Everyone has those childhood dishes that are forever inscribed in their memories. Thankfully enough, my mom has eagerly veganized a couple of my own childhood favorites over the years so we can continue to enjoy them. This weekend, she brought two of these classics back in one delightfully filling evening ensemble.
The first is a dish that not only centers around Rotel Dip, but includes my favorite childhood vegetable, green beans, along with yellow rice. I’m not sure what originally inspired my mom to combine these three entities into one dish, but it’s certainly a favored entrée that has withstood the test of time. My mom brings out this dish when requested for special occasions, in this case, the extended holiday weekend that just passed. Rather than the traditional version of Rotel Dip, requiring Velveeta cheese and Jimmy Dean Sausage, simple swaps of vegan cheese and vegan sausage can be made to reinvent this classic in plant-based fashion.
- 1 roll of Gimme Lean Sausage (or 1-2 cups crumbles)
- 1 can Rotel Diced tomatoes and green chiles
- 1 – 2 cups Daiya cheddar style shreds (or other preferred vegan cheese)
Brown vegan sausage in skillet on stovetop on medium-high heat, with light amount of olive oil. Stir in can of drained Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles. Reduce heat and let simmer. Mix in vegan cheese and allow to melt. Continue to add cheese until desired consistency and cheesiness is reached. Dip is cooked when heated throughout.
Although the sauce can be eaten on its own (with the help of chips), it can be layered between freshly cooked green beans and yellow rice to make an entire meal (as pictured above).
Not only did I convince my mom to mix up the Rotel dip this weekend, she resurrected another favorite for dessert, fruit pizza. Although typically my most adored sweet treats contain chocolate, fruit pizza is a total exception to this rule—a sugary sweet one, might I add. This particular pizza is not something that she makes too frequently since it is most certainly a sugar-filled indulgence, and since I have a hard time putting it down once I dig in. However, this pizza makes appearances on special occasions and was unveiled over the course of the extended holiday weekend, immediately following the dip. In my humble opinion, this is a classic dessert pie that deserves making a comeback from time to time in vegan form, so I’m glad that my mom continues to enjoy making it happen.
- Refrigerated vegan sugar cookie dough*
- 8 oz. container of vegan cream cheese
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ½ Tbsp. vanilla
- Assorted fruit (i.e. mandarin oranges, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi)
*Vegan Sugar Cookie Dough Crust: If you have your own vegan sugar cookie dough recipe on hand, feel free to use it for the crust. If not, the sugar cookie dough recipe listed below is one that my mom adapted from a Chez Bettay sugar cookie recipe that she stumbled upon a few years ago, when she first decided to transform this family dessert and make it vegan. This sugar cookie dough recipe makes plenty of dough for the pizza, plus leaves you with enough dough to bake up 2-3 dozen sugar cookies to share with friends. If you prefer not to have any excess dough on hand, you can cut this recipe in half.
- 5 cups unbleached flour
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup vanilla almond milk (soy milk, or other non-dairy milk alternative)
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 13-ounce carton of Original Earth Balance Buttery Spread
To prepare the dough, cream together the butter and sugar using a mixer. Add baking powder, almond milk and vanilla and mix well. Gradually add flour. Shape into rolls and wrap each roll individually with wax/parchment paper. Allow to set in fridge overnight.
When you are ready to make, remove cookie dough from fridge and cut into slices that are ¼ inch thick. Line a lightly greased pizza pan with overlapping slices of dough. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Give time to cool.
For the cream cheese topping, combine cream cheese with sugar and vanilla, mixing until well-blended. Generously spread mixture over crust. Arrange your selected fruit over this cream cheese layer. Note: This is the part that kids seem to especially love. Personally, when I was a small child, I thought getting to arrange the fruit in fun patterns was the best thing ever.
Once your fruit is all set and ready, place in fridge, allow to chill and then get ready for this pizza to be gone in no time. Although technically the pizza serves 8-10 persons, this weekend it went quickly with the help of just three mouths (mine included).