Vegaptation: Shrimpless Shrimp Dip

Vegaptation is my attempt, for better or worse, to make meatless versions of existing recipes. Bonus points if I can make them vegan.

Good day, kids. Welcome back for another round of attempting to vegetarian-ize some distinctly non-veggie-friendly recipes. This time around, we’re tackling what used to be my grandmother’s shrimp dip.

This recipe is pretty much the pinnacle of post-war, processed-food-filled recipes from the 1950s and 1960s. It’s very much not a vegetarian-friendly dish. It calls for cream cheese, gelatin, canned tomato soup, shrimp and Miracle Whip. That’s right. Also, there’s pretty much nothing about it that’s healthy.

So the challenge here is to find something to replace the shrimp and another thickener instead of gelatin. I decided to chop up some tomato and spinach in place of the shrimp and I used arrowroot instead of gelatin. I chose it because it was the only gelatin substitute I could find at the store I went to, but if you have a preference for something else, try that instead. Just remember the amount you need might change.


about 1 and a half tomatoes

a handful of spinach

1 cup Miracle Whip

8 oz cream cheese

1 can tomato soup

about 2 and a half tablespoons of arrowroot

It’s really not a difficult recipe. First you heat the tomato soup, then add the cream cheese and stir it until it melts smooth. Then you add the Miracle Whip and let it melt in. Follow that with the arrowroot, then the veggies. Keep the heat low and stir it until it thickens. Then dump the whole mixture into a bowl or plastic container and refrigerate it until it gets an almost jelly-like texture. It might take a full 24 hours to get really thick, especially using arrowroot instead of gelatin. I actually waited almost 48 hours before I tasted it, but that’s because I was busy, not because you need to wait that long.

That’s it. Use bread, crackers or fresh chopped up veggies to dip it. It should have a tangy and tomato-y taste to it.

Verdict: Success! It’s a tasty dip.

Vegan bonus round: Not going to lie, this might not be vegan possible. There are vegan versions of both cream cheese and mayo that you could try, but I haven’t personally tested them. I don’t know if they will melt the same way or have the same flavor. If you do use vegan mayo, you will probably want to add in some spices like garlic or onion (the original recipe actually calls for dried onion, but I forgot until it was too late) because Miracle Whip has some spice in it. Let me know how it works out if you try to veganize it.


By [E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

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