It’s Fryday! And while I don’t plan on rallying for fried foods at the end of every week, something about the sudden spring air in normally gloomy Chicago makes me want to enjoy with abandon. For days like this, when the breeze is cool and the layers get lighter, naked fries simply won’t do. I want them smothered, covered, and dressed to the nines for the party of life.
I spent a formative part of 2000 living in a tiny village in the Netherlands. Though it was pleasantly remote and quaint, and like most small towns, closed down after a certain reasonable hour, two things would remain open for collegiate revelry: The Vink (the jolly local bar, where I had my first underage drank-too-many-Bacardi-Breezers experience) and the Frite Stand. We used to call the latter “Crazy Frite Man” because the unassuming little shack had a massive (not just big, guys – massive) statue of a glossy french fry with a face. Alarming decor aside, the Frite Stand had everything tipsy nineteen year olds could want: Paper cones filled with golden, crispy fries topped with a creamy mayo sauce.
Now, I know some of you have an aversion to mayonnaise, and even creamy sauces. That’s cool and we can still be friends, even though I totally don’t get it. And because I heart you, I whipped up a diplomatic mix of oh-so-easy-to-make creamy and non-creamy sauces to adorn your wedges, fries, and tots (and everything else). They’re a little more exotic than your run-of-the-mill ketchup and mustard, ‘cuz that’s the way I like things. So, ready your paper cones and fire up your ovens – this post is all about fries and the sauces who love them.
(1) Smoky Avocado Sauce
Made For: Dipping fries or smothering sandwiches. I slather freshly baked buns with this and top with baked kale and grilled onions, which is a real treat.
Perfect With: Heftier potato pals like waffle fries, baked potatoes, and potato wedges, or for crowning your favorite veggie burger.
Why It’s Awesome: Waffle fries are an especially hearty breed of fry. And they demand a thick, flavor-packed sauce that can stand up to the dipping. This sauce is that – creamy from avocado and Vegenaise, slightly smoky from the smoked paprika and chipotle, and just a pinch of sea salt to mimic the saltiness of the fries. I’ve served this at parties and it’s always a big hit. I also have been known to fold in grilled onions and slather generous amounts on a veggie burger. When that happens, all is right with the world.
- 1 avocado, very ripe
- 2 tbsp Vegenaise (this works well with the soy-free version, as well)
- 1/2 tsp ground chipotle
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 6 generous grinds of Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning (if you haven’t tried this, it will change your life. I seriously am impotent in the kitch without it.)
- Optional: 1 – 2 tsp of water or cooled vegetable broth, if desired to make sauce runnier
- Optional: Sea salt to taste
Assembly: Remove ripe avocado from peel and place in a medium bowl. Add in the Vegenaise and mash together until smooth. Mash in chipotle, paprika, and smoke seasoning to taste. Hold sea salt (the TJ Smoke Seasoning has salt in it and may be enough for you sweeties) until the end to taste. I like the sauce to have quite a bit of body, so I don’t add water – if you like a more liquified sauce, whirring in the blender with 1-2 tsp of water will do it for ya. Mash together until smooth, scoop in to a pretty dish for dipping, and serve. Crown with more smoked paprika for presentation.
(2) Bombay Ketchup
Made For: Dipping or drizzling atop a plate of sweet potato tots or anything that could use a kick of Indian spices.
Perfect With: Sweet potato tots, fries, and a delightful complement to crispy chick’n nuggets or crowning your vegan meatloaf for a spicy twist on an old favorite.
Why It’s Awesome: All the comforts of ketchup (or ‘catsup,’ as my Pittsburgh pals call it), with the depth of Indian spices.
- 1 cup ketchup (if you want to be extra awesome, you can make your own. I love this recipe, but never use the fish sauce. OBVS.)
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- dash of cayenne, to taste
- dash of all spice, to taste
- sea salt, to taste
Assembly: In a medium bowl, combine your cooled ketchup and spices. Save the agave and sea salt until last and add to desired taste. Transfer in to a bowl or a squeeze bottle for maximum ketchup memories.
(3) Sweet + Spicy Mango Mustard
Made For: Dipping rustic wedges, especially if you’re having a beer.
Perfect With: Heartier potatoes that need a kick of sweet, savory, and sour. Also amazing with anything you’d normally pair with a full-bodied mustard, like chick’n tenders, veggie brats, or soft-baked pretzels.
Why It’s Awesome: It’s sweet, spicy, and tart, and will sate any snooty gourmand who sets foot in your home.
- 6 oz grainy deli mustard
- 3.5 oz pure mango puree (no joke, I used one bottle of those organic baby food squeezer thingees because my grocery store was out of mango butter and preserves, and it worked just dandy)
- 5 pieces of cubed, frozen mango (I used the frozen Trader Joe’s kind)
- 1 tbsp green relish
- 1/2 tsp Sriracha
- Dash of smoked paprika, to taste
Assembly: Place all ingredients in a small blender (I used a Magic Bullet because I’m sneaky like that) and blend, blend, blend. Mustard should still be grainy and lovely. Top everything with this.
(4) Horseradish Tahini
Made For: Drizzling atop a basket of freshly cooked sweet potato fries or burgers made with chickpeas that pair well with that savory sesame flavor.
Perfect With: Sweet potato anything. This is also a great dressing for heftier salads.
Why It’s Awesome: A more liquid consistency means that this sauce won’t overpower wimpier, more delicate taters.
- 2 1/2 tbsp creamy horseradish (3 1/2 if you really like horseradish)
- 2 tbsp tahini, stirred
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tsp soy sauce (or Bragg’s Aminos)
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
Assembly: Place all ingredients in a small blender (I used the trusty Magic Bullet again) and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling over anything that needs a little spicy tahini love.
(5) Pumpkin Cashew Creme
Made For: Dipping Sweet Potato fries, tots, and even for topping toasted bagels and baked sweet potatoes.
Perfect With: Sweet potato fries and soft-baked pretzels. It’s pillowy, creamy, slightly savory, and sweet.
Why It’s Awesome: Because it sneaks in pumpkin, and that pumpkin gets to roll around in the culinary sheets with spices like cinnamon and garam masala. Just when you thought fries couldn’t be your dessert, here they are.
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked and drained
- 2 tbsp BBQ sauce (I used Isa’s Backyard BBQ Sauce from Veganomicon because, well, she’s a fucking genius.)
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Dash of cumin, to taste
- Dash of salt, to taste
- Optional: Dash of Chipotle Hot Sauce (I used Chipotle Tabasco)
Assembly: Place all ingredients in a small blender and blend until smooth. Add additional salt or hot sauce to taste. Sauce will have a slightly whipped consistency, so it’s fun to plate immediately atop sweet potato fries or a baked sweet potato. Or cool and serve with cinnamon raisin bagel chips later.
What are some of your favorite dips and sauces for fries? Share in the comments below!