Advertisement

Vegan Loaded Tater Tots With Cashew Queso Recipe

loaded vegan tater tots on tray
loaded vegan tater tots on tray - Feta Topalu/Mashed

With the right toppings, it's not all that difficult to transform loaded tater tots into a vegetarian dish — but a vegan one? That presents a whole new challenge, seeing as a key component of loaded tots is gooey, cheesy queso. And yet, this vegan loaded tater tots recipe by Feta Topalu is up to the challenge. This shareable, colorful appetizer features a vegan cashew queso in place of the dairy-laden kind, and it packs all the creamy, smoky goodness you'd expect from the cheesy variety, minus the actual cheese.

"Tater tots have always been so nostalgic for me; they bring me back to elementary school lunches," Topalu says. While you may not have an occasion to whip these up for school lunch, you could certainly opt to serve these at potlucks, game nights, and parties, where Topalu tells us "they are sure to disappear in minutes." Surely none of your guests would be disappointed if this were the only appetizer you brought out at the gathering, but Topalu does point out that they pair mighty well with other veganized finger foods like bean-based sliders, stuffed mushrooms, or vegetable spring rolls.

Read more: 16 Little-Known Facts About Salt

Gather The Ingredients For Vegan Loaded Tater Tots With Cashew Queso

ingredients for vegan loaded tater tots
ingredients for vegan loaded tater tots - Feta Topalu/Mashed

You'll only need a handful of ingredients to make the cashew queso, and the most important one is, expectedly, the cashews themselves. To build a cheesy, spicy flavor, you'll rely on nutritional yeast, salsa, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, and canned green chiles.

The tots themselves are the easy part — just a bag of frozen tater tots will get the job done. As for toppings, be sure to have avocado, black beans, red onion, pickled jalapeños, and fresh cilantro on hand to transform this simple appetizer into a loaded one.

Step 1: Soak The Cashews

cashews soaking in bowl of water
cashews soaking in bowl of water - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Soak cashews in boiling water for 20 minutes until softened.

Step 2: Turn On The Oven

oven set to 425 F
oven set to 425 F - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F.

Step 3: Drain The Cashews

soaked cashews in mesh strainer set over bowl
soaked cashews in mesh strainer set over bowl - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Drain the water from the cashews.

Step 4: Add The Queso Ingredients To A Blender

red sauce in blender
red sauce in blender - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Place cashews into a blender along with ½ cup salsa, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, and ⅓ cup water.

Step 5: Blend

queso in blender
queso in blender - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Blend until smooth. (If queso is too thick, add a little more water and continue to blend until the consistency is smooth and creamy.)

Step 6: Heat Up The Queso

queso in saucepan
queso in saucepan - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Transfer queso to a saucepan and simmer until warmed through.

Step 7: Stir In The Green Chiles

queso in saucepan
queso in saucepan - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Stir in the green chiles, season with salt to taste, and set aside.

Step 8: Prep The Tater Tots

tater tots on baking sheet
tater tots on baking sheet - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the tater tots on top in a single layer.

Step 9: Bake The Tots

baked tater tots on baking sheet
baked tater tots on baking sheet - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Bake tots for 18-22 minutes, until cooked through and crisp.

Step 10: Pour On The Queso

tater tots with queso
tater tots with queso - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Pour warm queso over the tots.

Step 11: Load Up The Tots

loaded tater tots on baking sheet
loaded tater tots on baking sheet - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Layer on the remaining salsa, sliced avocado, black beans, red onion, jalapeños, and cilantro.

Step 12: Enjoy The Tots While They're Hot

portion of loaded tater tots on plate
portion of loaded tater tots on plate - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Serve immediately.

What Other Ingredients Can I Use In Vegan Loaded Tater Tots?

loaded tater tots on baking sheet
loaded tater tots on baking sheet - Feta Topalu/Mashed

There are a number of ways to switch up these loaded tater tots, and perhaps one of the most obvious options is to get creative with the toppings. "While the recipe provides toppings like salsa, diced onion, pickled jalapeños, black beans, avocado, and cilantro, you could also consider adding diced tomatoes, shredded vegan cheese, fresh jalapeños for extra spice, sliced olives, or even vegan sour cream," Topalu suggests. And, of course, if you don't like any of the included toppings, you can easily omit them or swap them out as desired.

If you aren't crazy about tater tots or prefer other starchy bases, you could even switch up the potato product that you use. Topalu suggests regular or sweet potato fries or even potato skins — "just keep in mind that the cooking time and texture might vary slightly depending on the base you choose."

Can Cashew Queso Be Made In Advance?

queso in saucepan
queso in saucepan - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Making cashew queso from scratch definitely requires a little more effort than cracking open a jar of cheese dip from the store, so you may be so inclined to make the sauce ahead of time to help manage your time a bit. Luckily, cashew queso is great when prepared in advance, so when it comes time to assemble the tots, all you have to do is warm it back up. To reheat the queso, Topalu says to gently warm it in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. If it seems too thick, just add a splash of water to adjust the consistency.

As for how long the cashew queso will last, it will still be good for up to 5 days after it's made. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge.

Vegan Loaded Tater Tots With Cashew Queso Recipe

loaded tater tots with avocado
loaded tater tots with avocado - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Prep Time: 25mCook Time: 20mYield: 4 servingsIngredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews

  • 1 cup salsa, divided

  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 (4-ounce) can green chiles

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1 (32-ounce) bag frozen tater tots

  • 2 avocados, sliced

  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained

  • ¼ cup diced red onion

  • ⅓ cup pickled jalapeños

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Soak cashews in boiling water for 20 minutes until softened.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F.

  3. Drain the water from the cashews.

  4. Place cashews into a blender along with ½ cup salsa, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, and ⅓ cup water.

  5. Blend until smooth. (If queso is too thick, add a little more water and continue to blend until the consistency is smooth and creamy.)

  6. Transfer queso to a saucepan and simmer until warmed through.

  7. Stir in the green chiles, season with salt to taste, and set aside.

  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the tater tots on top in a single layer.

  9. Bake tots for 18-22 minutes, until cooked though and crisp.

  10. Pour warm queso over the tots.

  11. Layer on the remaining salsa, sliced avocado, black beans, red onion, jalapeños, and cilantro.

  12. Serve immediately.

Read the original article on Mashed.