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January 31, 2011

Game Day Chili Buffet.. and more!

There will not be a Super Bowl party at my house. I did, however, have a playoffs party last week when my Chicago Bears faced off against the Green Bay Packers--a game that determined who would go on to the Super Bowl. As you may have guessed, the Bears did not win. I could continue sulking, or I could share with you all of the delicious vegan food that kept my fellow Bears fans' tummies satisfied despite the very unsatisfying game. If you are having a vegan Super Bowl party, here are lots of ideas for you!

The main event was a chili buffet, but we'll get to that in a minute. My guests started the afternoon with a variety of appetizers.

Most of my guests were omnivores so my aim was to impress with vegan versions of several game day classics, starting with Tempeh Hot Wings. I served these with celery, carrots, and Isa's low-fat, ranch-style "Sanctuary Dressing", from her newest cookbook, Appetite for Reduction. The wings and dressing were gobbled up in no time!

Next up, vegan 'tater skins -- a first for me! These were made with Steve in mind, a potato skin fanatic. I followed Claryn's recipe, and they turned out awesome.

By special request, I made up a platter of Bianca's Deviled Tofu. These disappeared in no time per usual!

Always a crowd pleaser, and so easy to make, I had to include Kim's Hot Artichoke Dip with pita chips. There are never leftovers of this dish!

And somehow after all of that we had room for the chili buffet! I served this cornbread as a side dish on the buffet line. I had two pots of chili keeping warm on the stove, the black bean version pictured above (recipe to follow) and a White Chili as well. In a small crock pot set on low was a double batch of queso dip (changed up by pureeing it rather than leaving the tomatoes chunky, which was awesome by the way). I also cooked up a pound of whole wheat macaroni noodles, so chili mac would be an option.

I chopped up a tray of chili toppings which included cilantro, jalapenos, tomatoes, baby spinach, green onions, and avocado. On the side I put out a container of tofutti sour cream and a bowl of corn tortilla chips. The chips presented yet another option, chili cheese nachos. It was fun seeing what the guests chose to put in their bowls, and no two bowls were alike. Being the good blogger that I am I assaulted my guests with my camera to capture some of the bowls in action.

Mitch wasn't messing around! He smothered his chili in baby spinach, sour cream, and queso. I spy a few jalapenos on there too, and who knows what else he is hiding under there!

Chris had a little bit of everything in his bowl, good man! His chili met in the bowl with some baby spinach, jalapenos, cornbread, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

Kerry kept it classic, topping her chili off with green onions and tomato, with a little cornbread on the side.

Candace got her mac n' cheese fix by tossing some noodles with queso and sprinkled it with spinach and jalapeno, no chili needed in this delicious bowl!

Steve went for a deluxe chili mac by layering noodles, queso, and chili and topping it off with sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapenos. Good one!

I only captured about half of the bowls, but you get the idea! The chili buffet turned out great. It seemed like everyone enjoyed personalizing their bowls, and most went back for seconds.

When all hope of winning the game was lost, I decided it was time to break out the cake to revive the solemn party. It did raise our spirits, if only for a little while. This recipe is from The Joy of Vegan Baking, and it is definitely one I will return to.

The party was a success, except for the whole Bears losing thing. This new chili recipe was the greatest success. My goal was for it to be flavorful, but for it to not overpower the accompaniments. Mild enough for those who can't tolerate heat, yet not too boring for those who love it. Considering this, my chili was the game-winning touchdown!

Game Day Chili for a Crowd
Serves 10-12

1 large white or yellow onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp medium hot chili powder (or more to taste)
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
dash cayenne (optional)
4 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 4 oz can diced green chilis
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce + 1 can of water
1 32 oz can petite or regular diced tomatoes, with liquid
1-1/2 cups frozen corn (or 1 can drained and rinsed)(optional)

Heat 1/4 cup of water in a large pot and add onion. Saute for about 3 minutes and then add the garlic. Continue to saute until the onion is softened.

Stir in the spices and saute for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Turn heat to high to bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer and partially cover the pot. Slow simmer for 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Serve hot with queso, over noodles, on top of nachos, or straight up with your favorite toppings.


  1. What a fantastic spread. I still need to try those the tempeh hot wings!

  2. Awesome spread of food!!!!! Looks amazing! You are a food ARTIST...everything looks perfect!

  3. Wow, that's awesome! I tend to eat vegetarian also, but I'd be too worried about everyone's reactions to a vegetarian spread at a football gathering. Your food looks amazing though, and I bet some people didn't even notice the missing meat!

  4. Holy Chicago Bears, those eats look amazing! You've given me some great ideas for Sunday (watching the Super Bowl for the commercials, since The Bears are out...)

  5. Wish I had been there. Very tasty stuff!

  6. As someone who spent more than decade freezing at Solider Field I am in not happy about the game either. But .... your spread looks great. Nice photos!


  7. I love all the bowls and how differently everyone approaches a chilli spread - sounds like a delicious meal - I would have been there for the food not the football

  8. impressive! until now i wouldn't have cared to attend another game day celebration (unless of course the game was scrabble). your guests are lucky ducks!=)

  9. I'm British, I have no idea about American football/baseball/basketball, but WOW, can I come to your party next year? Pluuussszzzzzzeeeeeee

  10. Wow what a seriously amazing spread of food!!


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