In the 80s, Wendy’s tried to position itself as the fast food restaurant with more variety and healthier choices than its competitors. Their baked potatoes, smothered in viciously orange cheese sauce and either broccoli, bacon, or more cheese was one of the ways they tried to set themselves apart:
In addition, Wendy’s served up paper cups filled with steaming hot chili, which is something the other fast food chains have not emulated to this day. After you had your fill of unusual fast food choices, you could always drown your sorrows in a chocolate shake-like concoction called the Frosty.
Our generation loved these new and exciting choices. Therefore, it is with great excitement that we share with you our experience in veganizing these classics!
First, the potatoes. These were actually pretty straightforward. I started with Russet potatoes baked in a 425 degree oven for about 70 minutes. After they were done and were cooling, I worked on the cheese sauce and the broccoli. The cheese sauce is a single batch of Leahey cheese sauce with some of the new Follow Your Heart American cheese shredded into it. I also added a little bit of turmeric to make sure the sauce was as close to the day-glo orange of the original as possible.
One of the great things about living in the Information Age is the availability of copycat recipes. We found this gem of a recipe for emulating the Wendy’s chili experience. I only followed it loosely, using Tofurky’s ground beef, using our home-canned tomatoes instead of tomato sauce and tomatoes, replacing the onion with elephant garlic, and throwing in some celery seed to replace the fresh celery that we didn’t have in the house. Oh! I tossed some cayenne pepper in there, too. Even though the Wendy’s version s pretty mild, we like it hot around here!
The Frosty was pretty simple, too. Although I used this recipe for inspiration, in the end I mixed some So Delicious cashew cream ice cream, some soy milk, and some chocolate syrup in the blender and, well, blended them.
All together, it looked a little something like this:
I wish we had the right fast food containers to serve these out of – it felt weird eating them off of real dishes! Despite the incorrect dinnerware, these came out pretty spot-on. The cheese sauce was orange and thick and gloppy (and, of course, delicious), just like it is at Wendy’s. The chili was great, too – meaty and thick and perfectly warming on this cool, rainy day. And the Frosty…well, Sarra took one sip of it and said, “Take the rest of this away!” It was that good.