Vegan Buffalo Chex Mix
Perhaps the Richest Yet

I guess I need to stop calling these creations of late Chex Mix because many of them contain no Chex. Still, they are in the spirit of Chex Mix and you could certainly substitute some Chex Cereal, say the corn variety, for Bugles if the recipe calls for that childhood favorite, as this one does.

I have experimented with this recipe three times. The first time, which was delicious, I made it with a prepared dried Buffalo mix.  I had bought two packages, so I made it again because I couldn’t remember exactly the proportions I had used the first time.  That second time, I made it with slightly sweet Cheerios thinking that I could substitute those for the maple syrup. It wasn’t nearly as good, so I scratch that.

The third time, yesterday, preparing a batch for Bob’s and his business partner’s Easter baskets, I reached in the cabinet for the last package of Buffalo mix forgetting that I had purchased two and had already made the recipe twice. Not wanting to return to the grocery store after a 13 mile hike(!), I had to make up my own spice and vinegar mixture and I loved it even more. I hope you do.

For the liquid part of the mix, I used vegan butter because butter is very much a part of Buffalo sauce for wings. I also used vegan mayonnaise to create the tangy flavor of the blue cheese sauce into which many wings are dipped.

The vinegar, Liquid Aminos (Worcherstershire in typical Buffalo sauce), and hot sauce are also part of standard Buffalo wing sauce mixtures. And since the wings are often served with celery, I added some celery salt.

While it is true that most wing sauce recipes don’t call for paprika, I added some for color. And, because many wings are grilled and have a bit of a smoky flavor, I chose the smoky variety of paprika.

The maple syrup was to balance the mayonnaise and vinegar and I think it is perfect even though it is not part of a traditional Buffalo wing sauce recipe.

The same goes for all of the cereal and crunchy snacks.  They really aren’t found in wing recipes of course, but the Crispy Onions and Potato Sticks reminded me of onion rings and french fries such as you might find in a restaurant that would serve wings. The pretzels seem like bar food and, likewise, the Bugles reminded me of corn nuts which I associate with bar food.

The pecan halves are included because all snack mixes need nuts, I love them, and pecans seem particularly appropriate, even though I associate them with southern food & Buffalo wings were invented in Buffalo New York.  Go figure.

The Cheerios, in my mind, just have to be part of the mix because of their neutral flavor and the way they absorb all of the other flavors, not to mention their cute little shape.

So there you have it, the rationale for this deliciousness. Enjoy.

1/2 cup vegan butter
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon Frank’s RedHot, Sriracha (my choice) or your favorite hot sauce
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 cups Crispy Onions (sold in cartons or cans, often near the green beans because they are so often used to top green bean casserole)

3 cups Bugles

3 cups Pecan halves
3 cups Potato Sticks
3 cups Pretzel Sticks
4 cups Cheerios (unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cut butter into chunks, place in a large roasting pan, and place in oven to melt. Remove pan from oven and whisk in all remaining wet ingredients and spices. Then stir in the remaining ingredients one at a time in order. Place roasting pan in oven and roast for one hour, stirring well after every 15 minutes. Cool and store in airtight containers.

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Vegan Red Curry Popcorn with Cashews and Cabbage
(I know this sounds a bit odd,
but it is outrageously declicious)

Yield: 2 servings.

This recipe defies both description and categorization; hence, I didn’t know whether to tag it as a vegetable side dish, snack, slaw, or ???  I suppose it could even be a main dish.

But, no matter.  Whatever you call it or whenever you eat it–I was starved, so I invented it on the fly and devoured it for “brunch” today, as I am home on Spring Break with a bit more time to experiment–you will love it, odd as it sounds.

Be sure to serve it in a pretty Asian bowl with chopsticks to make a mouthwatering presentation that is as fun to eat as it is pretty.

1 tablespoon vegan butter

3 tablespoons vegan sour cream (you could use mayo or the thick part of coconut milk that separates in the can, but I wanted less calories)

1/4 teaspoon prepared Thai Red Curry Paste (feel free to add a bit more if you desire a more pronounced flavor and more heat)

1-2 tablesoon vegan fish sauce (sold as vegetarian in Asian markets), lime juice or half of each

6 cups popped kettle corn (slightly sweet and salty)

1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage (I buy it shredded in the bag; the type with some shredded carrot mixed in would be delicious too)

1/4 cup lightly roasted and salted cashew halves or peanuts + a couple for garnish

1 tablespoon pinched fresh cilantro leaves (feel free to chop but I was to impatient) + 2 sprigs for garnish

In a medium-large bowl, melt butter with sour cream in microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.whisk in curry paste and fish sauce.  Fold in remaining ingredients, except garnishes.  Pile into two small Asian-style bowls, garnish with cilantro sprigs and cashew halves, and serve immediately with chopsticks so that popcorn doesn’t become soggy.

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Vegan Chesapeake Bay Chex Mix

 

 

 

 

 

This Chex Mix contains no Chex…details, details.  Here’s why.

I wanted to create an “Old Bay” flavored snack mix with hints of a crab boil–ick, sorry–like corn and potatoes. So here is my thinking on ingredients: upon learning yesterday that original Bugles are vegan–yes!–I decided to use them in place of Corn Chex. Potato sticks and oyster crackers were no brainers.  As for the Cheerios and pretzels, well, I love them in traditional Chex Mix for their shapes, textures, and flavors. Peanuts and pecans were my choices of nuts becsuse they are just so darn southern.

My stroke of genius–if I do say so–was the vegan mayo and pickle juice whisked into the butter mixture.  I LOVE (vegan) tartar sauce and these ingredients lend just the right flavor notes.

I gave away all of this mix as gifts…but writing this post is making my mouth water and I wish I had just a tiny bit to satisfy my craving.

1/2 cup vegan butter

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

Juice of 1/2 large lemon

2 tablespoons sweet or dill pickle juice

1 teaspoon Liquid Aminos or vegan Worchestershire Sauce

2 tablespoons Chesapeake Bay Seasoning (or Old Bay Seasoning)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

6 cups Cheerios

2 cups original Bugles

2 cups potato sticks

2 cups pretzel sticks

2 cups oyster crackers

1 cup lightly salted and roasted peanuts

1 cup lightly salted and roasted pecsn halves and pieces

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Place butter in large roasting pan, slide pan in oven, allow butter to melt, and remove pan from oven. Whisk in mayo, lemon juice, pickle juice, Liquid Aminos, and spices. Then stir in remaining ingredients, in order, coating evenly with butter mixture. Roast for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes, remove from oven, cool completely,  and store in airtight containers.
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Vegan Greek Chex Mix

It’s official. I am obsessed. This is my 6th or 7th version of Chex Mix this year, each one–if I do say so–a flavor sensation.

Picking a favorite is akin to picking a favorite puppy.   So, my favorite is whichever is in front of me.

This iteration was inspired by Juan Gelpi’s vegan gyros. I could not get those flavors out of my mind after seeing his Instagram photo, even during Saturday morning yoga. I was mindful alright. Mindful that I was stopping at Whole Foods on the way home and procuring ingredients. (That is where I find vegan tapenades.)

Admittedly, this Chex Mix contains no Chex. That wasn’t my intention; it just didn’t seem to need more crunch. Or more anything. It is lemony, garlicky, nutty, Greek perfection. Hope you agree.

I made this for one of my late husband’s paralegals’ birthday with the surplus going to others at the firm. I had to get it out of the house quickly…before I consumed it all.

1/2 cup vegan butter

1/4 cup olive oil

Zest of one large lemon

1/4 cup (generous) vegan artichoke and garlic tapenade or something similar ( I used Seggiano brand)

1/4 cup (generous) vegan olive bruschetta or the like (I used Delallo brand)

2 tablespoons Greek (or Italian) seasoning (dried oregano and rosemary are key ingredients)

2 tablespoons Za’tar

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

Sea salt to taste

8.6 ounces Cheerios (I used Canadian Farms organic Purely Os)

8 ounces pretzels

9 ounces pita chips

7 ounces walnut halves and pieces

9 ounces shelled pistachios

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place butter in large roasting pan, slide into oven, and allow µbutter to melt. Remove and whisk in lemon zest, tapenade, bruschetta, and all spices.  Stir in remaining ingredients, one at a time until evenly coated. Roast mixture for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool, and package in airtight containers.

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Vegan Mustard Maple Chex Mix
This is Chex on Steroids!

If anyone’s counting, this is my 7th iteration of Chex Mix of 2017.  After some unsuccessful experiments adulterating my mother’s hallowed “Texas Trash” recipe (aka Chex Mix) years ago, I let it go for a number of years because all of the ingredients are expensive and the batches big.

But I’m back with a vengeance, and think I have discovered the way to make magic.  Hope you agree.

Though the weather is warming up, it is still February and I think the aroma in the air from someone’s fireplace on a recent cool night planted the seed for a maple-mustard iteration, a flavor combination that I associate with winter.

This may not be my most colorful version, but it may well be the richest.  Just try staying out of this one…it should come with some kind of warning.

3/4 cups vegan butter

3 tablespoons pommery mustard

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon Liquid Aminos

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1-6 ounce can roasted pecan halves

1-5 ounce packages potato sticks

1-6 ounce package crispy onions (like old timey cooks use to top their green bean casserole; French’s is a popular brand)

2 cups crunchy corn kernel snacks (I found these in the grocery store packaged in a clear plastic carton with other crunchy snacks like sesame sticks, pepitas, etc.)

3 cups Cheerios

2 cups wheat Chex cereal

Optional (but delicious) 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

 

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Place butter in large roasting pan and place pan in oven for a few minutes or until butter is melted.  Whisk in mustard, maple, garlic powder, and onion powder.  Then stir in all remaining ingredients in succession, gently stirring after each addition to coat with the butter mixture.  Roast for 1 hours, gently stirring up from the bottom every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir well, allow to cool completely–it will crisp even more as it cools–and package for eating or giving.  Note: I don’t find the mixture too buttery for an indulgent snack, but if you prefer to absorb a little of the oil, spread the mixture on brown paper bags or paper towels to cool.  

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Vegan Chex Mix Italiano

Photo Credit: Juan Gelpi

I just can’t stop. This is Chex Mix # 6 of 2017 and it is only February.

I gifted it to a couple who took me to dinner last night, as Bob had had to work late on a major project.  Dear friends and gourmet vegan cooks, Juan and Barbara Gelpi, wanted to introduce me to Ethiopian food at a small, charming cafe in VA Beach called Mesob.  (A mesob is a  a large colorful woven basket with a tall pointed lid and hole in the center; people sit around a mesob at mealtime with the food on a gebeta or large platter in the center.)

The Gelpis were veterans, but it was a new experience for me.  I discovered that I would eat just about anything scooped up in Injeri–so unbelievably bubbly and spongy–and will go back many times.

In the meantime, I will keep making one delicious batch of Chex Mix after another and sharing it with you, though warm weather is coming and I will probably curtail my experiments for the spring and summer.

After last night’s Ethiopian immersion experience, you can expect a berbere spiced batch.  For now, please enjoy my Chex Mix Italiano.

3/4 cup vegan butter

1/4 cup vegan basil pesto

1/4 cup vegan artichoike tapenade or pesto

5 cups wheat Chex Mix

4 cups Cheerios

1 1/2 cups Marcona almonds

1 1/2 cups veggie sticks

1 cup small rosemary and sea salt crackers (use any brand you love; mine came from Whole Foods)

1/3 cup pine nuts

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: red pepper flakes to taste (for a little bit of heat)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place butter in large roasting pan, slide into oven, and allow butter to melt.   Stir in both pestos or pesto and tapenade.  Then stir in remaining ingredients, one at a time, in order, to coat evenly with butter mixture.  Roast for 1 hour, stirring well up from the bottom every 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, allow to cool, and package mix in airtight containers.

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Vegan Curried Chex Mix
This is Next Level Chex!

I am sure it is clear to all of us by now that I am obsessed, as I believe this is my fifth Chex Mix iteration in the last month.

But I have a good excuse for this one.  Sadly, a neighbor’s too-young husband passed away Sunday night and I wanted to stop by in a show of support, but not empty-handed.

However, knowing that, if she is anything like me, food has all but lost its appeal, I also knew that she would likely be hosting others who might feel differently. So, wanting to try an idea for a curried Chex Mix, this seemed like the perfect unfortunate occasion.

On the way home from Pilates-Barre, I stopped at Pat’s house on my former street just around the corner.  Finally,  cars weren’t spilling out of her driveway; in fact, the windiws looked dark and I thought she wasn’t home.

But her daughter tearfully greeted me at the door, welcomed me into their cozy family room, and poured us a glass of wine while her mother retrieved her bourbon.   We proceeded to have the loveliest visit with which that Chex Mix would have gone perfectly. But Pat didn’t even know what was in the gift bag and I am glad she saved it…when I open a container of that stuff, regardless of the size, it becomes a single serving.

1/2 cup vegan butter

1 tablespoon vegan Indian tandoori paste (or your favorite prepared Indian sauce; sold in jars on thr international aisles of most grocery stores)

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 1/2 cups French’s crispy onions

1 1/2 cups potato stick snacks

1 1/2 cups lightly salted roasted cashews, halves or wholes

6 cups Cheerios

7 cups Chex Mix (I purchase a mixed corn, rice, and wheat variety, but choose your favorite or combine as desired)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place butter in large roasting pan, slide into oven, and allow butter to melt.   Stir in tandoori paste and all spices to combine.   Then stir in remaining ingredients, one at a time, in order, to coat evenly with butter mixture.  Roast for 45 minutes,  stirring every 15. Turn off oven, open door, and allow mix to sit for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, allow to cool, and package in airtight containers.  (Then, since no doubt you have been sampling along the way, give it as gifts as fast as you can lest you eat it all!)

 

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Vegan Mesquite BBQ Chex Mix

As I confessed in a previous post, I am darn near obsessed with rolling out new iterations of Chex Mix.  My adored late mother is, no doubt, doing her own share of rolling–as in rolling over–because she prefered classic, unadulterated versions of virtually all recipes, including her hallowed Texas Trash (aka Chex Mix) which made its annual appearance only at Christmas.

With new traditions the focus this Christmas, the second without her or my similarly adored late husband, I never made the Chex Mix, but I have been making up for it ever since with the creation of recipes for Taco-Fajita Chex Mix, Asian Chex Mix, Thai Chex Mix and, now, Mesquite BBQ.  The latter is COMPLETELY different from BBQ potato chips of which I am not a fan, as I find the flavor overpowering.  My Chex Mix is more subtle and complex.

If you are a purist when it comes to whole foods, fresh herbs, and shopping the perimeter of the grocery store–as I usually am–allow me to introduce you to the spice mix aisle where the McCormick brand rules in my local Kroger, though there are others.  It is a treasure trove of inspiration for, in my case, Chex Mix.

Perhaps my greatest contribution to the world of Chex Mix is the addition of ingredients not typically found in these mixes, e.g. Earth Balance “Cheddar” Crackers, French’s Crispy Onions (of green bean casserole fame), and Potato Sicks (my Asian versions include the likes of Chow Mein noodles, sesame sticks, and wasabi peas).  For this variety, I chose Corn Chex, as cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to (vegan) BBQ; Cheerios and pretzels because I love the contrast of shape and texture; “cheese” crackers, potato sticks, and crispy onions because, when I was a vegetarian in Nashville, I loved a potato, onion and cheese side dish with a crispy topping at the local BBQ joint; and pecans because I associate them with Texas and the south where BBQ rules.  But, I added some smoked almonds too because there is no such thing as too many nuts and because the smokiness is perfect in this BBQ-inspired iteration.

Choosing spice packets was challenging because of the many options.  Select whatever sound good–just check the ingredients list for whey and the like–but I ultimately decided on the combination of a mequite and a brown sugar-bourbon variety for a balance of spices, flavors–including tomoato–,smokiness, and just a hint of molasses-y sweetness.

Have fun playing with tastes and textures.  I would love it if you would share your results.  Here is mine:

1 1/2 cups vegan butter (it sounds like a lot BUT this recipe makes a lot and this amount is needed)

2-1 to 1.25 ounce packets of vegan BBQ or grilling spice mix (I used one mesquite and one brown sugar-bourbon vareity)

6 ounces smoked almonds

6 ounces pecan halves

1-5 ounce packages potato sticks

1-6 ounce package crispy onions (like old timey cooks use to top their green bean casserole; French’s is a popular brand)

1-6 ounce box Earth Balance “Cheddar” Squares

1-8 ounce bag pretzel sticks

1-14 ounce box Chex Corn Cereal

1-14 ounce box Cheerios (NOT the sweet ones)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Place butter in large roasting pan and place pan in oven for a few minutes or until butter is melted.  Whisk in spice mix.  Then stir in all remaining ingredients in succession, gently stirring after each addition to coat with the butter mixture.  Roast for 60 minutes, gently stirring up from the bottom every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir well, allow to cool completely–it will crisp even more as it cools–and package for eating or giving.  Note: I don’t find the mixture too buttery for an indulgent snack, but if you prefer to absorb a little of the oil, spread the mixture on brown paper bags or paper towels to cool.  

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Vegan Thai Chex Mix
This One is Over the Top!

You know those crispy onions on top of green bean casserole from “back in the day”?  Well, they are vegan, and they aren’t just for casseroles anymore…

As I explained in my previous post, one of my mother’s Christmas traditions was to make an enormous Tupperware container of “Texas Trash,” aka Chex Mix every Christmas.  Gone for two Christmases now, my father, sister, and I haven’t been very good about maintaining the tradition which may explain why I am craving it in January and keep thinking up new iterations upon which she would frown in keeping with her “why mess with perfection” philosophy.

But mess I do, and I think you will approve, though you should feel free to do your own “messing around” with this recipe.  There is nothing sacred about it, but it is outrageusly delicious as is.  I simply fantasized about some of my favorite ingredients in Thai curries, and those that are sold in a dried form were in: cashews, peas, potatoes, onions, and rice.  Cheerios are included for shape and texture contrast and because I adore they way they soak up the buttery seasoning.

1 1/2 cups vegan butter (it sounds like a lot BUT this recipe makes a lot and this amount is needed)

1-1.75 ounce packet of Taste of Thai Green Curry Paste (sold in a pouch inside a cardboard cover)

16 ounces salted or lightly salted cashew halves and pieces

2-5 ounce packages Wasabi peas

2-5 ounce packages potato sticks

2-6 ounce packages crispy onions (like old timey cooks use to top their green bean casserole; French’s is a popular brand)

1-14 ounce box Chex Rice Cereal

1-14 ounce box Cheerios (NOT the sweet ones)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Place butter in large roasting pan and place pan in oven for a few minutes or until butter is melted.  Stir in sesame oil, soy sauce, seasoning packets, Nori powder, orange zest, and seasoning salt.  Add remaining ingredients in succession, gently stirring after each addition to coat with the butter mixture.  Roast for 60 minutes, gently stirring up from the bottom every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir well, allow to cool completely–it will crisp even more as it cools–and package for eating or giving.  Note: I don’t find the mixture too buttery for an indulgent snack, but if you prefer to absorb a little of the oil, spread the mixture on brown paper bags or paper towels to cool.  

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