How to make your fave Super Bowl snacks plant-based

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For everyone who pretends to watch the game on Super Bowl Sunday while they’re really thinking about which snack on the table to try next (yes, I’m talking about myself)—rejoice; it’s almost that time of year again!

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Now, it might have been a while since you’ve hosted this event (here’s a refresher on everything you need for a killer Super Bowl party); so if 2022 is your first year back at it, you might want to switch up the menu this year—either for friends who have since turned vegan, or just to incorporate more veggies in your diet. Either way, we’ve got plenty of suggestions for plant-based Super Bowl snacks that’ll satisfy vegans and omnivores alike.

1. Jackfruit nachos

If you’ve never tried jackfruit as a meat substitute, get ready to be floored. When seasoned appropriately, this tropical Asian fruit takes on an oddly similar taste to pulled pork or chicken. This recipe from Evergreen Kitchen seasons the fruit with spices and BBQ sauce for the perfect nacho topping. You’ll just need a good baking sheet to put everything together; we recommend Nordic Ware’s Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet.

2. Buffalo cauliflower wings

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Eating wings during a sporting event just feels right. But skipping meat doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some fried and saucy goodness. Enter: the ever-versatile cauliflower. Coating these babies with some flour and buffalo seasoning—before throwing them in the air fryer—is an easy app to put together and will satisfy your crispy and spicy cravings. Break out your air fryer (our fave is the Philips Premium Airfryer XXL), this recipe from The Kitchn, and get frying.

3. Impossible meat chili

Chili is another gameday staple. To make this tried-and-true favorite for herbivores, just swap your traditional ground beef or turkey for Impossible meat, and add all the other usual suspects (beans, tomato sauce, spices, etc.). We tested the best way to make chili to discover that stove-top cooking produces the best, quickest results (the method also used in this Impossible Chili recipe). But if you prefer making your chili in a slow cooker—and have the extra time—we found that that yields great results too.

4. Vegan queso

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You might get skeptical when I tell you that this cashew-based recipe is a good substitute for cheesy, gooey queso, but stay with me. Using a base like cashews helps emulate that creamy consistency that makes cheese lovers swoon, and the addition of nutritional yeast brings a cheesy, umami-like flavor—thanks to its inherent glutamate—that makes this dip taste pretty close to the real thing. Plus, it only requires seven ingredients, 5 minutes, and a blender.

5. Hummus

Not feeling experimental enough for fake cheese? You can never go wrong with a good hummus recipe and a plate of crudité or crackers when entertaining. Feel free to make this NY Times Cooking recipe your own by adding spices like za’atar or cayenne, or blending in some roasted onions or red peppers for a twist on the classic. It all comes together easily in a good food processor.

6. Guacamole

We don’t have to tell you that guac is one of the most crowd-pleasing vegan snacks—especially on game day. Last year, Mexican avocado imports actually broke a record in the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

When it comes to recipes, a simple, classic guac is best. But to make your dip extra special, try using a molcajete, a stone mortar and pestle that’s been used in Mexico to make things like mole, salsa, and guacamole for thousands of years. Grind up your chili pepper, onion, and salt together with the molcajete first to release flavor compounds, then muddle in the rest of the ingredients for a superior dip. Plus: You can serve it right in the molcajete when it’s ready; it makes for a killer presentation (and fewer dishes!).

7. Black bean or mushroom sliders

I’ll be honest—few things are more appealing to me than a tiny sandwich. Cutting out meat may mean traditional sliders are no longer an option, but this is where we can get creative.

Swap beef burgers for a veggie patty (this recipe calls for mushrooms, black beans, and oats as the base—put it all together with a food processor), or even mini grilled portobello mushrooms (cookbook author Candice Hutchings recommends marinating them beforehand in this recipe). Once you’ve got your “patties,” fire them up on an indoor grill, and make sure you have plenty of condiments, toppings, and mini buns on hand.

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