Cream cheese is one of those food items that vegans didn’t have until recently. The deliciously smooth and versatile properties of this product offer a variety of options and allows us to have our cheesecake and eat it too!
Just the other day I tried the newly debuted cream cheese by Galaxy Nutritional Foods, Inc. and I must say…I really like it! They currently have two flavors available: Classic Plain and Chive & Garlic. Both have a taste and texture amazingly like the traditional dairy version and, in my experience, hold up wonderfully when baked. I really don’t have anything negative to say except that I feel the Chive & Garlic needs a little added kick, like a subtle zing of garlic flavor.
Below is a recipe for “Crab” Rangoon which reminds me of the traditional restaurant-style version I used to have back when I ate meat. I LOVED this stuff. Vegan crab can be difficult to find in stores, but is available from online retailers such as Pangea and Vegan Essentials. Galaxy Nutritional Foods’ cream cheese, however, is available at Whole Foods as well as other natural food stores and many local supermarket chains. Developed so that the “crab” is optional, the following recipe is complete with a simple recipe for Sweet & Sour Sauce.
Restaurant-Style “Crab” Rangoon with Sweet & Sour Sauce
Yields 20-25 pieces
Sweet & Sour Sauce:
½ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon arrowroot
¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons tomato paste
peanut oil for frying
¼ pound vegan crab (optional)
1 (8-ounce) container plain imitation cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods)
2 teaspoons green onion, finely minced
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon soy sauce (1 teaspoon if not using crab)
20-25 wonton wrappers*, thawed
Begin with the sauce by combining pineapple juice and rice vinegar in a small saucepan. Whisk in arrowroot until dissolved. Add sugar and tomato paste, and stir until combined. Cook over high heat, stirring continuously until mixture boils. Continue to cook and stir until sauce thickens slightly, approximately 30-60 seconds. Set aside and allow to cool.
Heat peanut oil in a medium-size saucepan until approximately 375º F.
Meanwhile, begin putting together the “crab” rangoon by combining “crab” (if using), cream cheese, green onion, garlic, sugar and soy sauce. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each wonton wrapper and moisten the edges of each wonton wrapper with water. Gather all four corners together at the top and pinch gently to seal, ensuring that all sides are sealed.
Add 1-2 rangoon at a time to the preheated oil and fry until golden brown, about 15-20 seconds. They may need to be turned over and held down so that the tops are browned as well. Remove with a heat-resistant slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all rangoon have been fried. Allow to cool before serving.
*Many wonton wrappers contain eggs or other animal products so be sure to read the ingredients. The brand I use is Twin Marquis which is available at Asian grocery stores as well as online. Click here for a photo.
NOTE: My intention with this blog is to spread the good word about vegan food and to share my personal recipes. I occasionally receive free samples and will sometimes use and mention them here on Vegan Food Addict in an effort to help further promote a plant-based diet and the variety of foods available. The cream cheese noted in this recipe was a free sample provided by Galaxy Nutritional Foods, Inc. The views and opinions expressed herein are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect that of others.