• Thee Burger Dude

Vegan Nacho Fries


Let's make the ICONIC Fries from Taco Bell at home, TOTALLY VEGAN and available all year round!


The Nacho Fries from Taco Bell are admittedly, pretty dang good, especially for fast food. Sure, anybody who goes to Taco Bell on the regular will tell you that they are inconsistent, sometimes they are fresh and crispy, other times, a bit soft and soggy. But that's pretty normal with fast food.


Now the actual fries themselves are already vegan. So I've sampled them a bunch, and I can confidently say that these are just as good, if not better because they are always FRESH! Plus, most the time, homemade versions rely on a cheese powder, so this will be for the times when Taco Bell doesn't offer these (which is most the time it seems, these are only available about 2 months out of the year from what I can tell.)


And obviously the cheese sauce at Taco Bell isn't vegan, so we'll be doing that up proper too!


Here's a HANDY DANDY VIDEo!



Potatoes / Fries


For the Fries, you have 2 options. Fresh Potatoes, or Frozen Fries. Now for me, I found that 2 pounds of Russets were $3, and 2 pounds of Frozen Fries were $4.50. Personally for my time and money, it's worth the extra $1.50 to opt for the frozen fries. It just saves a ton of time and hassle. But that being said, if you want to do fresh, here's what you need to do.


Wash and peel the potatoes. Slice them into french fry shapes. I usually just halve the potato, then cut it into planks and then cut those planks into fries. I would go about 1/2 inch thick. Then add those fries to a pot of boiling, salted water for about 5 minutes, or until they are slightly undercooked. Drain them, and pat dry, and then add to the freezer for an hour or until they are nice and dried out. You can even freeze them overnight!


After that, you can follow the rest of the recipe as written. We'll basically just be coating the fries in some seasoned cornstarch to get them extra crispy. Then once they're fried, we'll toss them in that cheesy fry seasoning, and that's basically it!



Seasonings


The seasonings are the star of the show here really! And for my version, since we aren't using cheese powder, we'll be relying primarily on two important seasonings, Sazon and Nutritional Yeast!


Now Nutritional Yeast or NOOCH as we call it, should be familiar to you. If not, it's a savory, cheesy magical dust that you need in your pantry. It's basically mandatory for anybody making my recipes.


Sazon is also one of my favorite seasoning blends, especially in this kind of scenario. I can find it at my local Latin American market, but it's widely available online too, link HERE. Sazon is made up primarily of Annatto, which gives us that nice orange hue, MSG, and then stuff like garlic powder and cumin. It's super savory and delicious!


Now if you can't find this, I have provided a recipe to make your own. If you can't get Annatto, don't worry. The flavor will be good, but you just won't get that cool orange hue.


Oh and I highly recommend blending all the seasonings up in a Spice Blender. I'm not sure why (I'm guessing SCIENCE) but the flavors are way more intense when ground to a dust. Plus the coatings will be less chunky. That being said, it's totally optional, but you might not get the best flavor possible.


You will likely have some leftover Sazon (if you make it) and Cheesy Fry Seasoning, but that's a good thing! You can use it on just about anything, in fact I just had it on some popcorn last night and it was dynamite!


Also, if you don't wanna bother with any of these seasonings, you can probably get away with just adding some Nooch to Taco Seasoning and be okay, won't taste the same, but will still be delicious I'm sure!


 

cheese sauce


Now for the cheese sauce, in the video, I did a pretty basic cheese sauce, but added in some brine from a jar of pickled jalapenos, and some seasonings like garlic and onion powder, smoked paprika and Sazon. I used Sodium Citrate for an emulsifier, which is optional of course! I then thinned it out with some unsweetened plant milk.


In general, what I've learned over the past few years, is that different brands of vegan cheeses will all yield different results in sauces, especially in regards to the consistency and thickness. So adjust it to your preference with some unsweetened plant milk.


That being said, I think my favorite cheese sauce that I've made to this day, is the one for my most recent Philly Cheesesteak, right HERE. It's basically the same as the one we have here, but with some added cashew cream, which made the sauce, well creamy! I would maybe do that, and just add some more pickled jalapeno brine for some extra nacho cheese flavoring.


That being said, if you don't wanna bother with cashew cream, the sauce recipe below is still super dang good, so don't sweat it!


air fry option


If you prefer to air fry these, simply follow the instructions on your package of fries, or if you are using fresh potatoes, coat them as instructed below, but instead of deep frying, spray them with a bit of cooking spray, add to your air fryer preheated to 375 F / 180 C, and air fry for 5 minutes. Toss and spray with more oil, and repeat until fries are golden brown. Then toss them in the cheesy fry seasoning and you're done!

 


If you are interested in recommendations for Kitchen Gear, Spices & Pantry Items, or what I use for my Photos and Videos, please click HERE!


This post contains affiliate links, at no additional cost to you! Anything I earn will be put back into making recipes and videos for y'all. Thanks buds!


RECIPE


Homemade Sazon Method

Add everything to a Spice Blender and blend to a fine dust! You will likely have some leftover, but that's not a bad thing, it's super good in so many dishes. Experiment, have fun with it!


Nacho Fries Method

  • 2 pounds frozen fries (for fresh potatoes, refer to instructions above)

Fry Coating

Cheesy Fry Seasoning

INSTRUCTIONS


Add everything for the Fry Seasoning to a Spice Blender and grind to a dust! Add to a seasoning shaker if possible, will make your life easier! You will likely have some leftover, but that's a good thing! It's super good on just about anything, I had it on some popcorn last night and it was chef's kiss!


Next, add everything for the fry coating except the cornstarch to a spice blender and grind those up too. Add to a large bowl along with the cornstarch and whisk to combine. Then dredge the fries in the coating, ensuring even coverage. Depending on the size of your bowl you may have to do it in batches.


Then, to a wide, high walled skillet or dutch oven, add some neutral high smoke point oil such as peanut, vegetable or canola, and heat up to 375 F / 180 C. Once up to temp, fry the fries in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Gently stir them around to make sure they don't stick, and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes.


Once fried, take them out using a slotted spoon or spider, and gently shake off the excess oil. Then add them to a large bowl, toss and shake on the cheesy fry seasoning as you toss them. Coat them thoroughly! You can keep them warm in the oven on a wire rack lined sheet pan, set the oven to "Keep Warm" or on the lowest setting possible. Once all your fries are done, it's time to eat!


Cheese Sauce Method


Cashew Cream (optional)

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews

  • 1 cup unsweetened plant milk

Cheese Sauce

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 tsp Sodium Citrate (optional for smoother cheese)

  • 8 oz vegan cheese shreds

  • 1 Tbsp tapioca (optional to thicken)

  • 3-4 Tbsp pickled jalapeño brine

  • 1/4 tsp onion powder (or to taste)

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)

  • Salt to taste

  • Unsweetened plant milk (as needed)

INSTRUCTIONS


If using the cashew cream, soak the raw cashews in boiling water for 15 minutes. Blend the drained cashews with the unsweetened plant milk in a high speed blender until smooth.


If using sodium citrate, add the 1/2 cup of water and the sodium citrate to a saucepan, bring to a boil, then add in the cashew cream (if using), vegan cheese shreds, tapioca starch (if using), and everything else. Whisk to combine.


Taste and adjust for seasoning, if sauce is too thick, add some more plant milk until it's at your desired consistency!


ENJOY!

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