One of my favorite kitchen pastimes is to recreate comfort food into a new food experience. Ultimately, my goal is to make the dishes even tastier, healthier, and plant-ier (I think I made that word up?!) … and to elevate them so they’re a slight bit fancier. That’s what I did here. And don’t worry, it’s not complicated even though it might look like it. It’s my newest take on chili cheese fries. Yep, it’s still carb-rich … but at least it’s 100% “good” carbs!
The fries are now big roasted slices (or, rather, slabs!) of sweet potato. Keep the skin on for more fiber—and so that there’s no food waste. Squattier sweet potatoes are easiest to work with in the recipe, by the way. You can use a veggie chili of choice; however, I created this one with a spicy lentil chili containing some sneaky California prunes! The prunes balance the chili’s spiciness while punching up bone and gut health benefits. The cheese is plant-based, too. I simply used Treeline French-Style Scallion Treenut Cheese here.
To serve it, I stacked up the roasted sweet potato slices along with the chili and some scallions, and then sprinkled with avocado, cilantro, and the cashew cheese. You can drizzle it with salsa verde if you like an extra high-flavor zing. (I do!) The best part is you get to enjoy this as your entire meal. It’s such a delicious way to indulge in chili any time of year … like right now!
Disclosure: At time of posting, Jackie was a spokesperson for California Prunes. The recipe for Spicy Lentil Chili with California Prunes was originally published at https://www.californiadriedplums.org/recipes/spicy-lentil-chili-with-california-prunes.
roasted sweet potato, spicy lentil chili & cashew cheese
Yield: 2 sweet potato-chili stacks
Serving size (as meal): 1 stack
- 2 large sweet potatoes (about 12-ounces each), cut lengthwise into 5 to 6 slices each
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or high-oleic sunflower oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1½ cups spicy lentil chili with california prunes (see recipe below) or vegetarian chili or choice, warm
- 1 scallion, green and white parts, thinly sliced
- ½ Hass avocado, diced
- ½ teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce soft cashew cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons packed fresh cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup salsa verde (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- Brush both sides of the sweet potato slices with the oil. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Season with the sea salt.
- Roast in the oven until caramelized, about 30 minutes, flipping over each slice halfway through roasting.
- Dice the top sweet potato slices of each sweet potato (2 slices total).
- Layer with warm chili and scallions onto each of the sweet potato slices while re-stacking the slices into two stacks. You can re-stack like the original sweet potato shape or arrange from largest to smallest slices.
- In a small bowl, toss the diced avocado with the lime juice. If desired, add a pinch of sea salt.
- Sprinkle each layered sweet potato-chili stack with the diced avocado, diced sweet potato, crumbled cashew cheese, and fresh cilantro. If desired, serve with salsa verde on the side.
Per serving (one meal): 630 calories, 20g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 975mg sodium, 105g total carbohydrate, 18g dietary fiber, 23g total sugars includes 0g added sugars, 17g protein
spicy lentil chili with california prunes
Yield: 6 servings
Serving size: 1 cup each
- 1 tablespoon avocado or sunflower oil
- 1 small or ½ medium red onion, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1¼ cups dry brown lentils (8.5 ounces)
- 1 (15-ounce) can diced, no-salt-added fire-roasted tomatoes
- 32 fluid ounces vegetable broth
- 12 California prunes, finely diced (3.5 ounces)
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño and cook while stirring until the onion is lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cinnamon and cook while stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the lentils, tomatoes (with liquid), and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until lentils are just-tender, about 25 minutes.
- Remove lid, stir in the prunes, and cook while stirring occasionally until desired consistency, about 3 to 4 minutes. Adjust seasoning (salt to taste).
- Ladle into small bowls, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve.