13 November 2016

Vegan Viands #19: Maggie's Vegan Ranch Chex Mix

Every late fall/early winter growing up, my mom would make chex mix. It was a frequent snack and even more frequent gift - going to teachers, neighbors, and friends. The smell and taste of that chex mix is unmistakable. It is one of those recipes that is so easy and delicious, taking just a bit of patience for a long, slow bake and seemingly longer cool. Although her recipe wasn't vegan, it was easily veganizable, meaning that I make my own every year.

Because of the ubiquity of my mom's chex mix, I thought that was the only way to take the on-their-own unremarkable cereals and make them into something magical.

As it turns out, I thought wrong.

Growing up, Shana often had a ranch-flavored chex mix. While similar in idea, the chex mix in Shana's recollection involved a ranch seasoning packet and oil, no bake time, and thus, no cooling time. This fall, when I expressed an interest in making my version, Shana requested that I attempt to make hers. After some googling, including to assess the ingredients of a ranch packet (so not vegan), I made an attempt. It was...not right. Fine, but not right. After some discussion, I made another version and brought it with us on a trip to see all our best friends. That version was delicious - not to mention gone in no time once we arrived.

So, if you're a vegan adult with memories of a ranch-style chex mix, look no further. This takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and will last a bit longer than that if you make sure to hide some from the masses.

Maggie's Vegan Ranch Chex Mix
2 c. wheat chex
2 c. corn chex
1 c. oyster crackers (see note)
1 c. chow mein noodles (see note)
3 T. canola oil
1 T. Penzeys Buttermilk Ranch seasonsing
1/2 tsp. plain/unsweetened soymilk powder
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)

1. Mix wheat chex, corn chex, oyster crackers and chow mein noodles in a bowl. Use your hands to minimize breakage.
2. Mix the oil, ranch seasoning, soymilk powder, and salt in a small bowl.
3. Pour the ranch mixture over the cereal mixture and then mix with your hands until all the pieces are well-covered. Store in a closed container.

Helpful Hints
  • Oyster crackers are easily found a grocery stores, but not all brands are vegan. Make sure to check your brands. For example, our local Kroger brand is not vegan, but the Nabisco brand is vegan. 
  • Shana wanted big flat chow mein noodles, as shown in the picture above. Those were harder to find, but you can also make this with the smaller style chow mein noodles, too (the ones that look kind of like friend spaghetti noodles). If you use those, I would recommend cutting down the amount just a bit, as they pack more into a cup than the large noodles do. 
  • Really, mixing with your hands is the best. You'll get greasy, but you'll keep the cereals intact. 
  • Penzeys Buttermilk Ranch is the same seasoning I use when I make ranch salad dressing. We keep it on hand. It's a great blend and doesn't have dill, which is what I dislike about most ranch seasonings. 
The post "Maggie's Vegan Ranch Chex Mix" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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