I Can’t Believe They’re Not Wings! 6 Delicious Vegetarian Super Bowl Snacks

By Perri O. Blumberg and Caitlin O'Connell

With all the recipes for chicken wings flying around in anticipation of Super Bowl Sunday, our mouths were watering. But for the non-carnivores out there, chips and guac don’t sound all that appetizing as alternatives. So we tested out some meat-less game day recipes and meals. Here are our favorites, and the folks we know will love ‘em. Happy Food Coma!

For the Texas gal who’s a vegan but loves her nachos and isn’t willing to give them up: Get your nachos-loaded-with-cheesy-sauce-and-goodies fix from Food For Lovers vegan queso cheese.  It uses nutritional yeast (also great on popcorn) to create a cheesy dip nearly identical to dairy cheese dips. “It was as easy as heating and pouring over some tortilla chips with some black beans, jalapenos, salsa and avocados,” raves Perri. “My non-veggie friends couldn’t even tell the difference!” Oh, and it’s actually low in fat.  Amazing.

For the vegan who still craves her meaty favorites now and then:  Super Bowl parties can be chock-full of temptation for former meat eaters: chicken wings, pulled pork, and possibly something bacon-wrapped. Thankfully, Gardein offers an impressive line of meatless products that work well as substitutes in traditional football fare. Pile their BBQ Pulled Shreds high on a toasted bun with some lettuce for crunch; you won’t miss the original.

For the vegetarian who can’t function without a Cajun foodie fix: Ah, what’s game day without jambalaya? Luckily, it’s pretty easy to adapt this recipe for both carnivores and vegetarians. Set up an easy Jambalaya bar for everyone to enjoy by mixing about 2 cups water, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a store bought package of Jambalaya mix (Full disclosure: We tried Zatarain’s Jambalaya Mix, Original and were not disappointed) then toss in diced tomatoes, onions, red peppers, green peppers and a dash of cayenne pepper. On the side, line up little bowls of  cubed chicken, ham, sausage, shrimp, and for the fellow vegetarians in the house, cubed extra firm tofu or some seitan (a wheat based meat substitute, also called mock duck or wheat meat). Feast away on the mish mash and go Nola!

For the vegetarian party host who hates to cook:  Then why are you hosting a party, dear? Just kidding! We both were amazed by the burst of yumminess in Annie Chun’s Spicy Vegetable Mini Wontons , which took only seven minutes to prepare! The bite-size treats are loaded with fresh veggies and red chili garlic puree (Hello, spicy kick). To jazz them up, we served them with a sauce made of equal parts soy sauce and honey.

For the pescatarian who doesn’t want JustAnotherShrimpCocktail Dish: Here’s a perfect appetizer  that we prepared with Gina Neely, the Food Network star, who’s teamed up with George Foreman to produce healthier grilled fare : Combine a pound of large shrimp (peeled and deveined) with two tablespoons olive oil, a tablespoon of smoked paprika, 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Cook on medium-high for 4-6 minutes. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and serve with 1/2 pound small asparagus (great for sopping up the juices). It tastes about as much like diet food as double chocolate layer cake with a scoop of ice cream on top, and packs enough protein to help curb overeating once, you know, that whole football game thing starts and the nail-biting begins.

For the vegan with a sweet tooth: Fortunately for the vegetarian/vegan crowd, dairy-free desserts have come a long way in terms of taste. Whole Foods offers their own line of delicious vegan desserts —think your standard bakery fare: pies, cakes, creamy tiramisu, and our favorite, moon pies—and if you can’t get to the store, you can find many of their recipes online.

P.S. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the booze. As it turns out, many wines, beers and spirits are processed with animal products like bone char, isinglass (from fish bladders), ox blood and other icky substances. Who knew? For a comprehensive guide to vegan-friendly alcohol, check out Barnivore.

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