I’ve been wanting to make a vegan version of this for years. However, classic King Ranch Chicken is made with two kinds of canned “cream of” soup, sour cream and cheese, and I was a bit overwhelmed by the idea of veganizing all those dairy ingredients and still ending up with something tasty and healthy. Then I came across The Homesick Texan’s Slightly Fancy-Pants King Ranch Chicken Casserole that she made without canned soup. She got me half way there and the rest is vegan comfort food history.
There’s so much going on in this that I imagine you could make all kinds of substitutions: red onion for the white, more fresh peppers for the jarred or vice versa, white sauce for the sour cream (use an extra tablespoon each of flour and olive oil and add a half-cup of non-dairy milk with the broth). You could skip the veggie chicken or seitan and add more beans, even. Next time I make this I’m going to try it without the lime juice as I’m not sure it’s necessary.
UPDATE: These days I do leave the lime juice out – I think the dish is actually better without it.
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, diced fine, about 1 cup
- 1 poblano pepper, diced fine
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup Toffuti Better Than Sour Cream
- 1 10-ounce can Rotel tomatoes with chilies, undrained (see note)
- 1 cup grated vegan cheese, such as Daiya or Follow Your Heart
- juice from 1 lime, about 1-1/2 tablespoons (optional)
- 2 or 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 cup roasted piquino peppers or red bell peppers from a jar, finely diced
- 8 ounces veggie chicken or seitan, sliced and then shredded with your fingers
- 3/4 cup small white beans, cooked and drained
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional)
- 10-12 corn tortillas
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté onion, poblano pepper and mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute. Transfer to a bowl.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pot, then stir in flour and vegetable broth. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens. Add sour cream, tomatoes, and cheese. Cook, stirring frequently, until cheese melts. Add lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper to taste.
Add reserved mushroom mixture. Add remaining ingredients except tortillas.
Heat oven to 350 F. Oil a 9 x 13-inch pan or 2 8 x 8-inch ones. Layer a third of the sauce in pan(s) (about 2 cups), top with half the tortillas, then another third of the sauce, the remaining tortillas and the remaining sauce.
Bake for 30 minutes or until hot in the center and bubbly at the edges.
Note: If Rotel tomatoes aren't readily available, stir together a 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes with a 4 ounce can of mild green chilies. Use half of the mixture for this casserole and freeze the rest to use in another batch of this casserole or chili or soup.