loaded with the best cheese-less cheese & spiciest meatless meat
Do you ever just have one of those weeks, where everything is basically against you & you struggle to find the silver lining to it all? And then realize it's only Wednesday? Welllllll, that's how things are going for me and I can't help but be a 'Debbie downer'! Luckily, it is already the middle of the week and we have a holiday weekend among us, so I guess I can say I'm happy for that. Plus, my dad will be in from Florida! Waahoo (in Homer Simpson voice, obv)! Sometimes when life get's me down, I have to try to find the good in my life, to help me push through the cruddy. I know. It's harder than it sounds!
So what better food to eat when you're oh-so-grumpy, like 24/7?! Comfort food! Loaded spicy, cheesy nacho fries are just what the doctor ordered (and by Doctor I mean me ;) ). Come on! Look at those fries, smothered in a homemade "cheese" sauce + the meatiest spicy meatless crumbles to top. I'm srsly drooling just looking at this picture. Erghh.
Anyway, this dish was inspired from a restaurant I used to love, but unfortunately will not be returning to. If you've read my previous post on Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese, you'll see how much I [used to] rave about "By Chloe". A vegan hot spot that's always packed out & the food is entirely plant based. It WAS my favorite spot to eat, until the head of "By Chloe", Chloe Coscarelli, was totally bumped out of the picture! She is a vegan cooking God, and my total chef idol! She was the co-founder and Executive chef, that developed the ENTIRE menu/recipes, for a couple of years, out of her tiny apartment. Talk about inspiration! If you've ever had to cook a butt ton of meals, not to mention developing from scratch dishes, out of a kitchen so small, you KNOW the struggle. Major kudos to you, Chloe!
Unfortunately, her partners at "ESquared Hospitality" (owners of the chain of Steakhouses, "BLT") wanted to take a different turn on their profits/crowd following, and open additional shops that would include meat & animal products on the menu. How could you take the earnings made from your entirely plant based restaurant, with NO animals being harmed, and turn it into a new joint that carries burgers and steaks and everything that is against Chloe's vision?! Fighting for what she believes in and stands for, Chloe did not agree with these changes and was pushed out of her OWN company. With that being said, I, as well as many of the followers & loyal customers of "By Chloe", are happy to say we will not be returning. Give my money to something we are totally against? No thank you!
SO anyhow, to get back on track, they have these crazy secret-menu fries that are topped with a vegan meat crumble and sauces like vegan chipotle aioli and mozzarella cheese sauce. Welp, since I will not be returning to devour Chloe's amazing French fry creation, I had to give it a go myself! I'd say they turned out QUITE successful, and Ryan & I had them 2 days in a row (obviously). SUPER Thankful for Ms. Coscarelli's talent, and introducing me to all the best plant based dishes, that are totally NOT boring. I am so excited to see what she has in store for herself in the near future! Hope you'll try these tasty fries for yourselves, guys! Enjoy :) xx Sam.
| Vegan |
I N G R E D I E N T S:
- Big ol batch of fries! (frozen, or make my version here)
- Jalapenos, to top
THE BEST DARN "CHEESE" SAUCE
- 1 cup of potatoes, peeled/cubed (I used yellow potatoes)
- 1/2 cup of carrots, peeled/cubed
- 1/4 cup of grape seed oil (or any neutral oil!)
- 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tsp of lemon juice
- 6 pickled jalapeno slices + 3 Tbs of jalapeno pickled liquid from jar
- 1 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp of corn starch
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tsp of onion powder
- 1 Tbs of nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 tsp of sea salt
SPICY BEEF-LESS TACO MEAT
- 1 8oz packet of seitan
- 2 Tbs of Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbs of Dried Oregano
- 1 Tbs of Paprika
- 1 tsp of Pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp of black pepper
- 1/2 tsp of sea salt
- 2 Tbs of Chili sauce (I used sambal oelek)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced/crushed
- Juice from half a lime
- 1 Tbs of water
FRIES: If you're making fries from scratch, start with these since they probably take the longest. If taking the frozen route (like I did above), you can pop them in the oven at any point. All components take super quick to make :)
NACHO "CHEESE": Start by bringing a few cups of water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Once boiling, add in your potatoes and carrots. Cook for just about 10 minutes, until they are fork tender. DO NOT over boil, because if they get too mushy, it'll ruin the consistency of your sauce. Drain & rinse, and toss in the blender with all remaining ingredients listed. Blend for a few minutes, until it's a super creeaaamy gooey cheese sauce! IT'S MAGICAL.
TACO "MEAT": Add all ingredients listed (aside from the seitan) in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and set this taco sauce ya just made, aside. Add the seitan to your food processor, and process until it resembled ground beef, or crumbly to your preference. Now, in a large frying pan over medium heat, add a tiny splash of olive oil. Once hot, add in the seitan crumbles and cook until heated through and slightly golden (just about 5 minutes). Now, pour in the taco slurry & toss to combine. Cook until completely heated through, absorbed, and bubbly. After about 5ish minutes, it'll really resemble a taco meat and the sauce will hold well to the seitan.
ASSEMBLE!: Add the cooked fries to a plate, and coat generously with "cheese & meat". I added some additional jalapenos for some kick, and you can totally add a vegan mayo aioli for added creaminess. Enjoy right away!
*Notes: This cheese recipe was developed by Hot For Food- another great spot to find amazing vegan recipes! Also, DO NOT be intimidated by the list of ingredients. You probably have most on hand, and it's just so easy, you can't not make em. :)