6 Game Day Appetizers for Football Fans

Photo:  mphillips007, Getty Images.

Football season is almost here. It’s time to gather your pigskin-lovin’ buddies around the TV and make your predictions as to which teams are going to make it all the way to the Super Bowl. Friends and football are fun enough, but fandom isn’t fulfilling without a buffet of cheesy, salty apps. Football season is too long to go whole-hog every game day, however. You have to pace yourself – that, or alter your apps so they’re not too heavy. These recipes are just as tasty as the tailgaiting fare you normally chow down on but are nutritionally on the lighter side. You have stay at your fighting weight, after all, even if you never set foot on the field.

Bison Sliders

Photo: Dr. BBQ.


  • 8 mini burger buns
  • 1 pound round bison meat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 each red onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 8 each small slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Salt and pepper


In a large dry skillet over medium heat, toast the bun halves on their cut side, and then set aside. Form the bison into 8 equal size mini patties. Season them with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic and continue cooking until nicely browned and soft. Remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Add the burgers to the pan with the hot bacon fat. Cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip. Top each burger with cheese and cook another 2-3 minutes. Transfer each burger to a bun bottom. Break each slice of bacon into 4 pieces and place 2 pieces on top of each burger. Top the bacon with 1/8 of the onion mixture and a bit of the shredded lettuce. Makes 8 sliders.

Recipe by Ray Lampe, Dr. BBQ.

Blackened Mahi Tacos

Photo: Pinstack.


  • Seared flour tortillas
  • Blackened mahi (1 ounce per taco, recipe below)
  • Strawberry Pico (recipe below)
  • Cilantro Lime Aioli (recipe below)
  • Queso fresco
  • Cajun seasoning

For the Blackened Mahi:

  • 3 ounces mahi, diced
  • Cajun seasoning (to taste)

For the Strawberry Pico:

  • 1 pint strawberries, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

For the Cilantro Lime Aioli:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)


Dice fish and toss with Cajun seasoning. Sautée for five minutes, or until cooked thoroughly. In separate bowl, combine all ingredients for strawberry pico. In separate bowl, combine all ingredients for cilantro lime aioli. Warm tortillas and place 1 oz. of fish in each tortilla. Top with strawberry pico, cilantro lime aioli and queso fresco. Serve immediately. Makes 3 tacos.

Recipe by Chef Dan Bevis.

Turkey Chili

Photo: Roux.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 quarts turkey or chicken stock
  • 1 pound cooked turkey, cubed (light, dark or both)
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Microgreens, for garnish


Heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauce pot. Add garlic, onion, celery, carrots and red pepper. Sauté until translucent. Add the tomato paste and stir until the vegetables are coated. Continue to sauté until the mixture is caramelized. Add the stock, turkey and beans. Simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Add the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve, with or without the microgreens. Makes 6 servings.

Recipe by Roux in Tampa, Florida.


Photo: Spork Foods.


  • 16 ounces organic tater tots
  • 1/2 cup Follow Your Heart VeganEgg powder
  • 2 cups ice-cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 3 slices Follow Your Heart Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 3 slices Follow Your Heart American Cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced into rounds
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup spicy salsa


Place tater tots on walled baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden. Meanwhile, to a mixing bowl, add ½ cup VeganEgg, 2 cups ice-cold water, sea salt, and black pepper. Whisk until uniform and slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add vegan butter. Pour VeganEgg mixture into pan and allow to cook without disturbing for about 30 seconds. Agitate slightly and cook about 2 more minutes. Continue to cook and gently break apart mixture while cooking for approximately 6-7 more minutes, or until scrambled, and slightly golden. Set aside. Add cheese to tater tots during last 2 minutes of cooking to melt. Remove from heat. To assemble totchos, place a layer cheese covered tater tots in a serving dish.  Top with beans, olives, tomato, green onions, and red onions. Drizzle with sour cream and salsa.  Serve immediately.

Recipe by Spork Foods.

Avocado Oil Buffalo Cauliflower

Photo: La Tourangelle.


  • 8 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons La Tourangelle Avocado oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with La Tourangelle Canola cooking spray. Toss cauliflower, avocado oil and salt in a large bowl. Spread on the prepared baking sheet; reserve the bowl. Roast the cauliflower until it’s starting to soften and brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine hot sauce, sriracha, butter and lemon juice in the large bowl. Add the roasted cauliflower and toss to coat. Return the cauliflower to the baking sheet and continue roasting until hot, about 5 minutes more.

Recipe by La Tourangelle.

Crunchy Nacho “Cheese” Veggie Bowl

Photo: @brusselsvegan on Instagram.


  • 1 cup cooked brown rice and red quinoa mix
  • 1 cup cannellini beans (cooked)
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/2 small zucchini
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 6 Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 cups of kale, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 – 2 handfuls tortilla chips
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 small pickles
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • Vegan nacho cheese


Wash and cut all the veggies (finely chop or dice). In a large pan, heat the oil (or some water) and add the Brussels sprouts, celery, green onion and green bell pepper. Add a little sea salt and cook them for about 3 to 5 minutes (low-medium heat). Add the cooked rice and quinoa and stir well. Add a little water if necessary and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Only add the beans and the kale at the very end to make sure you don’t overcook them. Mix well and leave the pan on the stove on low heat for a few more minutes. Transfer everything to a bowl and mix in the jalapeño nacho chips (turn them into crumbs beforehand), grape tomatoes, avocado, chopped pickles and cilantro. Enjoy with some vegan nacho cheese (if available) or another delicious sauce of your choice.

Recipe by Brussels Vegan.


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