Is there a better time to live in the South than fall, y’all? For the entire month of October every window in our house is open, there’s a 70° breeze traveling through, football’s on the TV and it’s pumpkin everything. Football season marks the beginning of the time when our family reconvenes after what is typically an action-packed summer and comes together over games and good food.
However, the food that tastes good on game day and the good-for-you food are not always the same. My family’s desire for seriously yummy bites and our journey toward wellness has set me on a borderline obsession with seeking out healthy swap-outs for the unhealthy food we once loved.
The good news- there are virtually endless vegan, healthy recipes to swap from the unhealthy ones. The bad news– some of them are downright nasty! And there’s no point in finding healthier recipes when my kids won’t touch them. After much trial and error with recipes that were underwhelming at best, here are three that pass the healthy test and the taste test of my family’s most finicky eaters.
No-Fry Vegan Buffalo Wings
This recipe by Kimberly Snyder, whose books and blog have transformed the way my family eats, takes on one of the foods that pack the most unhealthy fats and sodium- the traditional buffalo wing.
Who doesn’t love wings? Until we learn that a mere three wings (and who only eats three?) pack in 11 grams of fat, 180 calories and more than half of your daily sodium limit! Believe it or not, cauliflower is a great substitute for the texture of chicken when baked and covered in sauce.
- ½ cup gluten-free flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 3 teaspoons egg replacer
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- ¼ cup organic hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Vegan “Ranch” Dip
- ⅔ cup silken tofu
- ½ a medium yellow onion
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro – minced
- 1 tbsp fresh dill – minced
- 2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Wash and cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces. Prepare the dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Add the water to dry ingredients and whisk the mixture till it is relatively lump free.
- Blend all sauce ingredients together in food processor unti
- Prepare a cookie sheet with wax paper. Dip each cauliflower bite into the mixture and place on cookie sheet.
- Cook for 30 minutes, flip then cook for ten more minute. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Toss the cauliflower bites in the hot sauce and coconut oil.
- Serve cauliflower wings with carrots, celery and the vegan ranch.
Find the original recipe posted on Kimberly Snyder’s blog: here.
Skinny Spinach and Artichoke Dip
There aren’t many dishes that deliver the satisfaction of warm, cheesy spinach and artichoke dip heaped atop a tortilla chip. This one has been my weakness on many game-days, ever calling me back for one…more… bite. I knew it wasn’t on the light side but when I finally looked up the nutritional stats, my jaw almost hit the floor.
Traditional Spinach and Artichoke Dip with tortilla chips pack a whopping 310 calories and 19 grams of fat in a measly two tablespoons! Not so appealing anymore, right? I love this lighter version, via Happy Healthy Mama. Try it and you’ll likely never go back to the high-cal side. Really.
4 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained of moisture
10 ounce jar marinated artichoke quarters, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a hand mixer, blend together the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, and garlic cloves. Make sure all of the water has been pressed out of your spinach. Add the spinach and chopped artichoke hearts to the cheese mixture. Transfer the mixture to a small baking dish and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown, 20-30 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!
Find the original recipe posted on Happy Healthy Mama: here.
Guacamole Deviled Eggs
This Southern party staple has taken a turn for the fancy in the last few years, and I have to admit, I’ve rarely met a version I don’t love. While eggs pack a nice dose of protein and enough nutrients to sustain the life of a would-be chicken, it’s the deviled part that can be a bit more, well, devilish.
After mixing in mayo, each half an egg contains around 64 calories and almost six grams of fat. Not the worst culprit on the table but we can make it better with healthy fats and the rich, buttery yumminess of an avocado. This version via Skinny Taste is a hit every time.
*Tip: For the youngest partygoers, just tell them it’s called “Green Eggs, No Ham”. Works almost every time.
6 large eggs, hard boiled
1 medium haas avocado (about 5 oz)
2-3 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp red onion, minced
1 tbsp minced jalapeno
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 tbsp diced tomato
Pinch of chile powder (for garnish)
- Peelthe cooled hard boiled eggs.
- Cutthe eggs in half horizontally, andset the yolks aside.
- In a bowl, mashthe avocado and 2 whole egg yolks; discard the rest. Mixin lime juice, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and pepper and adjust to taste. Gently fold in tomato.
- Scoopheaping spoonfuls of the guacamole into the 12 halved eggs. Sprinkle with a little chile powder for color and arrange on a platter.
Find the original recipe on Skinny Taste: here.
I’d love to see your finished products and hear how these recipes went over on game day! Feel free to leave your pics and feedback in the comments below.