Healthy chili cheese fries

Hi everyone,

I’m finally back with a post that isn’t me complaining about how messy my life is. In fact, this post isn’t about me at all. Maybe that means I should stop talking about me and start talking about the real subject of this post: food. I’m a big fan of junk food that isn’t actually junk food and my partner is an even bigger fan since he’s a bit of a picky eater. So today I’m going to share with you one of those recipes, chili cheese fries. Who doesn’t love chili cheese fries? I actually never heard of it before I went vegan, so I have never had a meat and dairy version. Of course you could just open a can of chili, flavour some soy creamer and tear open a bag of frozen fries, but this version is tastier and healthier. It takes a bit of work since it’s actually made up of three simple recipes, but the chili and the cheese sauce can be made in advance and even be frozen, so it’s great for the food prep lovers out there. With a few simple adaptions this recipe can be either a regular decent meal or full on clean whole foods super healthy and even high carb low fat.

The recipe

To make it it’s best to start with the chili so it can sit and develop it’s flavours. You can always substitute this part with your own favourite chili recipe, but if you need a quick and easy recipe you should definitely give this one a try. For this recipe I used:

  • 1,5 cup kidney beans (canned or cooked from dried)
  • 1/2 cup sweetcorn, either fresh, frozen or canned
  • 1/2 red or orange bell pepper
  • 1 red or yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp of minced garlic
  • a handful of dry tvp (optional)
  • 1,5 cup pureed tomato
  • 1/2 tbsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp of cilantro/coriander powder
  • 1 tsp (or more to taste, maybe less for children) chili powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt (preferably sea salt or pink salt)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil (optional)

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Method:

Start by cutting up your veggies. Then rinse and drain your beans and if necessary your sweetcorn. In a large pot sauté the onions and garlic in either water or oil until glazed. Add the bell pepper, sauté for another minute and then add your beans and corn. Give it a good stir and then add the tomato sauce, spices and tvp. If you are using the tvp you might want to add 1/2 to 1 cup of water, because the tvp will soak up some liquid. Give it another good stir and let simmer for about half an hour, stirring regularly.

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The cheese sauce

Honestly I love this recipe. This is something I came up with based on a couple of recipes I found online. It’s a great hidden vegetable recipe suitable for these chili cheese fries, nachos or even a kid friendly pasta. It may seem complicated with the amount of ingredients, but it’s actually quite simple to make. It makes quite a lot, so you could either eat all three dishes in one week (or the same one, who cares) or freeze your leftovers for later.

What you need:

  • 1,5 pound of potatoes, peeled
  • 1 pound of carrots
  • 1/2 of one red or orange bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup of vegan cooking cream (I used alpro cuisine) or unsweetened almond milk (the cooking cream gives a heavier and creamier result, but the almond milk is healthier and cheaper, homemade almond milk or cashew milk is the healthiest option)
  • 1 tbsp of light miso
  • 1 tbsp of yellow mustard
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp of powdered garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp of paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp of turmeric powder (for it’s yellow colour)
  • 1 tbsp of salt (preferably sea salt or pink salt)
  • 1/2 tbsp of black pepper or cayenne pepper if you want to add some kick (optional)

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Method:

Roughly cut up your potatoes and veggies. Put them in a large pot and add water until it’s just covered. Bring to a boil and simmer until all veggies are soft. Turn of the heat and let cool, no need to drain. When it has cooled of enough to handle transfer the entire content of the pot, including the water, to a blender. Add the cream or milk, spices, salt, miso and mustard and blend until the mixture gets a smooth and creamy consistency. Reheat before using.

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The fries

Baked fries is probably one of the easiest things to make, but one of the hardest things to perfect. I haven’t had a decent oven for that long, so I’m not there yet, but we eat them a lot, so I’m bound to get there one day. I prefer to use young potatoes so I don’t have to bother peeling them, which saves a lot of time and effort. This recipe can be made with or without oil. Without oil is obviously healthier, but with oil gives you that junk food feel you might want out of fries. My partner tends to like them better with oil, but I’m good either way, so I generally make them with out if I just make them for myself. You can also play around with with their thickness. My partner prefers them thin, so that’s what he usually does, but again, I’m good either way, so I’m usually lazy and cut them thicker. These fries can be spiced however you like, but for these chili cheese fries I go with salt and black pepper.

What you need:

  • potatoes (preferably with a thin skin so they don’t need to be peeled), about 300 g per serving, we usually eyeball this
  • about 1 tsp oil per serving (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat your oven to 220ºC (about 430 F) Cut up your potatoes into fries and toss them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (you may need two baking sheets if you are making fries for several people). If you are using oil sprinkle it on top and toss to coat. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, you will need a lot less oil that way. Spread out evenly onto the baking sheet into a single layer. Sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste. Bake your fries until nice and browned. Cooking time may depend on the thickness of your fries. We usually put a timer to 20 minutes and keep an eye on them from there. Once you’re about 10 minutes in start reheating your chili and cheese sauce. Once everything is done, assemble onto your plate and enjoy.

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So I have this great light kitchen now, which makes it much easier to take pictures. Unfortunately that’s not much use after dark. Oh wel, not that much longer before it’s light until after dinner again.

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It was so good I actually went back into the kitchen after I finished it and made some more fries. This recipe is definitely a hit. I hope you’ll like it too. See you for the next one. Bye!

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