skip to Main Content
sweet potato fries with bowl of chimichurri

Game day is synonymous with a particular sort of food: crowd-pleasing snacks. It’s the stuff that’s easy to eat while cheering from the comfort of your living room and pairs well with your beverage of choice. But an afternoon of greasy fare can often block your health goals, leaving you feeling like you’ve been sacked.

This game-day spread offers a different play, featuring lots of colorful, plant-forward dishes that are easy to assemble while still celebrating those familiar tailgate go-tos, like guacamole, onion dip, and buffalo chicken.

With a little pregame prep, you’ll have more-nutritious versions of your favorite game-time eats ready to enjoy by the coin toss.

Sweet Potato Fries With Chimichurri

Makes four servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

sweet potato fries with pesto dip

Fries

  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbs. avocado oil
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Sauce

  • 1 cup packed parsley leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line three sheet pans with parchment paper.

Slice each sweet potato into fries approximately ¼-inch wide and ¼-inch thick. Place all the fries in a large bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch or arrowroot powder and salt; stir until the fries are lightly coated.

Spread the fries on the sheet pans and drizzle with avocado oil, then toss to coat evenly until no powdery spots remain. Rub visible powder into the fries as necessary. Spread out so the fries are in a single layer and not touching.

Bake for 15 minutes, then use a metal spatula to flip the fries one section at a time. Return to the oven and bake for 13 to 15 minutes more, until browned and crisp.

Sprinkle with paprika and cumin and transfer to a serving platter.

To make the sauce, place the parsley and garlic in a food processor and process until finely minced. Add the oregano and salt and process again, then drizzle the vinegar in through the feed tube with the machine running. Do the same with the olive oil, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. When the liquids are incorporated, scrape the purée into a small bowl and stir in the red-pepper flakes. Taste and add more red-pepper flakes or salt as needed. Serve alongside the fries.

Socca Chips and Guacamole

Makes four servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Bowl Of Guacamole With A Plate Of Chips

Chips

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup avocado or coconut oil

Guacamole

  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 1 tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium Roma tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Directions

For the socca chips, combine the chickpea flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the water until no lumps remain. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Place a 6-inch nonstick skillet on a burner over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Drizzle with enough oil to coat the pan, then pour in 1/4 cup of the chickpea batter, tilting the pan to spread it evenly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 90 seconds, then use a heat-safe spatula to flip. Cook the other side for 90 seconds. When the socca is firm to the touch, transfer to a cutting board. Continue until all the batter is used. Let the socca cool to room temperature, then cut each into wedges.

Place a large pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle with enough oil to coat the pan. Add a few socca wedges to the pan, taking care not to overcrowd them. Cook in batches for about a minute per side, until sizzling and golden.

In a medium bowl, mash the avocados into a paste. Add the lime juice and garlic and mix, mashing until almost smooth. Stir in the onion, jalapeño, tomato, and salt. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve with socca chips and hot sauce alongside.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Makes four servings
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time
Cook time: 20 minutes

Meatballs In Rustic Bowl

Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbs. avocado oil

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tsp. red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed

Directions

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, bell pepper, shallots, oregano, and salt. Use your hands to mix until the mixture is cohesive. Use a tablespoon to scoop out rounded portions, then place them on the prepared pan. Chill meatballs for 30 minutes.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and drizzle with oil. Dampen your hands and shape each meatball gently by passing it between your palms to round it without compressing. Add meatballs to the pan, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, turning every three minutes, until meatballs are crispy and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Set the skillet over low heat and add the hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire, and garlic. Leave the mixture undisturbed for about five minutes to allow it to heat up, then add the butter and stir until the sauce is smooth.

Transfer the meatballs to the skillet and stir gently to coat with sauce. Turn off the heat and serve the meatballs directly from the skillet with a bowl of toothpicks alongside. Alternatively, mix sauce and meatballs in a 4-quart slow cooker set to high heat, then place it on the warm setting to allow people to snack throughout the game.

Caramelized-Onion Dip

Makes four servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Bowl Of Caramelized Onion Dip Surrounded By Various Vegetable Spears

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 4 oz. chèvre
  • 1/2 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste

To serve: Sliced bell peppers, carrots, celery, radishes, broccoli, or other crunchy vegetables

Directions

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions and stir. Once the onions start to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring every 10 minutes, for one hour. Then reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring every 10 minutes, for one more hour. If the onions begin to brown too quickly, reduce the heat or add a few drops of water to the pan. After two hours, they should be golden brown and reduced to about a 1/2 cup.

Place the chèvre in a food processor and process to soften. Add the onions, yogurt, thyme, lemon juice, and salt, then process again, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until ingredients are combined. If you like a thinner dip, add more yogurt, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process to mix. Scrape dip into a medium bowl and serve with veggies.

Mockarita

Makes six servings
Prep time: 10 minutes

Two Tumblers Of Mockaritas

Ingredients

  • 6 tbs. fresh lime juice (about 2 large limes, juiced)
  • 3 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbs. maple syrup or cane sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. nonalcoholic vanilla (optional)
  • 3 cups lime-flavored sparkling water
  • 1/2 cup rum or tequila, optional

Directions

In a large pitcher, combine the lime juice, orange juice, maple syrup or sugar, and vanilla. Chill until serving time, then pour in sparkling water and optional liquor and mix gently. Serve over ice.

This article originally appeared in Experience LifeLife Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.

Photography: Andrea D’Agosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman
Robin
Robin Asbell

Robin Asbell is a Minneapolis-based recipe developer and cookbook author.

Thoughts to share?

More Like This

Assorted charcuterie board foods, including cheese, meat, fruit and nuts.
By Robin Asbell
A charcuterie board offers a medley of flavors and textures — and is a tasty, minimal-effort dinner option that’s ideal for the season.
Man chopping fruits and vegetables
By Molly Schelper
Start small with these simple alternatives that up the quality and nutrient-density of your meals and snacks.
Oats, almonds, avocado, yogurt, and sweet potatoes on a surface.
By Robin Asbell
You don’t need to transform your whole diet to eat healthier. These small shifts can make your meals more nutritious — and more satisfying.
Back To Top