Vegetarian Chili Cheese Fries

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Vegetarian Chili Cheese Fries
Vegetarian Chili Cheese Fries

Vegetarian Chili Cheese Fries
Vegetarian Chili Cheese Fries
I think when discussing the move from fast food/junk food to whole foods, one major discussion is left out: how unbelievably hard it can be to leave the junk behind. I still crave fried food (my serious downfall are onion rings and fried cauliflower) and I may or may not have eaten a doughnut or two for breakfast yesterday. It's hard because most convenient food is crap and usually when I eat junk, I regret it later and I usually vow to never eat it again (although, I have an addictive personality and a forgetful memory, so I usually end up eating it again.)

I know some people who are awesome at always eating great foods for the body but that's not me. Life gets in the way sometimes.

So, part of the process of moving away from all junk is to create fun snacks and meals that rival that of the junk food but I don't feel like crap for eating. I feel like you can't go wrong with chili cheese fries. Feel free to sub in your favorite chili recipe, or try your hand at making these vegan by using cashew nacho cheese, or swap out the regular fries for some crispy cornmeal sweet potato fries (I would have done this in the first place but I didn't have a sweet potato- shocking, I know.)


Vegetarian Chili Cheese Fries

  • Author: Erin Alderson
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: 2-4 1x


  • Chili
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper, minced
  • 1 jalapeño. minced
  • 2 cups (1 jar or 1 1/2 15 oz can) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups shredded sweet potatoes (1 small sweet potato)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup kidney beans*
  • 1-2 cups veggie broth
  • Fries
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cheese Sauce
  • 2 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4-1/2 cup 2% or whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Preheat oven to 425˚ and grease a baking tray or cover with parchment paper.
  2. To make chili, heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add olive oil. Toss in minced onion garlic, pepper, and jalapeño. Cook until onion is soft, 5-6 minutes.
  3. While onion cooks, puree half the tomatoes in a blender with the spices to create a sauce-like consistency. Add the pureed tomatoes, remaining diced tomatoes,shredded sweet potatoes, quinoa, and beans (if using) to the pot Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until ready to serve. Add veggie broth as needed to create the chili consistency you like.
  4. To make fries, rinse well under water. Cut the ends off the potato, stand up on end, and cut slices from the potato that are ¼” thick (depending on how thick you want your fries- cut accordingly) Take slices and cut fries out of the potato-using ¼ ” as the measurement.
  5. Once all fries are cut, place in medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients, tossing until every piece is covered. Spread out onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes, flip the fries, and bake for a remaining 10-15 until fries are crispy (35-45 minutes total.) Make sure to not over crowed the pan- this is result in uneven baking.
  6. Finally, once fries are almost done, combine cheddar cheese and cornstarch in a small pot. Heat over medium low and stir until cheddar begins to melt. Add 1/4 cup milk, paprika, and garlic powder, stir until mixture comes together. Add more milk, 1-2 tablespoon at a time, to reach a pourable nacho cheese.
  7. Assemble fries by pour cheese and chili on top.


*I tend to leave the beans out of the chili for the fries but feel free to leave them in! I also leave the consistency of the chili and cheese sauce up to you- I know some people love thick chili and some love a bit thinner. Furthermore, baked fries go soggy a bit quicker when smothered with cheese and chili. Wait until the last minute smother the fries!


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21 comments on “Vegetarian Chili Cheese Fries”

  1. I remember Michael Pollan saying in one of his books that it's ok to eat as much junk as you want provided that you cook it yourself. I think your recipe more than fits the bill! Thank you for the link to the cashew cheese. I can't stand nutritional yeast, but the cashew actually sounds good.

  2. Love your open and honest attitude towards food - I feel the same way on many occasions and this is such a useful backpocket recipe when the craving strikes!

  3. Yes!! I love that you take comfort food (and dishes that aren't usually so good for us) and turn them into real, unprocessed versions. These look amazing, Erin!

  4. oh I totally love chilli cheese fries! I don't eat beef and very selective on the rest of the meat family. This is something I would definitely prefer and it is a healthier alternative to the comfort delight! x

    PS - my father LOVED the apple pie. He was so touched when I told him I found a recipe that he can actually eat. A special recipe we will hold on to. Thank you 🙂

  5. Mmmm these look good. This is one of things I miss most from being a vegetarian!!! I think I'll definitely be trying these out soon!

  6. Mmm, cheesy fries, what a winter delicacy! These are the things I crave when it's 20 degrees and snowing.

  7. These are perfect in so many ways! I would never miss the meat or fried potatoes with these!

  8. recipes like this remind me why being a vegetarian is super easy and delicious. These are perfect for a chilly and lazy afternoon on the couch!

  9. ha, I can't believe that's not a sweet potato! :). I'm in awe how you just made chili cheese fries look so beautiful... that melty cheese is just gorgeous!

  10. These chili cheese fries look delicious! I totally agree that it's super important to come up with alternatives to junk food that are healthy, but still satisfy that junk food craving. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Hi! I have a question about this recipe... the shredded sweet potato is uncooked right? Thank you!

  12. I look forward to trying your chili recipe. I am always looking for that perfect blend of spices for chili, and yours sounds very promising since it does not involve heaps of chili powder.

  13. I made the cheese sauce for the second time tonight for Sunday Night Football. i had the chili leftover from the first time and I mixed 1/2 a cup of chili with the cheese sauce (best chili con queso ever) and poured it over home made baked tortilla chips and a side of guac. HEAVEN!

  14. Recently went back to being a pescatarian, but I LOOOVE chili cheese fries! Excited to try this out!!


Welcome to my little internet nook. On this site you'll find over a thousand vegetarian recipes, pantry knowledge, and more. I'm ever obsessed with food from gardening, cooking, and preserving. I hope you'll find endless inspiration on these pages and visit often. 

Virtual hugs, Erin (aka: e.l.l.a.)

a few good grain recipes

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