The start of fall = kickoff to football season. And for some, the very word "football" means running to the nearest couch and posting up with a mountain of wings. But we've got a little something else in mind. So does this week's featured foodie, Kate Taylor of . Kate knows that super-tasty game day food doesn't have to be deep-fried or smothered in ranch dressing, and if you don't believe us, check out these seven recipes.
Game day is all about the snacks, but who says there can’t be something a little more substantial on the table? Quesadillas are a crowd-pleaser—seriously, they’re essentially bread and cheese—and so easy to assemble. Sweet potato and black beans make a rich filling that’s practically begging to be dipped in salsa verde, but you can throw in whatever you like. Hint: If you don’t have a spiral slicer, follow the instructions for cubed sweet potatoes instead.
A salad that doubles as a chunky dip? Sign us up. Half deconstructed hummus, half protein-heavy salad, this kidney bean and chickpea side is just as refreshing scooped up on a pita chip as it is piled onto a plate alongside a meal. Don’t skip the fresh herbs in this one; when paired with the tart lemon vinaigrette, there’s nothing better to complement the rich beans.
Ranch and veggies is a perfectly fine snacking option, but we’re not interested in mediocrity. Try a salty peanut dip this weekend for an elevated munching experience. Looking to utilize this dip for heartier eating? Skewer some pieces of last night’s baked chicken and dunk away. (Note: Frozen chicken tenders also work well here.)
It’s important to balance your salty snacks with sweet for optimal taste-bud pleasure, so we present this nutty, maple-y, caramel-y popcorn. Pour a gooey almond butter and maple syrup caramel over freshly popped popcorn, then add a shower of toasted slivered almonds and cinnamon. Hello, new favorite midnight snack.
Oh, guac. The dip we always expect to see on a snack table and rarely ever tire of scooping. Much as we love the classic, we’re not at all opposed to adding extra veg to the original recipe—it means we can just eat more, right? Add a few handfuls of chopped kale for an extra-green dip that’s sure to be gobbled up in about ten minutes. We recommend a double batch.
Cooling cabbage slaw is the antidote to a buffalo chicken wing-burning mouth. A zingy lemon vinaigrette instead of mayo lets the crisp flavor of the veg shine in this untraditional slaw. Without the classic creamy dressing, there’s room to explore more texture in this dish; toasted nuts and seeds add richness to the slaw without loading the cabbage down with thick sauce.
Tell a friend to pick up a jar of red salsa on their way over so you can focus on homemade salsa verde. Roast tart, fruity tomatillos with jalapeños until charred. Blend the smoky veg with onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Add avocado for super-creamy dip if you’d like, or just break open the closest bag of chips.
Kate Taylor is the writer, photographer, and recipe developer behind , a food blog featuring fresh vegetarian recipes. Kate lives in Kansas City with a funny mutt named Cookie. Her first cookbook, Love Real Food, comes out next spring. For more from Cookie and Kate, follow them on , , , and .