Hey! Just because football is a testosterone-fueled, hard-hitting action with players flying around the field looking to put a hat on somebody doesn’t mean a veggie lover can’t watch. Manliness has nothing to do with what you eat! I love football, and when it comes time for pre-game snackage, I want to be right there with rest.
Tailgating is, for many, more fun than watching the game itself. An evening game can easily turn into an all-day event. When the grills get rolling, the concoctions bubbling and the beers flowing, it’s no time to be pouty lipped with a bag of baby carrots. No, no. Get in the game and show your loved ones how tailgating is done, veggie-style.
Before the season starts, let’s take a moment to get some fantastic plant-based tailgating dishes on the menu. From snack foods to stomach stretchers, here’s your blueprint for the pre-game festivities.
The eating must begin early and must include snacks, so make sure to impress with some jazzed-up vegan versions of classic football food.
- Buffalo Stuff: Nothing says football like that spicy buffalo sauce. Well, it doesn’t always have to be wings. Prepare these buffalo roasted chickpeas for a little in-the-meantime snacking. Or, have a whole selection platter with buffalo tempeh meatballs and/or buffalo tofu fries.
- Chips: It wouldn’t be prudent to not have chips somewhere in this parking lot party, but why settle for the same old, same old? Make some rocking homemade sour cream and onion kale chips to blow the competition away. Or, come with a variety: corn and black bean chips and/or raw vegan parmesan ‘pita’ chips.
- Dips: What chips would be complete without some dip, and while guacamole and salsa are always winners, there are lots of other tailgate-worthy vegan options out there. Warm ‘vegveeta’ cheese dip, roasted red pepper hummus, and creamy artichoke spinach dip also go down quite well with hungry audiences.
Full Swing Eating
It’s got to be a rib-sticking, soul-warming plate that leaves no doubt you will not be the one on the field today. Think big and bulky.
- Chili: As that fall weather starts to sweep and chill things off, folks will be stoked to get a bowl of something hot and heavy, and chili hits the spot. Plus, there are few dishes burlier than a big vat of bubbling chili. Go classic and easy or get funky with recipes like chipotle chocolate chili and “chicken” green chili and hominy posole.
- Grill: You can’t tailgate without a grill going, so be sure to pack up some good vegan sausages and burgers, or as is the theme, make your own better version. Kill two birds with one dish and go for a grilled buffalo tofu po’boy with apple slaw. Otherwise, make your own homemade spicy Italian sausage and/or spicy balsamic tofu veggie kababs. Don’t forget to make some home-slung bbq sauce.
- Sides: Got to have a substantial side, something that will undoubtedly strain a paper plate under its weight. Potato salad is a classic that can never be wrong, as is cole slaw. There are also a bevy of pasta salads, or just some hearty spaghetti in chunky red sauce is a classic accompaniment.
2-Minutes Left for Dessert
The quickest way to become popular is to bring out dessert. No matter how full everyone is, they will have just a little more.
- Ice Cream: Start the season with a dizzying array of cool treats to ease the afternoon swelter. Ice cream is perfect, and with good planning and placement, it should hold well in the ice chest. Check out this super simple mango banana soft serve or get fancier with some drunken cherry coconut ice cream. (This, of course, works best if you know someone with an RV and a freezer.)
- Fruit: Now, a good wedge of watermelon will work just fine, but it is easy to wow the crowd with a little something funky. Check these grilled fruit kebabs, and while the grill is still rolling, try stuffing some bananas with dark chocolate. Two more words: Strawberry shortcake.
- Cupcakes: Nothing says bliss like a cupcake. It belongs to you and you alone. Why not make enough to share? Bring some surefire crowd-pleasers like hazelnut chocolate cupcakes or vegan vanilla cupcakes. Then again, the same baking pan can also make some rocking pumpkin spice doughnuts.
Lost in all the good eats, however, it is important not to forget: The whole reason for being there is the game.
Image source: slgckgc/ Flickr