Not to be confused with some nutrient-rich rice bowl packed with veggies, just when you thought you’d solidified some healthy eating habits for 2018, along comes the Super Bowl. Ah, the Super Bowl, that thrilling annual event that pits the season’s two strongest opponents against each other—your steely resolve to actually be in control and make sound choices about what you ingest this year, and the seemingly bottomless abyss that is your appetite, which has both strength, speed, and endurance where bingeing on party snacks is concerned.
Whether you’re a genuine sports enthusiast, just into it for the commercials and to see whether Justin Timberlake’s show includes any additional wardrobe malfunctions this year, or simply can’t resist the opportunity to host any snack-forward occasion, let’s go on the offense and load up our party table with vegetable-focused appetizers. The benefits are numerous: Your underrepresented vegetarian friends will be thrilled, no matter which teams end up playing you can claim to have made thematic choices about representing their team colors, and even if you do binge your way through the evening, you’re bound to stay within the healthy eating guidelines from the 12 (or 16, or maybe 20) servings of vegetables you’ll likely consume.
You can still check off all of the requisite boxes for Super Bowl hosting—nachos, “wings,” dips, skins, meatballs, poppers, etc.— with this selection of on-theme vegetable snacks that will guarantee you (insert obvious sports metaphor here) with your friends!
Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Even the most die-hard junk food aficionados in your life will hardly notice that these aren’t chicken while they munch happily away on spicy buffalo goodness, their faces alit with the soft glow of the tube. Plus you need not worry about finding chicken wing detritus wedged between your couch cushions several months later. Get the recipe.
Creamy Cucumber Avocado Rolls
Just the thing to cool off with after nonstop munching on buffalo bites, plus you need an excuse to show off your newly acquired mandoline with razor thin cucumber slices. Get the recipe.
Chipotle Mushroom Nachos
If you don’t offer nachos, will it even have counted as a Super Bowl party? Not one to be accused of unsportsmanlike conduct, hedge your bets with these nearly meaty mushroom nachos with a smoky adobo sauce. Get the recipe.
Veggie Burger Sliders
Adorable, on-brand for a Super Bowl party, and great vehicles for a variety of cheeses, even more vegetables, and clever sauces, these party sliders are sure to be a home run! (Wait, am I doing this right?) Get the recipe.
Everything White Bean Dip
Bringing the familiarity of hummus, which would be a fine veggie option unto itself, but with a higher potential wow factor. This white bean dip is double entendre everything: as in the combination of onion, sesame, salt, and poppy seeds commonly found on everything bagels, as well as “oh my god this dip is EVERYTHING.” Get the recipe.
Broccoli Bites with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
World class sportsmanship sometimes requires making bold choices, and you are just that kind of quarterback who’s willing to throw a hail mary and unapologetically serve up broccoli at a Super Bowl party. Plus, it’s fried, so like, who’s going to come rushing at you? (Leave out the bacon for a truly vegetarian take, or leave it in because, you know, bacon’s delicious.) Get the recipe.
Mexican Corn Dip
Mexican street corn (or “elote”) has become ubiquitous with summer grill parties, but the crack-like combination of corn, lime, cheese, and chili translates just as well to the bowl as the cob. Go for the extra point by stovetop grilling your corn first, then serve up some corn-on-corn action with tortilla chips, or simply dish it out into paper cups with spoons. Get the recipe.
Sweet and Spicy Stuffed Peppadew Peppers
Literally nobody will miss those generic, frozen jalapeño poppers in the presence of these beauties, which combine lightly spicy pickled peppers, creamy goat cheese, salty parmesan, and a sweet, reduced balsamic glaze. Your mouth will be having an end zone celebration to rival those of the even the most self-congratulatory running backs. Get the recipe.
Loaded Sweet Potato Rounds
So long as you’re improving upon typical bar food fare like wings and nachos for your veggie Super Bowl, why not take on potato skins? Straightforward enough for your least epicurean compadres with a simple swap for sweet potatoes, and easy enough for you to make a huge batch to have on hand so you will never be caught offside. Get the recipe.
These Italian-style meatless balls would be perfect for a meatball hero—just add some melted provolone and sautéed peppers and onions. Or let them hang out in a crock to eat with toothpicks alongside a gooey parmesan or marinara dip. Because Super Bowl parties and dipping go together just like chips and guacamole. Get the recipe.
Crispy Garlic Brussels Sprouts with Sriracha Aioli
Wait, is this a Super Bowl party or the latest hipster brunch spot? Either way, who among us would throw a flag on the play for the opportunity to eat Brussels, garlic, and Sriracha together? Get the recipe.
Tater Tot Hot Dish
Regardless of who plays this year, the game is happening in Minneapolis, so should you make hot dish to commemorate? You betcha. Get the recipe.
Header image courtesy of My California Roots