This festive dish is a healthy reinvention of a greasy fast-food classic. Oven-baked steak-cut fries get smothered in a zesty homemade chili, then topped with a smooth potato-based cheesy sauce. Yum!

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


Fries and Cheesy Sauce

  • 4 pounds Russet potatoes, cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 cup unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Chili and Garnishes

  • 1 medium onion, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-ounce cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (3 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes (1½ cups)
  • 4 tablespoons mild (or hot) chili seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 stalks scallions, thinly sliced (¼ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  • Preheat oven to 400℉.
  • Place potato wedges in a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water to saucepan to just below basket. Cover pan and steam potatoes 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Transfer ¼ of the potatoes to a bowl and set aside. Spread out the remaining potatoes in a 13x9-inch casserole dish; bake 20 minutes until fries are crispy and brown.
  • For Cheesy Sauce, add milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and garlic powder to bowl with reserved steamed potatoes. Mix well, using a potato masher to mash the potatoes into a smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  • For chili, in a sauté pan, combine onion and garlic with ¼ cup of water. Sauté 10 minutes on medium heat until onion is tender, adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Add beans, tomatoes, and chili seasoning, and cook 5 minutes more or until chili thickens. Add lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
  • To assemble Chili Cheese Fries, spread chili over baked fries in casserole dish. Dollop Cheesy Sauce over chili layer. Bake 20 minutes or until Cheesy Sauce is lightly browned.
  • Remove from oven and garnish with scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Comments (9)

(5 from 6 votes)

Recipe Rating

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WOW! This recipe is SO good!! I was a little hesitant to try it, just because a few recipes I have tried from this author have not turned out so good, but this one is amazing. The cheese sauce is delicious, one of the best vegan cheese sauces I have made yet! I absolutely recommend this recipe if you are looking for a quick and easy comfort food recipe!


This was a very tasty dish! I’ve enjoyed searching through your recipes, choosing a few to try out. So far no one has been disappointed. Yummy!!

Tiffany Douglas

I really enjoyed this meal. I seasoned everything according to my taste instead of the actual measurements of the ingredients. It was worth it. Delicious! My husband enjoyed it and he is not into going plant-based like myself.

Bernadette Sellars

We love this. I don’t have an airfryer and found it took longer than 20 minutes to brown the potato slices in the oven. I used a hotter oven setting the next time. (215 degrees C) Also the sauce was a little lumpy, so second time round, I used a potato ricer to mash to a more creamy consistency. Served it with cabbage to make it even healthier.


Too many steps on the potatoes. Sauce was just okay.


The next time I will cook the potatoes in my air fryer. They will be more like french fries.


I think the sauce works a lot better when whizzed in a blender or food processor for a bit to break down the starches into a smooth, creamy texture.


Thank you for sharing this tip!


I agree. I generally boil my potatoes first and use a little of the water, if you need to thin out the cheese sauce.

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.
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