If you’re new to living with a restricted diet, or perhaps you’re trying to clean up your diet, you may think that your old faves are off the menu. They’re not. Let me say this loud and clear: dietary restrictions do not mean that you can’t enjoy awesome food.
In the case of free-from chili cheese fries, the biggest concern for most of you reading is the cheese. We’ll talk more on that later on. If you’re reading and perhaps have an allium or nightshade restriction, you can still have chili cheese fries. In your case, I’d call it the Memories of Chili Cheese Fries.
It’s important that you manage your expectations because when you need to remove core ingredients, the end results won’t be what you’re use to, just different, and still delicious. If you’re removing alliums from a chili recipe, be sure to use bell pepper and a good amount of flavourful herbs in their place. Should you be removing nightshades, you’re making more of a white bean chili.
You’d make a white sauce, still have the meat and beans, and use aromatics and flavourful herbs. Is it the same as a tomato based chili? Nope. Is it still awesome? Heck yes!
Making Your Chili
The first step in making chili cheese fries is to make your chili. RAISE has this chili recipe along with this bacon chili recipe. They’re both mega tasty and show you solid ratios for those who need to substitute.
Get your chili started before moving on to the fries and cheese. This will allow for a nice long simmer time, which boosts the flavours.
Making The Fries
This will come down to personal preference. If you have a French fry that you like to buy, go for it. Alternatively, you can oven bake or deep fry French fries at home.
I’m going to level with you: I do the fry once technique with out fries and no one complains. I don’t have the bandwidth to do the two – three fry method which is supposed to be far superior to a once fried potato. To each his own.
For chili cheese fries, we generally oven bake the fries using a medium/large fry. You can also do this with potato wedges.
Getting The Dairy Free Cheese Right
There are four methods you can employ to get your dairy free cheese right on chili cheese fries. One thing to take note of is how high you’re piling the cheese. It’s better to have a thin layer all over instead of a small pile in the center.
Method One: Culinary Blow Torch
This is perhaps the fastest way to get your cheese somewhat right. Notice I said somewhat. With a culinary torch, you’ll get the top layer of cheese mostly melty. If the cheese is stacked high, again, only the top layer will be impacted.
Method Two: Broiler In Your Oven
When using the broiler method, we like to place chili on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Then, we top it with the desired amount of cheese. It’s then broiled on high with someone watching like a hawk.
The broiler method will get a good amount of your cheese melted. If it’s piled too high, by the time the bottom layer is nice and melty, the top layer will be burned.
Method Three: Stove-Top Melting
I love this method for grilled cheese sandwiches and chili cheese fries. To melt dairy free cheese on the stove-top, heat a non-stick pan on medium heat, then add the cheese. It takes less than 5 minutes to get a nice bubbly, melty cheese.
If you use the stove method, you’ll want to have the fries and chili plated. As soon as the cheese is done, you slide it on top of the chili, then eat and enjoy.
It’s important that you use a non-stick pan for the store-top method as the slide/release is what makes this easy.
Method Four: Blender Cheese
The blender method as seen in this gluten free dairy free Mac-n-Cheese recipe is going to produce a super delicious creamy cheese sauce. This isn’t the same as melted cheese, but is mega delicious and may be what you prefer texture wise.
Additionally, for those who rely heavily on cashew cheeses at home, you’d need the blender method since you can’t melt cashews.
To make an easy blender cheese, add your diary free cheese, dairy free milk, and seasonings to the blender. Blend on high until ultra smooth, then serve and enjoy.
Here’s an example of blender cheese sauce on fries, as seen in this Parmesan Fries recipe.
Experiment With Different Combinations
In my humble opinion, if you have to make a lot of food at home from scratch, you should absolutely have fun and experiment with different flavour combination. In the case of chili cheese fries, you could make sweet potato chili cheese fries, or change up your chili recipe. Also experiment with different types of cheese (or a blend of cheese).
My last piece of advice: batch cook chili and freeze it in single-sized portions (or the right size for your household). This makes future chili cheese fries a breeze. You can also use your leftovers for lunches and dinners.
Also, if you’re feeding a picky eater or someone who’s learning to like chili, it can be served standalone and used as a dip for your fries.