Spicy Vegan Tater Tot Hotdish

Spicy Vegan Tater Tot Hotdish - a comfort classic made vegan and oh so delicious! // plantpowercouple.com

Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I had no idea what a tater tot hotdish was until a few months ago…let alone a vegan tater tot hotdish.

According to Wikipedia, the hotdish has Midwestern roots and was originally created for church potlucks because it can feed a lot of people on a tight budget.  Traditionally, it includes some kind of ground meat cooked with veggies and a can of creamy soup, often topped with frozen tater tots.

Meaty?  Creamy? And tater tots?  I dig it.

Spicy Vegan Tater Tot Hotdish - a comfort classic made vegan and oh so delicious! // plantpowercouple.com

To me, the tater tot hotdish is kinda like a shepherd’s pie, but instead of a mashed tater topping, it’s tater tots.

You’re on board now, yes?  Me too.

For this vegan tater tot hotdish recipe, I used this vegetarian recipe by Lindsay at Pinch of Yum for inspiration.  No better place to get hotdish inspiration than a true Minnesotan herself, right?

Spicy Vegan Tater Tot Hotdish - a comfort classic made vegan and oh so delicious! // plantpowercouple.com

I really dig the spicy walnut meat we added to this vegan tater tot hotdish to replace the traditional ground beef. It’s an adaptation from our Vegan Nacho recipe on page 6 in our 20+ Recipes to Become a Cruelty-Free Kitchen Badass e-cookbook, and it’s just so darn good!  I love the softened texture it achieves after cooking in that gorgeous roux for so long.  It’s the perfect meaty addition to all those beautiful veggies!

I am so, very excited to share this vegan tater tot hotdish recipe with you guys.  Although I’ve never had the traditional version, I am soooo in love with this dish.  It’s warm and cozy and filled with flavor, just begging to be shared with the people you love – which is awesome because when it comes down to it, making kickass food is so much more fun when you can share it. 🙂

Spicy Vegan Tater Tot Hotdish - a comfort classic made vegan and oh so delicious! // plantpowercouple.com

You should totally make this recipe!  And when you do, let me know how it goes and what you thought!  Tag us in your photos on Instagram (we’re @theplantpowercouple, with the ‘the’) or Facebook (just Plant Power Couple there).  Hope you enjoy every minute of this recipe just like we have!

Cheesy Vegan Tater Tot Hot Dish
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    For the walnut meat:
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, soaked in cool water 20 minutes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp yellow onion, diced
  • For the dish:
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter or refined coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 bell peppers, chopped (I used green.)
  • 10 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened plain soy milk
  • 1 block Daiya pepperjack cheese, cut into cubes (or sub 1-2 cups favorite vegan cheese)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 32-oz bag frozen tater tots


  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Next, make your walnut meat: Drain the walnuts and add them to your food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse a few times or until the mixture achieves a ground meat texture.
  3. Heat the vegan butter over medium high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers with a pinch of salt and saute for about 3-5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the cumin and chili powder and stir to thoroughly coat.
  4. Add the flour and stir again. Add the almond milk slowly, stirring continuously. Add the Daiya cheese cubes and cover. Cook 3-5 minutes or to help the cheese melt.
  5. Stir in the walnut meat, peas, carrots, and corn. Taste and adjust your seasonings. You'll probably want to add a bit more salt.
  6. Turn the mixture off heat and top with frozen tater tots.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes and allow to cool a bit before serving. Enjoy!


2 thoughts on “Spicy Vegan Tater Tot Hotdish

  1. We don't eat processed cheeses, so to make it creamier, I added homemade vegan cream of mushroom soup thefoodieeats.com/vegan-cream-of-mushroom-soup/. It was a hit! Thank you for sharing this! Btw, we are true Minnesotans, and loved this.
    1. I love this so much! So happy you enjoyed the recipe and that it was approved by true Minnesotans! :) GREAT idea with the cream of mushroom soup. I LOVE cream of mushrooms and can't wait to give that a try.

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