3 Game Day Crowd-Pleasers: Cherry Chocolate Chunk Popcorn Mix, Slow-Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes, and Football Bombs, aka Stuffed Dates
While I don’t always watch football, I never miss the Superbowl. Fun story, I actually thought it was last week and was preparing my post last week, but thought to check who was playing and that I got the date right! Glad I checked, we would have had a party and no Superbowl to watch…This is usually my luck, but hey, we all have our talents, right?! Honestly, I always watch it just because 1. A chance to have a party and hang out, 2. All the snacks and FOOD, 3. Half-time show and commercials, right?! Football is in there somewhere, and I’ll sort of follow it, but mostly just chat and eat! I have a couple of NO BAKE appetizers, and a SLOW COOKER VEGAN Sloppy Joe recipe that is pretty legit tasty, smokey and sweet. SO GOOD, even your non-healthy eaters will enjoy these.
In this Game Day recipe round-up, I’ve listed the recipes for a healthy entree, appetizer, and treat. Let me know what healthy food you’ll be bringing to the Superbowl Party, who you’re rooting for and if you tried any of these recipes.
Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes – PLANT-BASED, GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE.
I served with Schar Gluten-Free buns, lightly toasted and Cascadian Farms Organic Spud Puppies, and an artisanal Craft Beer Kraut by Saverne found at my local health-food grocer (gettin’ those probiotics in). Total comfort food combo, but made-over to be so much healthier. Lower sugar, natural ingredients, no chemicals, high fiber and vitamins, no cholesterol, and easy to digest. SCORE with the crowd on this one. [Oops dairy-disclaimer:] As you can see in my sloppy joe photo, my son put a slice of cheese on his. Totally optional, and if left off, it’s still totally vegan even though my son is not.
Yields 5-6 Servings
Smoky, slightly sweet, and hearty, these Sloppy Joes are a great vegan entree even meat-eaters and kids will love. I love the fact that they can be made in a slow cooker and left on warm for a party or on gameday.
15 minPrep Time
2 hrCook Time
2 hr, 15 Total Time
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- 1 cup green lentils, rinsed
- 2 Tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 1/2 white onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 cup all natural BBQ sauce
- 1-2 Tbsp coconut sugar, plus more to taste
- 1-2 Tbsp vegan-friendly worcestershire sauce (reg has anchovies in it)
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke, optional
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Place rinsed lentils and water or broth in slow-cooker.
- heat a small skillet with oil and add chopped onion, pepper and garlic. Saute 3-5 minutes until soft.
- Transfer to slow-cooker.
- Mix sauce ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl, tomato sauce through cumin. Pour sauce over the lentils and veggies and give it a stir.
- Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours, or on high for 2 hours.
- Add additional liquid as needed. Taste and adjust spices as needed.
- Serve with Gluten-free Buns and if desired, cheese or vegan cheese, additional BBQ sauce and sliced onion.
*If you can't locate vegan worcestershire sauce at the store, try the recipe from Forks Over Knives.
Next up are the FOOTBALL BOMBS
These are made from Medjool Dates. Medjools are so soft and versatile, but honestly I had never even had a date until just a few years ago! Well, not the fruit variety, anyway. I’ve a few dates in my time before that! I got married, afterall. Bad pun, back to the dates. They are a great natural sugar substitute when soaked and blended, or keep it simple like this recipe and just cut them open, remove the seed and stuff with endless combinations of sweet, savory, nutty, or spicy. Other smaller date varieties can be used, but will be harder, not as sweet and chewy and hard to stuff. The smaller ones can possibly soaked in hot water, drained then stuffed, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Go big with the Medjool variety.
- Starting from the left, I stuffed one with vegan cream cheese and topped with pepper jelly (great creamy/sweet heat combo). Sub light cream cheese and jam of choice, if desired.
- The next 2 in the center are stuffed with a natural soft goat cheese and topped with toasted pecans and natural strawberry jam. A flavored goat cheese and honey would be good, too!
- The last 3 on the right are probably the favorite. And I wish I would have gotten more pictures, but sadly we ate them too quickly. They were seriously like heaven in my mouth! Stuffed with Creamy Almond Butter, coconut shreds, and then dipped in CHOCOLATE. I made a whole food chocolate sauce to dip them in, but feel free to melt dairy-free dark chocolate or chocolate chips if you don’t have the time.
Clean Chocolate Sauce:
- 1-1/2 TBSP melted unrefined coconut oil, 1 TBSP creamy almond butter, 2 TBSP cacao powder, and 2 tsp pure maple syrup.
- Whisk all ingredients together well in a glass bowl and microwave for an additional few seconds if not completely smooth.
- Dip one end of the stuffed date in the chocolate sauce and place on wax paper on a plate. Place all dates in the fridge until ready to serve.
The coconut oil in the chocolate sauce will harden once cold, but start to melt at room temp, so eat quickly. I haven’t found this to be a problem…
These stuffed dates can be made so many ways. Vegan cream cheese and jalapenos, stuff with tahini and drizzle with maple syrup and sesame seeds, fill with chocolate and coconut, fill with blackberries and drizzle a balsalmic reduction on top, or for the meat-eaters, wrap them in prosciutto or bacon and bake at 325 for 20 min. Some fun combos, let me know what you try.
Cherry Chocolate Chunk Popcorn Mix [DAIRY-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, LOW-SODIUM]
This mix is no-bake, no fuss. I love the chocolate and cherry combo and the popcorn just lightens it up and adds a nice crunch. I love the simple ingredients in LARABARS and used it as my inspiration for this mix. One of my favorite flavors is the Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte, it’s just made with dairy-free dark chocolate, nuts, dates, and dried cherries. I got all my ingredients at Trader Joes, they carry lots of great natural food items. Grab a big bowl of this mix while you watch the game It’s a great healthy alternative to heavy desserts and salt-laden chips and mixes.
- Cherry Chocolate Chunk Popcorn Mix
- 3-4 cups Lite Kettle Corn, prepopped
- 1 Larabar, chopped into small bits
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup raw pecans
- 1/2 cup organic Thompson Raisins
- 1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. That’s it! Double or triple as needed.