Even though this past football season was a complete and utter wash for my Cowboys, I’ll still be celebrating my favorite unofficial holiday of the year: Super Bowl Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday is great for typically one of two things: You get to watch your team fight for that shiny Vince Lombardi Trophy, or you have an excuse to pig out on yummy appetizers. Interestingly enough, though, 2017 was the year a large majority of us pledged to become plant-based, so you may just be serving vegan Super Bowl appetizers this year instead of wings and beer to keep things finger-lickin' good, as well as good for you. Score!
Yeah, I know, I’m over the Patriots headlining yet another Super Bowl, too, but once my team isn’t in it to win it, I could honestly care less about who's facing off. As long as I've got some booze in my hand and something spicy on my plate, I’m good. Plus, Justin Timberlake is performing at halftime this year, so you know your girl isn’t missing the opportunity to watch J.T. bring sexy back on a wide screen. Tom Brady, who?
Now, if this is your first time going into a Super Bowl party plant-based, don’t panic; I’m right there with you. I’ve been vegetarian for almost eight months now, and I still crave extra spicy buffalo wings, miniature hot dogs, and cheeseburger sliders. It’s natural to want these types of appetizers if all you’ve known for the past 20-something years of your life was that football meant snacking on animal meat dressed with dairy on a Sunday night.
Sure, these kinds of foods probably tasted amazing mid-chew, but let’s think back to that digestion process. I bet you started feeling pretty sluggish by the third quarter of the game. Keeping it plant-based for your Super Bowl party will ensure you're not falling asleep through the best plays, and it means you can actually enjoy indulging in delicious foods without feeling crummy afterw the fact. Here are a few vegan recipes to add to your game day spread.
1. Buffalo Tempeh "Wings"
I've have been craving spicy foods so much lately, specifically wings drenched in Frank's Red Hot sauce with a side of ranch dressing. Obviously, when you're plant-based, you're not going to stroll into the nearest Buffalo Wild Wings and order a basket full of fries, so you have to find alternatives that have a meat-like texture.
Now, I'll be honest with you: I've breaded firm tofu pieces and dipped them in ketchup in an attempt to satisfy my hunger for chicken tenders. It was good, but it in no way resembled the fast food chain nuggets I'd grown accustomed to over the years. Tempeh, however, has a consistency that comes very close to a chicken strip, which is why I'd definitely suggest giving this recipe from Sarah's Vegan Kitchen a try.
2. "Cheese" Sauce For Dipping
I'm about to sound super stereotypical here, but giving up cheese is really, really hard. For me, ditching dairy products like cow's milk and yogurt wasn't a huge deal because almond milk is super delicious and there are a ton of plant-based yogurts to substitute the real stuff. But cheese itself is almost impossible to replicate, and what's even more of a struggle is finding vegan cheese that melts the right way.
Instead of relying on store-bought, prepackaged cheeses, From My Bowl blogger Caitlin Shoemaker makes her own cheesy sauce with potatoes, carrots, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, spices, and tahini. It doesn't sound all that appetizing, but the photos legit look like a pack of Velveeta, so I'd give it a taste.
3. Black Bean Burgers
Another meal I had trouble parting with in my veg transition was burgers. As a child, I could not stand the taste of ground beef, but that quickly changed when I took a bite of my first cheeseburger. Luckily, being plant-based doesn't mean you necessarily have to give up these types of hearty sandwiches, because there are a ton of veggie alternatives out there.
This recipe by Maddie Lymburner just so happens to be one of my favorites which, by the way, really says something, considering the gal behind the literally uploaded this instructional on Jan. 11, and I've already made it twice. I'd highly recommend forming the patties into smaller circles and serving as sliders.
4. Vegan Chili
If you don't have a lot of time on your hands before the big game, chili is always a good, go-to simple recipe to tackle.
As you can tell from Hot For Food's clip, all you really need to do is throw a bunch of veggies in a either a pot over the stove or inside a slow cooker, and let the flavors marinate together. Loading up on beans will make the dish that much more satisfying, and you can serve with a spoon or chips for dipping.
5. Vegan Nachos
TBH, I almost didn't include this one because food blogger Candice Hutchings makes a Tom Brady reference not even two minutes into the video above (vom). But, since I'll actually be rooting for the Patriots this year because I hate the Eagles even more, I guess I'll let it slide.
Nachos are another beloved Super Bowl appetizer sports fans love because they can mindlessly pick at the mountainous pile in between plays — got to love finger food, amirite? Instead of chicken strips or chopped meat crumble, layer on refried beans for a ton of flavor and (bonus!) protein.
6. Grain-Free Veggie Pizza
I know what you must be thinking, friends: First she takes away my cheese, now she's taking away my grains. But trust me, Simply Quinoa's got your pizza craving under control.
What I love about this recipe is that it's super convenient: In the video above, food blogger Alyssa uses a Simple Mills boxed mix for her crust, a brand that just so happens to use almond flour to cater to our gluten-free friends. Plus, boxed mixes will save you a lot more time than if you were to go ahead and create your own cauliflower crust.
If you're craving cheesy, meaty toppings, though, I will say Daiya has a great variety of options that are sure to satisfy your hunger, from faux sausage to plant-based pepperoni pies.
7. Baked Potato Wedges
One of the best parts about being a plant-based eater, in my opinion, is the fact that I don't have to give up one of my all-time favorite foods: potatoes. Blame it on my Irish blood, but spuds are my favorite snack, side dish, or even meal, which means I may make these wedges for Super Bowl Sunday, but I can't guarantee I'll share them.
Liv B's crispy fries look and taste heavenly. Not only does she combine a bunch of her favorite spices for a ton of flavor, she coats each piece with bread crumbs for that extra crunch. Genius, right?
8. Chips And Guac
Anything you can dip fries or chips into is a solid choice when it comes to omnivore-approved appetizers, which means a bowl overflowing with guac is bound to be a crowd-pleaser.
Skip the store-bought containers and make your own batch for a healthier alternative (plus, you can make extra to keep at home after the game). Laura In The Kitchen's recipe only contains six wholesome veggie ingredients, so you're good to indulge in a handful (or six) of chips to dip.