Foodprints for the Future
Kick off the Super Bowl with a plant-based party
January 31, 2020
This weekend, more than 100 million Americans will watch the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs play in Super Bowl LIV.
And all those people come with large appetites: Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food consumption day in the United States, behind only Thanksgiving.
As we know, meat has a huge carbon footprint. From land use to deforestation to methane emissions, animal agriculture accounts for at least 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
So, if you host or attend a Super Bowl party this weekend, consider calling an audible from your traditional platter of pizza and wings, and make this year’s party plant based.
This plant-based decision is on brand with a recent trend in sports: A growing rank of athletes have transitioned to vegan diets, including one of Sunday’s athletes, Kansas City Chief’s safety Tyrann Mathieu.
Not sure where to start? Our staff recommended some of their favorite plant-based staples to have a delicious and sustainable Super Bowl Sunday.
When I went vegan three months ago, I thought I’d surely cave, if only because buffalo wings are my plant-based kryptonite. Fortunately, I found buffalo cauliflower wings —a plant-based alternative that mimics the texture and taste of chicken wings.
I like this recipe, though I’d get more creative than Frank’s RedHot. I also add breadcrumbs to the batter to make the wings crispier. And don’t forget the vegan ranch, a great dipping sauce with a base of milk alternatives and vegan mayo.
— Brandon Pytel, Communications Manager/Writer
The options for vegan tacos are endless and delicious! You can make them as hearty or as light as you choose. I personally love using quinoa (or lentils) and black beans as a base and follow up with roasted cauliflower. Then, top it off with jalapenos, plant-based cheese and a cashew crema.
You can also use mushrooms for a “meatier” texture — the same goes for avocado. Plant-based tacos offer so many variations without ever sacrificing taste.
— Jillian Semaan, Food and Environment Director
The beet is an intimidating vegetable. Prepared wrong, it can be a tough, fibrous ordeal to serve to friends and family. But when you get it right, a beet can be the hero of a meal. I personally recommend the beet chip.
You’ll need four ingredients —salt, oil, an herb and beets — which this recipe recommends. Slice the beets as thin as possible, dress them and bake for about 30 minutes. If you’re not sold, put them next to a bowl of store-bought potato chips and see how fast they go. I bet your guests will be asking for more beets before those boring old potato chips run out.
— Halsey Payne, Intern & Volunteer Coordinator
Ah, guacamole. There are many ways to dress it up, but I prefer to keep it simple and let the main ingredients — avocadoes, tomatoes, onions, lime juice, salt, cumin, cilantro — shine. The author of this awesome recipe agrees. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chopped jalapeno to give the dip a kick.
An inherently vegan dish, guacamole is a crowd-pleaser and appeals to meat-fanatics and vegans alike. For that reason, it’s a good conversation starter for anyone who is reluctant to eat plant-based foods — tell them they’re already doing so! I like to serve guac with tortilla chips (blue is my favorite), pita chips or fresh veggies.
— Sabrina Scull, Food and Environment Campaign Coordinator
I’m a hardcore meat-eater, but in an age where we know the impacts red meat has on the environment, Beyond Meat is a godsend for me.
You can defrost either Beyond patties or Beyond beef mince to make “meatballs.” I like to add some red pepper flakes, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, gluten-free breadcrumbs and vegan mayo into the mix just to give it some oomf. You can heat up red pasta sauce on the side (one without cheese if you’re doing this vegan) and, voila! A guilt-free plate-o-meat.
— Katie Wood, Conservation and Biodiversity Manager
You can’t have queso if you’re plant-based, right? Well, let me to blow your mind. This recipe unlocks the creamy powers of cashews and the savory umami of nutritional yeast, creating a queso that fools even the most die-hard cheese lover.
Soak 2 cups of raw, unsalted cashews overnight in water. The next day, drain the cashews and toss them in a blender. Add fresh water to get them creamy, then a spoonful of Dijon mustard, a heavy pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, a dash of garlic powder and a ½ cup of nutritional yeast. To take this queso to the next level, add a good squirt of your hot sauce of choice —I like blending most of a can of smoked chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
— Justine Sullivan, Director of Communications and Digital Media
Every Super Bowl party needs a main course to break up the snacking — my favorite is a juicy burger with all the fixings. This year go for a beef alternative like Beyond Meat. Buy packs of “ground meat,” and add some garlic, onion powder, cumin and paprika. Toss those patties on the grill or a skillet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sear both sides.
You can also go for a portobello burger. Scar the tops and bottoms of the portobellos and season with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, your favorite herbs (oregano and basil are always a safe bet), and a touch of balsamic vinegar. The rest is simple: tomato, onion, lettuce, mustard, ketchup, even vegan mayo.
— Sebastian Rosemont, Green Cities Coordinator
If all else fails, grab a rack of your favorite pilsner or lager and enjoy a couple cold ones. Afterall, nearly all beer is plant based!
— Austin Downs, The Great Global Cleanup Coordinator
Many of our favorite party snacks are already vegan. Chips with salsa? Vegan. Veggies with hummus? Vegan. Fries? Vegan. Potato chips and popcorn? Most are vegan. All these, plus our recommendations, prove that a plant-based Super Bowl can be delicious. (Go Chiefs!)