We all know that the culture of football is not just about what happens on the field. The events surrounding the game are just as important as the game itself. Tailgating, after-parties, and other gameday activities are a major source of enjoyment for football fans each and every fall.
If you’re looking to improve your tailgating game with some plant-based whole foods, here are some tailgating tips and recipes to take your day from good to great.
Planning a Tailgate Like a Plant-Based Pro
When you’ve got the urge to tailgate, give yourself enough time to think of everything you’ll need. Planning ahead can save you a lot of aggravation and stress on the big day!
Bring the Right Décor
Décor and setup go hand in hand. Don’t buy a tent if down the road (white is good if you’re going to want team colors). Grab those team-themed plates, silverware, cups, and tablecloths and perhaps even a few team color balloons to be extra festive.
Stock the Healthy Snacks
Big games require snacks because you’ll need fuel for the whole day. Make your favorite dip, pack veggies, and stock up on healthy yet satisfying snacks. Game-day snacks don’t need to be elaborate — just plentiful. There are even great ways to enjoy sweets while managing your diabetes.
Feature Fabulous Foods
Make sure the food covers the needs of your guests. Grilling can be the main way to cook food at a tailgate, but foods prepped beforehand that can be served at room temperature or from a crock pot can give you more time to kick back and relax.
Hand-held food items often work best when tailgating. Consider plant-based items such as jalapeno poppers, potato nachos, or bruschetta.
A fall-time favorite is chili. It’s easy to prepare ahead of time and transport to the tailgate.
3 Bean Chili
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth, low-sodium
- 3 cup onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 3 cup pinto beans (cooked)
- 3 cup red kidney beans (cooked)
- 3 cup black beans (cooked)
- 3 cup canned diced tomatoes, low-sodium
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup canned green chili
- 2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat up the vegetable broth. Add the onion, green and red bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté, stirring until the onions are soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the seasonings, all beans, diced tomatoes, tomato, green chilis, and water.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Serve in bowls.
Add more water if needed to achieve the consistency you prefer.
Fill the Cooler
Don’t forget to fill the cooler with a variety of cold drinks to keep everyone happy and hydrated during your tailgate. Drinks in cans and bottles can cut down on the need for cups, but if your crew is looking forward to some mocktails, make sure you’ve got all the necessary ingredients on hand or make a big batch ahead of time.
Pamplemousse and Lavender Mocktail Spritzer
For the Lavender Simple Syrup:
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp food-quality, dried lavender
For the Mocktail:
- 6 oz grapefruit juice
- 2 oz of lavender simple syrup
- 4 oz Pamplemousse sparkling water
- 1 scoop Amla Green Decaf
- grapefruit slices, to garnish
To Make the Simple Syrup:
- Add the water, honey, and lavender to a small saucepan over high heat. Whisk to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to steep for about 30 minutes, covered.
- Strain the lavender buds from the liquid and discard. Allow the mixture to cool. You can store the simple syrup in a glass container in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
To Make the Mocktails:
- Add ice to a cocktail shaker and to 2 (10-oz) glasses. Add the grapefruit juice and simple syrup to the shaker. Shake, then pour evenly into the glasses.
- Top each drink with the sparkling water. Garnish with grapefruit and enjoy. Makes 2 10-ounce drinks.
Don’t Forget the Desserts
Making a serious dessert spread a must for tailgates. Just because you are going the healthier route, it doesn’t mean that you can’t serve up some whole food, plant-based sweet treats!
Banana Cinnamon Cookies
- 1 cup bananas (2 medium ripe (spotted), peeled and mashed))
- 1/4 cup Medjool dates (3 pitted and softened in hot water, if necessary)
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 scoop of Amla Green Regular
- Preheat the oven to Bake at 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a food processor or large mixing bowl, combine the chopped bananas, pitted (and softened) dates, ground flaxseed, amla green, and cinnamon. Blend or stir until the mixture is smooth and wet.
If using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the rolled oats to the wet ingredients, and stir until they’re thoroughly mixed.
- Divide the batter into 8 equal portions, and place them on your prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced. Each portion will be roughly 2 heaping tablespoons.
- The cookies will not change shape in the oven, so flatten them out and gently shape them into cookies before baking.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies’ edges begin to brown slightly.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the slightly cooled cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Find Your Spot
Where exactly are you going to spend the time before and after the game? Are you even allowed to tailgate there? If you want to grill veggies, can you use an open flame? You better find out before you get there and you can’t actually start to cook.
Invest In Your Setup
Just like with camping in below-freezing temps, you never want to show up to your tailgate unprepared. This is a crucial step.
Knowing the climate of your tailgating region is a must. Will you need sun cover? Wind protection? A heater? These are all things to take into consideration before you pack your car and head to the game.
When it’s time to leave, complete cleanup is a must. Before leaving the tailgate site, make sure all heat sources are off/extinguished. Use water to douse any hot coals and dispose of them appropriately.
Unless there are trash cans or other waste containers, plan to pack up all your stuff, including the trash. (So bring those trash bags with you!) Leave your space looking better than when you arrived. And ideally, you walk away with a win! Go, team!