Loaded Summer Chili Fries

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This is a favorite summertime dinner for us on evenings when we don'd mind turning on the oven. The combination of textures and flavors is pretty magical, especially when cherry tomatoes and sweet corn are at their peak. This would be a great dinner to whip out for non-plant-based eating folks too, as well as when you are feeding a crowd! Just multiply the recipe as needed. Maybe multiply it anyways and keep leftovers in the fridge for easy reheating during the week ;). The only part I'd wait to mix together before serving is the cherry tomato corn salsa, in order to keep those pretty cilantro leaves fresh. 

Here are a few nutrient highlights to get you extra jazzed to make this meal. Aside from their well known vitamin A, I love sweet potatoes for their potassium, which helps with proper muscle and nerve function (I find this root veggie extra soothing). Pinto beans give you the wonderful 'second meal effect' when they feed not only you, but the good bacteria in your gut too. They also have high levels of folate, which is such a stellar nutrient. It not only benefits your heart and brain - but is essential for healthy red blood cell development! Cashews are the source of whole-food fat in this recipe, which helps with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins as well as other phytonutrients. All on a plate of chili fries? I dig.

Now to the most important selling point, the taste. I don't think I need to tell you how delicious potatoes are, but lets chat about the chili! The addition of fire roasted salsa (whatever your favorite brand may be) is what helps this quick chili taste as if its been simmering on the stove all afternoon. It also saves you from having to chop an onion and garlic too (which you still can do if you want a little extra flavor). The hot and sweet smoked paprikas are spices I would recommend stocking up on to have on hand for this chili, as well as other recipes (a few I'll most likely be sharing here sometime). They give the chili a kind of 'nacho' flavor that is incredibly delicious. I buy mine in bulk online, but your local market may carry them as well. Top it with cool and tangy sour cream, and a fresh and sweet corn salsa with cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and lime! Can you just trust me on how amazing this combination is and go make it at once? Thank you :).

x Jessie

Summer Chili Fries
Makes 2 servings, multiply as needed.

4 medium potatoes

2 cups pinto beans
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup fire roasted salsa
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste

cherry tomato corn salsa
1 ear of corn
10 cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 lime
fresh black pepper

cashew sour cream
1 cup cashews, soaked 4 hours
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh water
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
salt to taste

In advance, soak the cashews in a bowl with purified water for a few hours. If prepping in the morning, leave the bowl in the fridge until the evening.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Scrub, dry, and slice the potatoes into 1 inch thick wedges. You can use whatever potatoes you'd like here, we typically choose sweet potatoes and Yukon gold. Place the potato wedges on the parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The undersides should be nicely browned, and the wedges should be easily pierced with a fork.

While the potatoes are baking, make everything else.

Combine all of the ingredients for the chili in a medium saucepan, bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook for the duration of the fries baking. Make sure to give them a stir every so often. Taste at the end of cooking and adjust your seasonings if needed.

Shuck the kernels off of the corn cob, and steam for a few minutes in a steamer basket on the stovetop. You can also leave them raw if you prefer. Toss the corn in a bowl with the remaining ingredients for the salsa and set aside. (I quarter the cherry tomatoes, and finely chop the cilantro.)

Blend all of the ingredients for the cashew sour cream in an upright blender, preferably a high speed one such as a Vitamix. Start at a low speed, and gradually turn the dial up to blend until creamy and smooth. Adjust salt and lemon to taste. Transfer to an airtight jar, and set aside. This can also be made in advance, and feel free to double the batch too. It goes well on almost everything. (Start with 1/2 cup of water for a thicker consistency. I often times add the remaining 1/4 cup to thin it out a bit for drizzling and stretching a bit further.)

When the fries are done baking, divide them between two serving plates. Top each mound of fries with the chili, spoonfuls of cashew sour cream, and the cherry tomato corn salsa. Enjoy right away.

The only bit of leftovers there will be is the cashew sour cream. Keep the remainder in an airtight glass jar in the refrigerator and enjoy within one week. Other than atop chili, its wonderful in bean and grain bowls, over veggies, or in a salad.