My first foray into Super Bowl entertainment was in 2007. I remember it because I was a senior in college and decided that I wanted to be the designated caterer for our house’s Super Bowl party. Apparently, though, I didn’t get the memo about Super Bowl parties typically being centered around beer and wings and low-key fare. Instead, the menu ended up being something like paninis and pasta and other comparatively fancy options — a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by my housemates, who commented about whether or not we should be serving wine instead of beer (Liz, if you’re reading this, I think it was you who asked that).
Well, I haven’t catered a Super Bowl party since then — and mostly because things like law school and full-time work have gotten in the way of any sort of Sunday night social life. But that’s not to say I haven’t thought a lot since about what, exactly, I would serve if I were to explore the world of Super Bowl entertaining once again.
The answer, every time, has decidedly been nachos. I love nachos. And I can say that because even though I’m now vegan and gluten-free, nachos are still so doable. After all, there are a plethora of vegan cheese products now on the market, and pure corn tortilla chips, by definition, are gluten-free (though you still have to read labels because, as we all know, hiding gluten in seemingly gluten-free products seems to be a popular food industry pastime).
But with these nachos, I went a step further than just some beans, packaged vegan cheese and chips. For one thing, I do prefer to scale back on my oil and processed food intake when I can — and vegan cheese is both oil-based and heavily processed. Also, my husband doesn’t like most store bought vegan cheese. So there you have it. I didn’t want to be the girl with a huge ‘ol tray of nachos and no one to share them with. Also, I’ve been obsessed with making vegan cashew cheese lately, for anything from macaroni to enchiladas to rice bowls to, you guessed it, nachos. I am in love with the delicate and cheesy taste that’s so, so easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.
Aside from the specific recipes for tempeh crumbles and cashew nacho cheese sauce, this recipe is pretty free-form and amenable to slew of variations.
Other Super Bowl Party Dish Ideas:
Appetizers: Hot Spinach Dip (this recipe has been a favorite for family gatherings since I posted it 3 years ago. Make extra — it tends to get eaten up fast!), Jalapeno Salsa, Caramelized Onion and Shiitake Pizza (can be sliced into smaller pieces and served as an appetizer)
Ultimate Vegan Nachos:
Serves a crowd
3/4 bag Corn tortilla chips (I used Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Tortilla Chips)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup or more sliced black olives, drained
sliced grape tomatoes or diced tomatoes
diced red onion (not pictured, optional)
diced avocado (not pictured, optional)
salsa (plus more for recipes below)
1 recipe cashew cheesze sauce
1 recipe tempeh crumbles
Cashew Cheeze Sauce:
1/2 cup raw cashews (if not using a high-powered blender, soak cashews for about 2 hours before using, then drain)
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (unsweetened, unflavored)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup salsa
salt to taste
1 package soy tempeh, cubed (make sure it’s gluten-free)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons wheat-free soy sauce (Tamari)
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt to taste
1. To make cashew cheeze: Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until very smooth. You may want to start on low speed and slowly increase speed to high. Set aside.
2. To make tempeh crumbles: Add cubed tofu to a pan or skillet with 1 cup water and tamari. Heat to medium-high and cover with a lid that is fitted to pan. Let steam for 10 minutes with lid on, until most of water is gone. Remove lid and cook until remaining liquid is gone, breaking up tempeh with the back of spoon as it cooks. Add salsa, chili powder and salt to taste and saute for another five minutes over medium-high heat.
3. To assemble: Spread chips over the bottom of a large platter. Sprinkle tempeh crumbles, black beans, olives, tomato and onion on top (amounts can vary depending on how much you want). Drizzle cheeze sauce and more salsa over top. Add lettuce and avocado (if using). Serve!