This dish is a twist on a classic favorite. Ooey gooey, super creamy and surprisingly very healthy!
My cousin and I were chatting back and forth the other night via text. We talked about usual stuff: life, family, and our favorite, FOOD!
She sent me a picture of some loaded cheese fries she’d gotten from a Mexican restaurant and I couldn’t get the image out of my head. I HAD to have them. The challenge was to create a plant-based version that would look and taste as delicious as her traditional dish. The challenge was on!
As luck would have it I had just made vegan nacho cheese from a recipe by Make It Dairy Free the day before. And it is absolutely delicious! I knew it would be one of the main ingredients in the dish. Next, I needed to find a really good meat substitute. Her fries had steak. I didn’t have the time to create mock steak so I opted for taco meat made from cauliflower and mushrooms, both of which I had on hand. Once the taco “meat” was made it was just a simple matter of assembling everything.
Here are recipes for the nacho cheese sauce and the taco meat.
1 15 oz can Butter Beans, drained and rinsed
1 4 oz can diced jalapeños or green chilies (per your desired heat level)
1 cup unsweetened dairy free milk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup vegan butter
2 Tbsp oat flour
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp onion powder
Pour all ingredients into a high powered blender.
Blend for 5 minutes or until you have a thickened, creamy, well-combined sauce.
Serve warm (if using a VitaMix, set to soup level and sauce will be nice and warm!)
Top with diced tomatoes and/or jalapeños to serve.
Store leftovers in air tight container for up to 7 days.
1 small head cauliflower (2 cups)
4 oz fresh mushrooms
2 Tbsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven roll 350 degrees F.
Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor or Ninja until you have a rice like consistency, and you have 2 cups.
Lightly pulse the mushrooms in the food processor to the same consistency as the cauliflower.
Stir in soy sauce and mix.
Stir in spices and mix well, making sure everything is mixed thoroughly.
Spread mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
Stir lightly and continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Once you have these prepared and ready (can be made a day ahead), it’s time for the fries. I used an air fryer and made these with gold potatoes (I’m currently addicted to them). Russet potatoes make the best fries though.
Cut potatoes into fries. Place in cold water for one hour to allow some of the starch to soak out. Dry thoroughly! Coat with a tablespoon of olive oil and seasonings to taste (I used garlic powder, paprika, pepper and a little salt). Mix by hand to make sure each piece is coated well. Cook in air fryer in single layer batches on 360 degrees F for 13 minutes. Let sit in oven on lowest setting while preparing each batch.
Now, the assembly of the amazing plate of cheese fries!
Cauliflower taco meat
Sautéed mushrooms and onions (I used the other half of the mushrooms and some onion and water sautéed with garlic powder, pepper and a dash of turmeric - they add extra “meaty” texture and flavor).
A few vegan mozzarella shreds (this helps hold everything together in the middle!)
Guacamole (smash an avocado and add a squeeze of lime, salt and red onion or use your own favorite guacamole recipe).
Vegan yogurt or sour cream of choice.
Vegan nacho cheese sauce! (Don’t be light-handed here!)
A few sprinkles of vegan cheddar and mozzarella cheese on top to hold everything together.
(This was my ingredient choice but you can use any toppings you love).
Stick in a hot oven for a few minutes to let the cheese melt. Remove from oven, sprinkle with green onions, jalapeños or cilantro (or all of them if you like!) and dig in!