If there’s ever a party in need of a vegan makeover, it’s the Super Bowl party.

Excepting the requisite guacamole, these TV-centric gatherings often present a culinary nightmare for vegetarians, let alone vegans. Think about it: Super Bowl parties are social events that practically revel in meat.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Here’s everything you need to know to make your Super Bowl party a plant-based paradise.

According to my readers and friends, the simplest thing to do is take meaty Super Bowl foods – wings, nachos, beef chili – and veganize them. While vegan cuisine is, of course, much more encompassing than imitations of meat-based dishes, local hosts report that non-vegetarian guests find veganized versions of familiar foods more inviting.

Stephanie Chaisson of Portland is a vegan who hosts Patriots parties all season long. She said the key to crafting a successful vegan Super Bowl party menu is to serve one main dish accompanied by a variety of snacks. She takes care that all the foods she serves can be eaten while sitting on the couch and that guests can see and reach all the appetizers from their spot in front of the TV.

“We serve spicy crock pot chili at half time,” Chaisson said. “We also serve vegan potato chips, popcorn, veggies and hummus and beer. Can’t forget about the beer.”

Vegan chili is a fan favorite on the local vegetarian party circuit.

Tony Payne of Falmouth and Portlanders Kristin Dicara-McClellan and Tim Vogel all sent me their recipes. Vogel’s pumpkin-quinoa chili uses two types of beans and red and green bell peppers. Payne’s “Little Zingah” (the name refers to the peppery kick) recipe is so simple it can be summed up in four sentences:

Sauté 2 diced onions and 2 tablespoons of minced garlic. Add 3 cans of diced tomatoes and 1 can each of black beans, kidney beans and garbanzo beans. Dice a package of Tofurky kielbasa (or other sausage substitute) and add it to the chili along with a bag of soy crumbles. Season with chili pepper and ground black pepper, and you have a meal for six to eight football fans.

“We have fed our friends and family a vegetarian chili with a meat substitute many, many times,” said Rachael Weinstein Alfond of Portland, who along with her husband, State Sen. Justin Alfond (D-Portland), invites friends to their home to watch most of the Patriots’ games.

“We love to entertain, and we have always advertised our gatherings as kosher or vegetarian” or pescatarian, Alfond told me. “We schedule most of our weekends around football games.”

The menu at the Alfond house includes other vegan dishes, such as veggie spring rolls, tofu with spicy peanut dip and vegan pigs-in-a-blanket with mustard dipping sauce. Guests wash everything down with a selection of locally brewed beers.

This Super Bowl season’s darling of the veggie blogosphere is vegan wings, making Patrick Jones of South Portland and Maggie Knowles of Portland right on trend with their recipes. Jones shared detailed instructions for making sietan wings, a complicated procedure that involved making the sietan itself, cutting it in “wings,” simmering the pieces in vegetable stock, coating them in sauce and finally pan-frying. Knowles took a very different approach, using battered cauliflower florets as the base for her wings. Both serve the wings with celery sticks and homemade vegan ranch dipping sauce.

Sherry Kaplan of Cumberland says the Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip from Angela Liddon’s “The Oh She Glows Cookbook” gets rave reviews from both vegan and non-vegan football fans. The recipe includes a cheese-like sauce made from pureed cashews, cooked carrots and nutritional yeast.

The dip would go well with the Jackfruit Carnitas burritos from cleangreensimple.com, a recipe shared by Deb Molinari Tenenbaum of Portland. “Even carnivores like them,” she says. The recipe uses the stringy, squash-like Asian fruit to create a dish that looks – and reportedly tastes – similar to carnitas, or roasted pulled pork.

Cooking instructor Lisa Silverman, of the Five Seasons Cooking School in Portland, suggests deep-frying small pieces of mochi. She says this causes the Japanese pounded rice (which you can find in the refrigerated section of grocery stores) to “puff up like Veggie Booty.” She sprinkles the puffs with crushed seaweed before serving them.

For a recent Sunday football game, fashion designer Jackie Real of Portland was inspired to make baked oat falafel and vegan veggie latkes. You can find both recipes on her blog at jackiereal.com.

My inquiries into the world of vegan Super Bowl eats also yielded a party’s worth of emailed recipes, several of which I’ve included here. I hope you’ll join me in trying out these recipes this weekend and doing your part to make every Super Bowl party more vegan-friendly.

Carole Hunnewell’s Super Cream Cheese Ball

You’ll need Instant Clear Jel, a food thickener, to make the cheese ball. Serve the cheese ball with crackers or use it to stuff celery.

24 ounces (3 containers) “Tofutti” cream cheese

1 package “Simply Organic” French onion dip

½ cup finely minced raw onion

6 ounces pimentos, drained (4 ounces diced and 2 ounces pureed))

4 teaspoons dried chives

4 teaspoons Instant Clear Jel

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon citric acid crystals, optional

1½ cups chopped pecans

Combine the cream cheese, onion dip, onions, pimientos and chives until well mixed. Next combine the Jel, salt and citric acid and sprinkle over the cheese mixture. Mix well.

Shape into a ball and chill until firm enough to roll in the chopped pecans. Press the pecans gently into the cheese until it’s coated on all sides. Chill until ready to serve.

Leslie Cottrell Simonds’ Sweet ‘n’ Sour Balls of Tempeh

Tempeh Balls:

2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or peanut

1 small onion, cut into eighths

3 cloves garlic

1 (8 ounce) package of organic/GMO-free tempeh, broken into chunks

1/2 cup gluten-free panko

2 tablespoons plant-based milk

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Sauce:

1 cup pineapple chunks

1/2 cup organic/GMO-free vegetable broth, or juice from the pineapple chunks

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup organic brown sugar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon Srirachi

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

To make the tempeh balls, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet or a large cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the oil.

Place the onion and garlic into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S-blade. Pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Add the tempeh and pulse a few more times until finely chopped. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, panko, milk, soy sauce and pepper. Pulse until mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Be mindful to pulse – not to run the machine – in order to maintain some texture.

Roll the mixture into 20 balls about 11/2 inches in diameter. Place the tempeh balls on the prepared baking sheet or skillet and bake, turning twice, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Put the pineapple, broth, cider vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, soy sauce and Sriracha in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat and maintain a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Combine the arrowroot powder with 2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the arrowroot mixture to the sauce and stir just until combined. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce becomes thick and coats the “meat” balls, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer the meatballs to a serving platter and spear with decorative toothpicks for serving.

Kristin DiCara-McClellan’s Chili and Cornbread

Dicara-McClellan likes Tofurkey for the textured vegetable protein.

Chili:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 chopped onion

1/2 cup white or whole wheat flour

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 pound package textured vegetable protein (veggie crumbles)

1 (16-ounce) can chopped tomatoes

1 (16-ounce) can red kidney beans

1 (16-ounce) can black beans

1 (16-ounce) can refried beans with roasted chilies

2 canned Mexican chilies

1 recipe Cornbread (below)

Vegan sour cream or cheese for serving

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. When it’s warm, add the onion and sauté until tender and golden brown. Add the flour, then 1/2 cup stock and let the mixture thicken into a roux, which will take a few minutes. Add the spices and textured vegetable protein and brown for 5 minutes. Pour in the remaining 2 cups stock and tomatoes and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Add the beans and chilies and cook for another 15 minutes, uncovered, until nice and thick.

To serve, cut out the middle of each muffin and fill it with a large spoonful of chili. Top with vegan sour cream or cheese. Crumble some of the cut-out corn bread on top.

Cornbread:

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

1 cup flour

1 cup cornmeal

1/3 cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup soy milk

1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with oil.

Bring 6 tablespoons water to a boil in small saucepan. Add the flaxseed and simmer in water for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.

Add the flax mixture, soy milk and canola oil. Beat just until smooth; do not over beat.

Divvy the batter up among the muffin cups. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Avery Yale Kamila is a freelance food writer in Portland. She can be reached at:

[email protected]

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila