Since the beginning of February I have refined my food intake to whole, plant foods, specifically following a “WSLF” way of eating. WSLF stands for whole starch low-fat. It is essentially a diet abundant in grains, starches, beans, legumes, fruits and veggies. No portion control, no calorie restriction, just eating as must of the most natural human food until your satisfied. And, I love it.
I was introduced to this way of eating through the Mr & Mrs Vegan YouTube channel. This vibrant and enthusiastic couple coined the term WSLF and took it to social media through videos, an e-book, and a very popular Facebook group. It’s based around the teachings of Dr. John Mc Dougall and his diet regime, The Starch Solution, which he uses to help overweight, obese and sick people get down to a healthy weight and heal themselves of their sicknesses.
What WSLF does is brings The Starch Solution to the younger generation and more mainstream social media. It also has more clearer definitions depending on your goals. If are coming to WSLF from a SAD diet (Standard American Diet) you will likely see benefits just through swapping meat for beans, processed white pastries and cakes for wholegrain breads and pastas, and sweets for fruit. But, if you’re already relatively healthy and not overweight, you would get the most benefit from sticking to whole grains and starches only, upping your intake of greens and veggies, and avoiding processed foods and added sugars.
Benefits can include: weight loss, more energy, improvements in skin health, more satisfaction from food, better digestion, etc. The list of benefits are never-ending – just join the Facebook group to see all the amazing success stories! For me personally the main benefits are ease of eating, being able to eat abundantly and yet still see improvements in my body composition and skin health.
VEGAN CHILLI CHEESE FRIES RECIPE
Until now, I haven’t experimented that much with WSLF recipes. I’ve been sticking to simple baked potatoes or sweet potatoes topped with roasted veggies and lentils or chickpeas. Sometimes rice, quinoa or spelt too! But, someone in the group shared their version of a “vegan chilli cheese fries” recipe, which I’m guessing is similar to the Irish takeaway favourite, “taco chip”. Yes, if you’re already confused, this can be made WSLF! So I took it upon myself to research the different variations for the recipe, checked what I had in my own kitchen, and using some external inspiration, plus my own imagination, I came up with this recipe – which Seán, my own personal food critic said: “It’s one of your best yet, has to go in the book.”
So, I’m sharing this delicious, healthy, guilt-free vegan chilli cheese fries recipe with you to help you make positive changes in your diet without sacrificing any taste!
Serves: the chilli and cheese recipe both give large quantities and therefore can be stored in fridge/freezer until they are used up. In one sitting they would serve 6 people probably. Make the chips/fries as you need them.
Prep/cooking time: 1 hour approx (if you make the cheese sauce & chips while the chilli is simmering)
You will need a blender for this recipe – a food processor might work too though.
For the vegan chilli you will need:
- 2 onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 carrot grated
- 2 stalks of celery finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1/2 cauliflower finely diced
- 1 aubergine finely diced and skin removed if possible
- 2 cans of green or brown lentils (or equivalent weight in cooked from dry lentils)
- 1 can of kidney beans
- Apple cider vineger or white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 can chopped tomates
- 1 cup of passata
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp freshly ground chill or chilli powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp dried coriander
- 1 tsp onion powder
*I used the veggies that I had in the fridge, realistically you can use any veggies you want! Although onions, garlic, carrots, celery and pepper are the most important.
**Spice quantities are estimates – always taste near the end of cooking time in case you need to add extra spices.
For the vegan cheese sauce you will need:
- 3 small-ish potatoes
- 1 large carrot
- 1 red onion (any onion is fine)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp tapioca flour (optional)
- 1 tsp soy sauce (might need more to taste)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2/3 cup nutritional yeast (and possibly more to taste)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp onion powder
- the juice of 1 lemon
*This cheese sauce recipe is my version, ie. using what I had in my fridge and what I could get here in Spain. But, there are hundred, if not thousands, of vegan “cheese” sauce recipes online being used in vegan macaroni “cheese” and nacho “cheese” recipes. So, if the one I am offering doesn’t float your boat then you will definitely find an alternative somewhere else!
For the chips/fries you will need:
- 1-2 large potatoes per person (depending on your appetite)
*Try to choose more floury, winter potatoes, as opposed to waxy new potatoes.
- If your not using canned beans/lentils you’ll need to soak and cook up your beans and lentils.
- For the chilli: finely dice all your veggies.
- Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and add a tbsp or so of apply cider vinegar or white wine vinegar to moisten the the saucepan.
- Add the onions and toss until they start to go translucent.
- Add in more vinegar or water every time the pan dries up (just a splash because you don’t want to boil the veggies).
- Add in the garlic and toss with the onions until it softens nicely.
- Add the rest of the veggies and toss until the start to cook through.
- Make sure the pot isn’t too dry and put a lid on it. This should help cook through the veggies.
- Add in all your beans, lentils, spices and sauces to the mix, give it a stir and put the lid on, and let it simmer on a low heat while you make your cheese sauce and your chips/fries.
- For the cheese sauce: roughly chop the veggies and boil until soft (including the onion & garlic) – add a bay leaf too.
- When the veggies are soft, add to a blender with some of the boiling water – just enough to help the blending.
- Put the tapioca flower in a small glass, add a little water, and stir it with a spoon until dissolved. Add this to the blender along with the rest of the ingredients (not the bay leaf).
- Add the sauce back to the saucepan and keep on a low heat. It should thicken slightly and go nice and gloopy (due to the tapioca flour).
- For the chips: Chop your potatoes into chips or wedges.
- Place on a non-stick mat, on a baking tray, and bake in an oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
- You can add spices/herbs if you like but I didn’t for this recipe.
- When your chips start to go golden brown they should be ready. Add them to a bowl or plate and top with the chilli and then lather over the cheese sauce. Add some chopped coriander or parsley on top.
I hope this recipe brings some fun to your dinner-time, and that it tastes delicious! Again, all spice measurements are open to interpretation – if you like it spicier add more chilli; if you like it smokier, add smoked paprika; if you like it saltier, add more soy sauce; if you like it sweeter, you can add agave or brown sugar.
If you decide to make this recipe, share a photo and tag me on Instagram @green_leafy_gael.
I’d love to see your creations!