing hot dip on cold days and cold dip on hot days.

Next attempt ... a smoked 'fish' dip! If this worked out so good, I'm interested in using hearts of palm a bit more. Look for that recipe soon.

Vegan Crab Dip

Vegetarian Crab Dip

Makes 2 cups

14 oz can hearts of palm, large chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c green onions, chopped
1/4 c red bell pepper, diced
2 oz diced pimiento, drained
8 oz cream cheese, softened (regular or vegan)
1/4 c vegenaise
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t worsteshire sauce
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
dash cayenne pepper
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Heat a little oil in a pan. Cook the hearts of palm and garlic until hearts of palm are nicely browned on all sides.

Vegan Crab Dip

In a bowl, add all ingredients and mix well.

Serve right away if you would like or refrigerate until ready. If you want a hot crab dip, preheat oven for 350ยบ and bake for 15 minutes or until heated through (time may vary depending on serving dish).

Vegan Crab Dip

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