Although I admit never eating a nacho I didn’t like, I recently met tater tot nachos, known as Totchos. My daughter, Kristyn, told my husband and me to try out a little Mexican restaurant called Dela Libre, not far from our house. Not only do they have a vegan menu, but they also have vegan tater tot nachos on the menu.
Having never experienced such a phenomenon, we, of course, ordered tater tot nachos. Let’s just say the world of nachos changed forever.
WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE TATOR TOT NACHOS ANYWAY?
Simply put, tater tot nachos are nachos made with tater tots instead of chips. Years ago, I posted a recipe for Vegan Guilt-Free Potato Nachos…A Game-Day Treat!, however similar, are made of thin potato sliced chips instead of nacho chips. Tater tot nachos, though, take nachos to a whole new comfort food level.
When I was growing up, Ore Ida Tater Tots were a part of our childhood. To be honest, I haven’t eaten frozen tater tots in years, although I do love the crispy potato balls.
Last year, though, I decided to make healthy Baked Tater Tots made from sweet potatoes and zucchini. In fact, we eat them often, since I make them ahead of time and freeze them to use at my convenience.
Once I experienced tater tot nachos, though, the thought of making a healthier version started to emerge. Why not just use my Baked Tater Tots, add my Vegan Coney Chili Sauce….The Real Deal, and add some healthy veggies on top? Apparently, tater tots made a comeback in the last year or so, since I see them on menus all over Scottsdale.
TATER TOT OPTIONS…HOMEMADE TATOR TOTS OR STORE-BOUGHT TATER TOTS?
Out of curiosity, I picked up a bag of Ore Ida Tater Tots, to remind myself of why I made my own baked tater tots in the first place. After reading the label, and tossing it back in the freezer section, I knew why. With 8 grams of fat and 130 calories for 7 tater tots, I laughed at the thought of only eating 7. I mean, who only eats 7 tater tots?
On the contrary, my tater tots have only 30 calories and 2 grams of fat for the exact same amount.
Another option for a healthier tater tot is Alexia brand tater tots, located in the healthy freezer section of the grocery store. For instance, Alexia Yukon Select Puffs have 100 calories and 4 grams of fat for 14 pieces. Despite containing a little oil, these are the best healthy store-bought option available.
So, healthier options do exist at your local grocery store, in the event making your own tater tots is not appealing. Making homemade tater tots at home, though, is not very difficult, and it is a great activity for the kids to help cook.
Baking or air-frying the tater tots also gives you a healthier option than frying them in oil. So, skip the oil and opt for baking instead.
TOPPING FOR TATER TOT NACHOS AND OTHER CREATIVE SUBSTITUTIONS
The first time we ate tater tot nachos, for example, the toppings included Beyond Meat Crumbles, Vegan Shredded Cheese and a variety of vegetables like tomatoes, green onions, and jalapenos.
Considering different options to make the tater tot nachos healthier, I decided to use my Skinny Nacho “Cheese” Sauce and my Vegan Coney Chili Sauce….The Real Deal. Then, of course, add onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, and any other veggies in my refrigerator that speak to me.
But, there are other options as well, such as Vegan Oil-Free Lentil Taco meat. Another idea is shredded jackfruit mixed with taco seasoning. Or, skip the alternative meat, jackfruit, and lentils altogether and just make them vegan cheesy and delicious.
Regardless of your choices of toppings, tater tot nachos are a great football snack, movie night at home treat, or a meal depending on the toppings. And, there isn’t a kid in the world who doesn’t like tater tots, or adult for that matter.
MAKING THE CHILI SAUCE, LENTIL TACO MEAT, OR MEAT ALTERNATIVE TOPPING
When I first became vegan, I started ‘veganizing’ foods my family liked in order to get everyone on board. Since, then, of course, my kids have grown to appreciate vegetables as well as their childhood favorites.
My children are now vegan adults, who not only live on their own, they continue to cook and eat vegan. And, yes, from time to time, they like vegan junk food like the rest of us.
My Vegan Coney Chili Sauce….The Real Deal, for example, was one of those foods we missed when first becoming vegan. After a lot of trial and error, I created a sauce I could make ahead and freeze that could go on vegan hot dogs, The Perfect Crispy Air-Fried Steak Fries, or get stuffed into a baked potato.
Comfort food, although sometimes not the healthiest, can be made healthier.
Vegan Oil-Free Lentil Tacos, for example, uses lentils, instead of a meat alternative, and makes great taco meat. Not only is it oil-free, but it is perfect for chips, taco shells, and tater tot nachos. Because the lentil meat isn’t overly moist, it doesn’t cause sogginess. Of course, this healthy alternative is an option to layer on the tater tot nachos.
Even though the possibilities are endless, other ideas are to add my Mushroom “Chorizo” Taco Meat, Skinny Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Avocado-Cilantro Cream, or Roasted Broccolini and Sweet Potato Tostados. If you think about it, for instance, anything you put on a taco or a nacho can be a topping for tater tot nachos.
Without a doubt, meat alternatives like Beyond Meat Crumbles and Bocca Original Crumbles are easier. I prefer Bocca Original Crumbles over Beyond Meat. Bocca Crumbles, however, are soy-based but fat-free. But, you choose whatever is best for your diet and plant-based journey.
As far as I’m concerned, if I can create a healthier way to eat fun food, every once in a while, it keeps me from straying off all the time. Some people, for instance, call this ‘cheat food’ or a ‘cheat day. It isn’t cheating if you keep it healthy and don’t go rogue. In my household, it’s called a healthy balance.
DON’T FORGET THE VEGGIES TO PUT ON TOP OF YOUR TATER TOT NACHOS
Again, this is all about personal taste. Of course, when I think of nachos, I think about a vegan Skinny Nacho “Cheese” Sauce, and tomatoes, green onions, and jalapenos. But feel to go crazy with lettuce, guacamole, cilantro, lime or any other nacho topping you enjoy.
Now, my Skinny Nacho “Cheese” Sauce does make a lot, so although I made the whole batch to use for other recipes during the week, the recipe calls for 1/4 of the recipe linked. Once made, the nacho cheese sauce will last in the refrigerator for 7 days. And, yes, it can be frozen as well, in small batches, if you prefer.
LAYERING THE TATER TOT NACHOS TO GET EVERYTHING IN EVERY BITE!
First, cook your tater tots according to the link or package instructions. Then, while the tater tots are baking, make a chosen “meat topping.” I used my Vegan Coney Chili Sauce….The Real Deal.
While your meat is cooking and absorbing the last bit of moisture, prepare your veggie toppings. Then, place your cooked tater tots in a large shallow bowl or on a plate and drizzle with cheese sauce.
Next, add a layer of meat, followed by veggies and more drizzled cheese sauce.
Then, the veggies, and a little more drizzle, and you are in business.
And, if tater tots aren’t your thing, and you prefer a simple nacho, try my Vegan Guilt-Free Potato Nachos…A Game-Day Treat! Instead of tater tots, this recipe has thin potato slices and skips the meat altogether.
With the Superbowl right around the corner, start planning early for a bunch of vegan favorite treats for football, family, and friends.
- Vegan Tangy Crockpot Meatless Meatballs
- Skinny “Cheesy” Spinach Artichoke Dip…Fat-Free and Fabulous
- Vegan Layered Greek Dip
- Greek Mini Bites…The Perfect Party Appetizer
- Vegan Bruschetta
- Oil-Free Rosemary and Thyme Mushroom Bruschetta
- Appetizer Boards and Platters to Please a Crowd
- Vegan Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese Spread
- Vegan Sausage Stuffed Mushroom Appetizer
- Vegan 7 Layer Taco Dip
- Skinny Pico de Gallo