There’s nothing better than a side of fries, especially a side of smoky, spicy sweet…
This is a game day must for those of us glued to our TVs during football season. These loaded fries are all the things we love about tailgating tied into one. Cheesy, saucy, spicy and sweet – these don’t miss a beat! This junk food icon just became a little lighter but dangerously delicious!
Disclaimer! You must make my Oven Baked Sweet Potato fries before conjuring these loaded fries. Of course you can substitute my Parmesan Garlic Fries…but either way, make these and then proceed with loading them. Disclaimer no. 2 – Yes I am aware I noted these as “vegetarian” loaded fries. There was so much of an uproar when I made meatless Chorizo Shakshuka but it was “plant based” chorizo. Same for this recipe. There’s going to be someone who makes a remark, I just know it.
Name one of the best“cheat day” football snacks that you cannot get enough of! I’ll go first…loaded french fries! I, of course, could list off a dozen of my favorite tailgate snacks to whip up before watching a football game but loaded fries cover it all. It’s kind of like the whole package when you think of game day foods. It’s meaty, hearty, messy, cheesy and super indulgent all at the same time.
The best thing about loaded fries is you can mix up the flavors in so many different ways. Buffalo chicken fries, bbq pork loaded sweet potatoes with slaw, taco seasoned fries with guac and salsa…it’s all there and it’s all acceptable.
Since being on this bar-food-gastro-pub-game-day-must-haves kind of kick, I wanted to take a previous recipe to the next level with a lighter version of loaded fries. Since everyone seemed to give a thumbs up to my Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries, I figured a unique twist to the easy side dish would be perfect for game day watching my ever so popular [The] Ohio State Buckeyes.
Like I said before, you MUST make some variation of fries before starting the layering. And if you’re curious how to make the ultimate tray of loaded fries, let me give you a hand:
- Bake or air fry your fries and then use them immediately. Any potato will do. You can even just chop up some russet potatoes and make loaded potatoes instead of fries.
- Pick your protein! I do like making these a well rounded meal so the more food groups I include, the better I feel when eating these for a meal. Leftover chicken, turkey, pork or even some shrimp would work with this recipe. I opted for a “plant based” chorizo to bring out a spicy note to compliment the sweetness of the sweet potato. You could even use any ground meat substitute! Worst case scenario, add black beans!!
- Do not nix the cheese! This is my favorite part! And although I want to find lighter cheeses, this time I went with a good ole’ fashion sharp cheddar that I shredded myself. Pick anything that makes you happy. If you go with a lighter cheese, it will melt differently but it’s still perfect.
- Load up on the veggies. Although the“meat” layer is made into a tomato sauce, you still want to sneak in as many vegetables as possible. Throw zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, onions into the tomato chorizo sauce because it’ll make it heartier but still with so much of the “good for you” stuff! Top the finished product with lettuce, tomato, onions! It really is a tray of vegetables.
- Always make it pretty and flavorful with your toppings. Jalapeños, Greek yogurt (as the sour cream), my Jalapeño Ranch Dressing (a must), hot sauce and cilantro are the best toppings that give it that final bit of flair!
And that’s that! You can get super creative and clever with loaded fries but trust me on the chorizo/sweet potato combo because it’s really perfect. They go so well in the same dish and because both are also great breakfast ingredients, you really could eat the leftovers with an egg on top.
Loaded Chorizo Sweet Potato Fries
For the Chorizo Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- ½ medium onion diced
- ½ medium bell pepper diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 6-8 ounces plant based chorizo / soy chorizo if frozen, defrost first
- 1 15 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes with added juice
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 6 ounces sharp cheedar cheese shredded
- 1 large Hass avocado (or guacamole dollops) chopped
- ¼ large red onion finely diced
- 1 medium jalapeno sliced
- 1 medium roma tomato diced
- ⅓ cup Jalapeno Ranch Dressing (see recipe on Side of Veggies)
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- ¼ cup plain, nonfat, Greek yogurt in dollops
Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Follow the recipe at sideofveggies.com/oven-baked-sweet-potato-fries/
For the Chorizo Sauce
- Heat a large saucepan to medium-high heat with olive oil. Once heated, added onions, peppers and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add chorizo and continue to brown the chorizo for 3-4 minutes. Add in an entire can of tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne. Cook for 5-10 minutes until all the ingredients are cooked through.
For the Construction of the Fries:
- Once the fries are immediately out of the oven, top with chorizo/tomato sauce evenly over the fries. Over the chorizo, shred cheddar cheese evenly amongst the fries and pop back into the oven for 3-5 minutes until the cheese in completely melted. Remove and prep avocado, tomato, onions, jalapeños and sprinkle on the fries evenly. Drizzle on jalapeño ranch dressing and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve immediately.
- Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
- Pico de Gallo
- Parmesan Garlic Fries
- Game Day Turkey Chili (if you prefer chili cheese fries instead)