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Guacamole is not only healthy, buy also delicious

Healthy Eating: Top 10 Plant-Based Tailgate Recipes for Vegans

Nick Cole

Are you hosting a tailgate this season and know there will be guests who are vegan?

Don’t worry! Having vegans around doesn’t mean the food party stops.

There are some plant-based recipes that are delicious enough to please both the carnivores and herbivores at your gathering.

We’ve done the research, and we’ve come away with a good selection of appetizers, light entrees and delectable desserts. Now it’s time for you to use your cooking skills to prove it.

Here are 10 of the top plant-based recipes that will knock the socks off the pro-vegan eaters at your tailgate this football season:


Guacamole

Let’s ease into this discussion by finding some common ground between the meat eaters and the plant eaters by stating this irrefutable fact: Guacamole is delicious.

And guess what? Most guacamole recipes are vegan!

Your ingredients list may vary, but most guacamole recipes include avocado, cilantro, onion, garlic, tomato, lime and perhaps some salt and pepper. You can kick things up a notch with some peppers, as needed. Here’s a sample recipe to get you started.

You can slice up some fresh veggies for dipping to ensure that the vegan experience remains pure on this one.


Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Mushroom burger (Chris Hunt/Special for AJC)

If you’re firing up the grill for some burgers and dogs, grilled portobello mushroom burgers are a great option for the vegans at the party to enjoy the experience sans the meat.

The recipe I picked for this list calls for a marinade using Montreal steak seasoning, among other tasty staples that give it a familiar flavor off the grill. You can check out the full recipe here.

Heads up if you’re looking to make this a cheeseburger: The vegan at your party probably will be looking for non-dairy cheese.


Vegan Pretzel Bites with Spicy Mustard Dip

Soft pretzels fall squarely into the “gameday experiences worth having” category in my book, so I was happy to find that there’s a way to prepare these to make them vegan-friendly.

The key is replacing items like butter, which is clearly not vegan, with ingredients that can replicate the taste, texture and consistency of the baked treat we’ve all come to enjoy at football stadiums over the years.

This website suggests using vegan oil or butter as a substitute in its recipe. It also has a good cashew and almond milk-based recipe for a spicy mustard dip, but I’m sure you could probably get creative if you want to aim for a different flavor.


Vegan Cucumber Hummus Bites

Full disclosure: My wife suggested that I include this one on the list.

She’s a hummus fan, and if you have a hummus fan in your own life, you know that they take hummus seriously. It is versatile, and can be eaten any time of day with a wide variety of dipping options.

Since the demand for these could be high among your group, I chose a recipe that I believe to be the perfect combination of ease and taste. These can be prepared in advance of the day of the tailgate, stored in a refrigerator and then be served on gameday without any further prep work required.


Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Pinwheels

Pinwheels and sandwich platters are a tailgating staple. And there’s no reason you can’t carry that tradition on in a meat-free environment.

With the help of plant-based ingredients like spinach and tomatoes, you can create a delicious new take on pinwheels with this recipe.


Baked Vegan Buffalo “Chicken” Dip

This won’t be the first time we pretend cauliflower is chicken while writing this story, but it may be the best option.

Buffalo chicken dip has long been a favorite at my personal tailgates and family gatherings, so putting together a plant-based substitute for this one could be a great way to convince more tailgaters at my house to give the vegan life a try.

And if you’re using this Veggies Don’t Bite recipe, the cauliflowers won’t be the only trick up your sleeve. You’re also going to be tasked with replacing a dairy-heavy sauce with a sauce made primarily from cashews and cashew oil.


Simple Vegan “Meatballs”

While we’re in the “pretend it is meat” portion of the story, I feel it’s best that we next tackle another tailgate staple: The meatball.

You may be wondering how to replicate the taste of a meatball without meat. The secret to plant-based meatballs, according to this article from the Minimalist Baker, is tempeh.

Tempeh is made from soybeans, so it’s sorta like tofu. Anyway, you’ll need approximately 10 ingredients for this one. And since Minimalist Baker does such a great job with the video on making these, it’s probably easier to let them tell the story from here:


Vegan Nashville Hot Cauliflower Bites

I hail from the Music City, so I hope you didn’t expect to escape this article without a little “vegan” taste of Nashville.

Nashville is known for its hot chicken (truthfully, this is mostly a tourist marketing ploy). And if you’ve ever been to Hattie B’s or Prince’s for the “real deal” hot chicken, you probably know the menu is not very vegan friendly.

We’re going to take a different approach at your tailgate. We’re going to bring the Nashville heat to a plant-based snack.

These cauliflower bites are battered in a non-dairy garlic and onion-based flour, and then dipped in a Nashville hot sauce that consists of paprika and cayenne, among other things.


Apple Oatmeal Cookies

We can’t forget the dessert with this article. Once you’ve created your plant-based appetizer and entree of choice, you’re going to want to have something sweet to top it all off after your favorite team wins on a Saturday.

The first of two suggestions is a recipe for apple oatmeal cookies. These are great because they combine hearty ingredients like fresh-rolled oats and almond butter with freshly sliced apples to give you something meaningful on the stomach while satisfying your sweet tooth at the same time.


Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan cookies (Becky Stein/Special)

As you may have read in my breakdown of the best tailgate desserts, I hold chocolate chip cookies in the highest regard. It’s the elite of the elite when it comes to a snackable tailgate dessert.

So when I found out that you can make these bad boys in vegan form, I determined that I must include them on the list.

It might feel odd to see things like applesauce and flax seed in a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I’m on board as long as we arrive at the chewy goodness at the end of the cooking adventure. Here’s a good recipe from the Food Network to get you started with this “vegan take” on an American classic.

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