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Make Healthier Vegan Versions of The Winning State Fair Food Dishes

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The two winners of this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards, a food competition that judges over-the-top fair creations, have been announced, and unsurprisingly, deep fried fare has stolen the crown once again.

The winner in both the “Best Taste – Savory” and the “Most Creative” categories went to a Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger, which appears to be a classic fair-style funnel cake repurposed into two buns for a burger that is then drenched in queso and piled high with bacon. The dusting of powdered sugar on top finished off the gastronomic monstrosity, because, you know — finesse.

Here’s a close-up look at the Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger. Try to say that five times fast.

State Fair of Texas

Not to be outdone by its savory companion, the winner of the “Best Taste – Sweet” category is actually inspired by the classic “Hurricane”, a sweet alcoholic drink made with rum, fruit juice, and syrup or grenadine.

Described as a “drinkable aquarium” the Gulf Coast Fish Bowl features a Nerds candy coating the bottom of a fish bowl filled to the brim with boozy, blue punch.

Swedish Fish swim in the boozy blue “water”, and a slice of pineapple studded with Nerds serves as the “lid.”

State Fair of Texas

Runner up contestants included Froot Loops, which were enrobed in a generous serving of marshmallow fluff, and then deep-fried; a deep-fried savory doughnut filled with carnitas; a slice of a deep-fried chocolate sheet cake (yes, seriously); deep fried chicken noodle soup balls served on a skewer, and more.

Skip the State Fair, and Indulge in Vegan Treats Instead

Food is our primary source of fuel, first and foremost — but it also serves an alternate purpose of satisfying our taste buds. While none of the food from the state fair is vegan, you can still make some room for whimsy, experimentation, and indulgence if you follow a plant-based diet. We looked through our Food Monster App to bring you some healthier vegan swaps of classic state fair food. Enjoy! 

These Savory Pistachio Pesto Roll Stuffed Doughnuts by Joanne Lee are sumptuous and very satisfying.

Say “hello” to the flavor that will be the envy of all your vegan doughnut-loving foodie friends: the savory doughnut. The center of these savory roll stuffed with pistachio pesto — that’s right, there is a mini pesto roll inside each doughnut. Then, it’s topped with a delicious savory pesto icing. Take photos to impress all your friends and family, because they will be long gone by the time anyone gets to your house to see them in person.

Don’t stop there if you’re committing to decadence: these Cereal Doughnuts by Jackie Ader are fluffy, sweet, and airy.

It is impossible to eat these doughnuts without a smile on your face. They’re slathered in a decadent sugar icing, and then topped with crunchy cereal. Deep-fried deliciousness at its finest!

This Peach Jalebi: Indian Funnel Cake recipe by Anupama Paliwal is sweet, sticky and indulgent.

It’s peachy from all sides. Peachy inside. Peachy outside … It’s peach jalebi! Jalebi is a very popular and traditional Indian sweet dish, generally made on every Indian festival, celebration, or special occasion. It’s like a funnel cake soaked in rich, sweet syrup. These swirly, juicy, crunchy, mouth-watering delicacies might seem a bit complicated to prepare, but they are super simple to make. Nothing complicated at all.

This Shake Shack Double Stack Copycat: Cashew Cheese Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Burger is indulgent and delicious.

The ultimate vegan Portobello mushroom burger by Rebekah Waters – two Portobello mushrooms stuffed with melty cashew cheese, coated in panko breadcrumbs and fried until crispy then sprinkled with rosemary salt. Layered on a toasted burger bun with a spicy cashew mayo, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and pickles if you’re feeling it. Eat with thick-cut, rosemary salt sprinkled, potato or sweet potato chips, extra spicy mayo, and a cold beer for the best vegan burger meal you’ve ever had!

Get into the food-hybrid spirit so often championed at state fairs with these Tater Tot-Chos With Beer Cheese by Ashley Hankins.

What are tater tot-chos? Only the best appetizer that you’re not eating. This awesome snack is the lovechild of nachos and tater tots — crispy tater tots are served with spicy, melty vegan cheese sauce, meat-free chili, and smoky vegetable protein bacon bits. Then, they’re topped with everything that belongs on loaded nachos: guac, pico de gallo, vegan sour cream, and of course, jalapeños. Dig in!

If you’re interested in finding some more vegan recipes, or even tips on how to make food taste great without frying it, like in this recipe for oil-free french fries, then we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Savory Pistachio Pesto Roll Stuffed Doughnuts

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