“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”
There is no better time than the present to try eating vegan, because every time beyond the present will be worse if we all don’t drastically alter the way we live — and eat.
So, if you want the world as we know it to stop burning — or flooding, or being beset by locusts — before your children’s children get to watch Jimmy Garoppolo’s much more handsome children’s children in Super Bowl XC, it’s time to swap in some plant-based recipes on your Super Bowl LIV party menu this weekend.
Fear not, face-painting 49ers or Chiefs fans and everyone else just waiting for Jennifer Lopez’s Super Bowl halftime show: Vegan can now mean mouth-watering comfort food just as easily as green smoothies and salads more likely to garner Instagram likes than fill you up.
“When I’m thinking Super Bowl, I’m thinking of guys, bellies, and beer. Just food and fun,” says Tamearra Dyson, the chef and owner of Souley Vegan in Oakland, California. “It’s a fun gathering time, and people want to eat fun foods.”
Sure, your inspiration to eat more vegetarian or vegan dishes might be your awareness that meat production drives deforestation that can fuel and intensify fires around the world, or the horrors of factory farming for very smart piggies and their animals pals. Buuuuuuut that doesn’t mean vegans don’t have plenty of tasty and fun things to eat, too. It also doesn’t mean you won’t think you’re eating bacon.
Here, for the second year in a row, are enough vegan snack suggestions and plant-based recipes from noted chefs and food blogs across the country to feed everyone at your party. Just about all of the ingredients should be familiar and available at most grocery stores. Yes, you’ll be using plant-based meat substitutes for some of them. No, this still does not mean you have to stop being a football fan.
If this is all new to you and you’re skeptical, try substituting at least one vegan or vegetarian dish this year to eat a bit less meat and dairy on Super Bowl Sunday. Heed Coach Lombardi: quitting can become a habit.
Kickoff: Vegan snacks that are already Super Bowl legends
You might hear the phrase (and definitely read it in the 2019 version of this post) “accidentally vegan” thrown around when it comes to foods like tortilla chips and salsa and all sorts of familiar foods that are, by default, vegan. To demystify this food category a bit further, let’s think of those foods as “already vegan.” As in, your Super Bowl party already was going to have a lot of food that is already vegan.
- Most potato, tortilla, and corn chips flavors!
- All of those vegetable platters!
- Plenty of store-bought dip options too!
First Quarter: Buffalo Cauliflower is your Vegan 2019 MVP
Like Patrick Mahomes, cauliflower is having a moment, still. And like Mahomes, cauliflower is also versatile, finding open space and angles like no other player — or vegetable — can. Unlike Mahomes, cauliflower is ready to be buffaloed. Even in the land of cheese and the NFC runner-up Green Bay Packers, plant-based gameday options like buffalo cauliflower are finding their way onto menus like the one at Palomino in Milwaukee.
”We’ve only had them on for a few months but they have been a good seller since the day we put them on,” says Palomino executive chef and managing partner Derek Petersen. “We have vegans and meat eaters order them as an appetizer all the time without hesitation. We noticed them at a few other places and thought it would be a good idea to try as they are inexpensive, easy to prep, and delicious — all things chefs look for when putting a new menu item on. I think they are catching on as people are always looking for healthier options when dining out but still with a comfort food feel.”
Buffalo cauliflower by Palomino
Cast iron pot
1 head cauliflower
4 cups canola oil
Dry rub (see below)
Hot sauce (see below)
Vegan ranch (see below)
3 cups soy milk
1 cup franks red hot
¼ cup sriracha
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon canola oil
1 serrano pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Put all ingredients in a Vitamix or blender and puree until smooth
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dry ground mustard
Mix all ingredients until combined
1/4 cup plain soy milk
2 cups vegan mayo
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients until combined
Cut cauliflower into large bite-sized pieces and toss with a quarter of the canola oil and dry rub. While the cauliflower is marinating, heat the rest of the canola oil to 375 degrees in a cast iron pot.
Place marinated cauliflower bites into soy milk and then into flour. Slowly drop them into heated oil and fry until golden brown (about 3 minutes). Remove with kitchen skimmer and put into a bowl and toss with hot sauce. Serve with celery and carrot sticks and a side of homemade vegan ranch.
Second Quarter: Vegan Mac N’ Cheese Pie? VEGAN MAC N’ CHEESE PIE!
Whether it is a game day or not, The Vegan Stoner has plenty of recipes for anyone craving hearty, comfort food. The duo behind the visual and culinary delights of this blog have been getting creative in the kitchen and on the internet for a while, and they’ve noticed more folks catching on.
“It’s driven by the lower impact plant-based foods have on the environment, as well as people’s growing compassion for animals,” says The Vegan Stoner’s Graham I. Haynes, who, along with co-author Sarah Conrique, has another cookbook full of inexpensive, fast and cozy vegan recipes set to be released by Penguin Random House in early 2021. “It’s pretty clear more people are interested in vegan foods of all types as time goes on — from comfort foods and meat replacements to health-based, raw and whole food recipes.”
Vegan Mac N’ Cheese Pie by The Vegan Stoner
Halftime: Vegan Nacho Cheese recipe because NACHOS
What do I say to someone who mocks my food?
It’s nacho choice.
What do I say to someone who is interested in eating vegan but really loves nachos?
Let’s taco ‘bout it because we’ve got options!
“I’ve tried many cheese sauce recipes as well as products I’ve found at some specialty stores. None of it is that good,” says Lauren Toyota author of Vegan Comfort Classics: 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face as well as the hot for food blog. “Sometimes it just tastes like nuts, or nothing, or something else you can’t quite figure out on your tastebuds. Well, you’ll get none of that with this version!”
Vegan nacho cheese by Lauren Toyota
1 cup white potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 C nondairy milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
6 pickled jalapeño slices
3 tablespoons jalapeño pickling liquid
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1⁄2 teaspoon arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Boil the potatoes and carrots in a pot of water for approximately 10 minutes. Drain them from the boiling water and add to a high-powered blender immediately. If you cook the potatoes for too long, they will become starchy and your sauce will not be smooth. This recipe will not work in a conventional blender. The potatoes need to be whipped at a high enough speed that they break down and emulsify, creating a smooth and creamy cheese-like sauce, with undetectable potato! You’ll need a Vitamix or Blendtec. I’ve made it in a Magic Bullet in a half batch and it also worked well.
Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and combine until smooth. Your sauce may be hot enough to serve immediately if you’re in a rush, or heat it up in a small pot to thicken it slightly before pouring over whatever food you want to make cheesier. How about chips, chili, broccoli or cauliflower, for starters?
Once you’ve got your dairy-free nacho cheese prepared then you can check out some of Lauren’s nacho recipes, including her Nachos Supreme and Mean Green Vegan Nachos. Of course, you can and should always trust your instincts when it comes to nacho toppings, just like Josh Rosen.
Third Quarter: Creole spice by way of the Bay Area
Originally from the Bay Area, Souley Vegan owner and chef Tamearra Dyson is inspired by her family’s Louisiana roots and her mother’s example of family cooking. Dyson left behind a career in the medical field to start serving up vegan eats at a local farmer’s market in 2006, and has been dishing out her plant-based take on Creole flavors at her Oakland, California, restaurant since 2009.
Back then, Frank Gore was still a youthful 49ers running back and vegan food was not on-trend or even well understood by most folks. Dyson recalls getting concerned recommendations from patrons to at least add some fish to her menu, as well as questions from confused potential customers asking if her vegan restaurant served ribs.
“I’d like to say we were trailblazers in the industry in terms of making vegan approachable — and then even cool. We were having people coming from everywhere from all different backgrounds to eat the cuisine because they heard about the food, they heard about the atmosphere, and they wanted to experience it,” says Dyson. “We weren’t that common perception of what vegan restaurants are. People are like, ‘Oh, they’re snooty.’ They’re fearful of asking questions because people snub them if they’re not vegan, etc. We just had a different approach, a bold approach, but my approach was who I am.”
If you’re in the vicinity of Oakland, you can order Super Bowl snacks like vegan hot links or creole fries directly from Souley Vegan. But if that’s not an option, Dyson has shared her recipe for Crunchy Vegan Seitan (or baby bella mushrooms) with buffalo sauce for you to test out at home.
Crunchy vegan seitan and/or baby bella mushrooms with buffalo sauce by Souley Vegan
Vital wheat gluten (see below)
Baby bella mushrooms, sliced as desired (With or instead or seitan. Use mushrooms if gluten free)
Vegetable broth (or miso)
Unbleached flour (or brown rice flour, if gluten free)
Buffalo sauce (your favorite)
Mix 1 1⁄4 cup vital wheat gluten with one cup water. Add pinch of salt, pepper and cayenne. Add a little creole seasoning of your choice.
Knead thoroughly then roll into a ball.
Boil for 45 minutes in veggie broth or miso then let cool. After seitan has cooled off thoroughly slice into desired pieces and set aside.
For mushrooms and seitan
Make wet batter by adding one cup of flour to a half cup of water, and adding seasoning of your choice. Stir and set aside.
In another bowl, make the dry batter, mixing one more cup of flour and seasoning of your choice.
Dip seitan and/or mushrooms in the wet batter, then in the dry batter. Fry until crispy, crunchy and golden brown.
Dip into your favorite buffalo sauce and have at them!
Fourth Quarter: Vegetarian Kansas City BBQ Is A Thing
Kansas City has been eating barbecue far longer than it’s been rooting for the Chiefs. For more than a century that has meant smoked meats, burnt ends and a thick tomato-based sauce that is just the right mixture of sweet and tangy. Kansas City barbecue is known for incorporating a wide variety of meats, and now visitors to Char Bar in Kansas City will see that it includes smoked jackfruit too.
”I wanted to emphasize the fact that traditional barbecue has always been 100 percent meat, so I printed the words, ‘House of Meat’ on the front of each menu and placed a Skull & Crossbones icon beside each vegetarian menu item as a tongue-in-cheek way of pointing out that traditional barbecue is changing,” says Mark Kelpe, the managing partner of Beer KC Restaurants, including Char Bar Smoked Meat and Amusements in Kansas City. “In the opening mission statement on Char Bar’s website, I even wrote the following words, ‘We’ve created a new kind of playground where carnivores, herbivores and locavores can co-mingle peacefully. Together, we will be called Charbarians.’”
Not surprisingly, the plant-based menu options at Char Bar faced some initial skepticism, but eventually the jackfruit sandwich began holding its own on the menu.
”Initially upon opening, we only featured smoked jackfruit as an option on our combination ‘Whomp Platter.’ But unfortunately, it didn’t go over so well with the carnivores expecting an ‘all meat’ tray,” Kelpe says. “So after our first year in business, I created the Jackknife Sandwich, featuring the smoked jackfruit, spicy bbq sauce, melted provolone cheese, sliced avocado and crispy fried jalapeno on a toasted farm-to-market egg bun. Char Bar’s Jackknife Sandwich can certainly go head-to-head with any of the best pulled pork sandwiches in town. Soon after, sales took off and we quickly became known for offering smoked jackfruit.”
As you can see, Char Bar’s recipe for the Jackknife Sandwich is vegetarian rather than strictly vegan. But you can skip the fried buttermilk jalapeños (or tweak the batter recipe) and make a few other ingredient substitutions (bye, egg buns brushed with butter) if you want to make it fully vegan.
The Jackknife Sandwich by Char Bar Smoked Meats & Amusements
Note: We use “hickon” wood in our smokers, which is a proprietary blended species of hickory and pecan trees grown in central Missouri, but any hardwood or wood chips will do.
Two 14-ounce cans young green jackfruit packed in water or brine, not syrup (available at most Asian markets or Amazon.com)
Hardwood or soaked wood chips for smoking
8 ounces Char Bar Table Sauce (available online at www.meatmitch.com) or your favorite spicy barbecue sauce
Buttermilk-fried jalapeños (optional)
¾ cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups canola oil, for frying
4 egg or brioche hamburger buns
2 ounces melted butter
4 1-ounce slices provolone cheese
1 ripe avocado
Buttermilk-fried jalapeño slices
Note: Can make two days ahead, but best when fresh.
Drain and thoroughly rinse the jackfruit. Pat dry and smoke by your preferred method over low heat until the fruit has shrunk slightly and browned lightly around the edges.
When cool, hand shred the fruit into strands, discarding any woody core pieces.
Toss with Char Bar Table Sauce or favorite spicy barbecue sauce.
Buttermilk fried jalapeños
Slice jalapeños into coins about ½-inch thick and set aside.
In a bowl, whisk buttermilk and egg together.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, garlic powder, cayenne and black pepper.
Pour vegetable oil in frying pan until ½-inch deep. Heat the oil at medium heat until it registers 350 degrees.
Dip the jalapeno coins into the milk mixture and then lightly dredge in flour mixture.
Drop into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain well. Set aside.
Heat smoked jackfruit until warm throughout. Brush egg buns with melted butter and toast. Add four ounces of smoked jackfruit to each toasted bottom bun. Top with slice of provolone and melt under broiler.Top each bun with thinly sliced avocado, buttermilk-fried jalapeno slices and top bun.
Overtime: Always time for a vegan dessert recipe
Three flavors that go great together: Chocolate, peanut butter and NOT baking.
For a simple but delicious way to send even Jets fans home happy on Sunday, check out these No-Bake Almond Butter Cup Bars from Minimalist Baker. Twenty minutes, nine ingredients and 12 servings worth of smiles.
Check out the recipe here.