Animal-Style Fries (oil-free)

Happy Fry-day, friends!

To be honest, there is no day-of-the-week excuse needed to make these tasty spears. Something about a “loaded” pile of potatoes just screams party, does it not?

The traditional cheesy/meaty/not-so-healthy plate of fries you may find at a carnival or street food fair can easily be adapted for a plant-based diet, without sacrificing flavor! Don’t believe me? Let’s get into the details:


The secret to perfect oil free fries is simple: a silicone baking mat! I recently purchased a set on Amazon and could not be more happy with them. They eliminated the need for excess oils and really allow your fries to become pillowy. I recommend using Russet potatoes here for the best flavor.

Toppings are where you can really get creative (these are inspired by In-N-Out Burger). If you’re not familiar, ordering something “animal style” means an additional serving of sauce and a mixture of chopped onions + cheese. Certainly indulgent but not exactly an energy-boosting meal. Another secret ingredient comes into play with my version of the sauce–tofu!

Tofu is one of the most versatile ingredients in a vegan kitchen; it’s pretty flavorless and can adapt to whatever seasoning you desire. Along with a protein boost, it lends a creamy texture to this tangy, tomato-based sauce.

Once you’ve got your fries in the oven and your sauce blended, caramelized onions are the final touch! Feel free to use whatever caramelization method you prefer, but I use vegetable broth here to keep things oil-free.

For some reason this picture looks weird to me but I wanted to show what almost-done caramelized onions look like! Kind of extra-terrestrial…

This recipe was inspired by Caitlyn at From My Bowl. Please let me know if you test it out; don’t forget to tag @garlic_head on Instagram so I can see your lovely creations!


For fries:

  • 2 Russet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1/4 inch wide pieces
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper

For sauce:

  • 1/2 cup silken or firm tofu
  • 4 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 2 TBS vinegar
  • 2 Medjool Dates, for sweetness (add additional liquid sweetener to your liking)
  • 1 TBS soy sauce, or tamari if gluten-free
  • 3 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 small pickle, or 1 TBS relish (optional, for tang)

For onions:

  • 1 red or yellow onion, peeled and sliced into thick rings
  • 1 and 1/2 cup vegetable broth


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix potatoes with paprika and a few twists of salt and pepper. Place on a silicone-mat lined baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, until puffy and crisp. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. In a cast iron skillet over low heat, add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and onion. Let cook slowly, until all broth has evaporated. Be careful to watch that the onions do not burn! Stir dry onions for a minute. After adding some salt and pepper, pour the rest of the broth into pan and let onions caramelize. This process normally takes 30 to 40 minutes, so patience is key. Remove onions from heat and set aside.
  3. While your onions are cooking and fries are baking, blend all ingredients for sauce in a food processor and set aside.
  4. To assemble, top fries with sauce and onions, with more sauce on the side for dipping. Best enjoyed immediately!
Just go ahead and call me Emily Fry-gon.

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