7 Unbelievable Healthy Tailgate Recipes

Real Healthy Tailgating

A tailgate is an al fresco cocktail party held in parking lots the world over, where finger foods, drinks, and friendly conversations are shared with anyone who happens by. History tells us that the custom began during the fall months – after the harvest and before the harsh winter months – usually before a sporting event. Today tailgating takes place year round before any number of spectator events: namely football games, baseball games and concerts.

Take a walk through a popular tailgating spot and you’ll quickly notice that participants are keen on indulging. From calorie-laden drinks, to fried appetizers, to fatty meats like hot dogs and burgers, to sugar-filled desserts — no one goes to a tailgate expecting anything less than fattening. However, as our nation collectively takes stock in our health and our waistlines, now may be the perfect time to lighten our tailgating fare.

The friendly folks at Nuts.com contacted me recently with the request that I come up with a tailgate menu that showcases nuts as the wholesome, healthy star ingredient. This was simple for me to do, since I often include nuts in my recipes, to replace grains, gluten and other undesirable ingredients.

And so, my fellow nut lovers, enjoy the following wholesome tailgating snack recipes…

Bacon Wrapped Peppers

Dairy free bacon wrapped peppers

Oh my goodness. These are crazy good. And I’m not just saying that because I invented them. Well, I didn’t invent the entire concept of bacon wrapped peppers, just the idea of stuffing them with dairy-free cashew cheese. It’s the perfect snack to share at a tailgate. But to be completely honest with you, I don’t like sharing these. It’s just too delicious to share. Make a batch for yourself and a batch to share. There we go, compromise.

Bacon Wrapped Peppers
A Recipe by Diana Keuilian
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
INGREDIENTS
Serves 24

  • 12 peppers, Jalapenos or sweet peppers (or a mixture of both!)
  • ½ cup Dairy-Free Cheese Spread – (click for recipe)
  • 12 nitrate-free bacon sliced, cut in half
  • 12 toothpicks
INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the peppers in half, lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Fill each pepper with Dairy-Free Cheese Spread.
  3. Wrap each pepper with a slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick.
  4. Place the wrapped peppers in a single layer on the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, and then place under the broiler on high for 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Enjoy!
NUTRITION

Calories: 72     Fat: 6 g     Carbohydrates: 2 g     Sodium: 91 mg     Fiber: 1 g     Protein: 3 g    

Honey Roasted Cashews

Honey-Roasted-Cashews-copy

When it comes to crunchy, flavorful snack foods…most that you’ll find are unhealthy, packaged, fat traps. Since crunchy snacks are awesome, I’m on a continuous mission to create wholesome, real food options to satisfy my inner snack monster. These Honey Roasted Cashews are easy to transport and share at your next tailgate.

Honey Roasted Cashews
A Recipe by Diana Keuilian
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
INGREDIENTS
Serves 16

  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 4 cups cashews
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large skillet melt the honey over low heat. Mix in the cashews. Spread over the baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
  3. Combine the coconut palm sugar and sea salt in a large bowl. Add the cashews and toss to evenly coat. Spread over parchment paper to fully cool. Enjoy!
NUTRITION

Calories: 181     Carbohydrates: 16 g     Sodium: 150 mg     Fiber: 1 g     Protein: 5 g    

Stuffed Meatballs

Stuffed Meatballs recipe

While simple snacks are great at a tailgate, you’re going to want to have a more filling main dish to really satisfy. That’s where these savory stuffed meatballs come in. I’ve mixed finely chopped broccoli into the meat and then stuffed each one with creamy, delicious cashew cheese (the same cashew cheese that we used in the Bacon Wrapped Peppers – so make a double batch). To make this less messy, serve sans sauce with a fancy toothpick in each meatball. Yums!

Stuffed Meatballs
A Recipe by Diana Keuilian
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
INGREDIENTS
Serves 16

  • 1 lb loose pork sausage, or other ground meat
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup broccoli, minced
  • ¼ cup blanched almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup cashew cream cheese
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce
INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the sausage, garlic, broccoli, almond flour and nutritional yeast. Mix well – it’s ok to get your hands dirty!
  3. Take the cashew cheese into your hands and form 16 small balls. Take a handful of the meat mixture into your hand, flatten it and place one of the cheese balls in the center, then roll the meat around it. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all 16 meatballs have been made.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until cooked through. Serve over spaghetti sauce. Enjoy!
NUTRITION

Calories: 138     Fat: 12 g     Carbohydrates: 4 g     Sodium: 312 mg     Fiber: 1 g     Protein: 7 g    

Coconut Chocolate Cashews

Chocolate-coconut-cashews-from-Recipe-Hacker-book

Here’s a tailgate recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth! Remember when selecting dark chocolate: always choose one that is 73% cocoa content or higher. The higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar content. If you’re new to dark chocolate, it may take a little while to modify your palate from uber sweet milk chocolate, but soon anything lower than 73% cocoa will taste sickly sweet.

Coconut Chocolate Cashews
A Recipe by Diana Keuilian
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
INGREDIENTS
Serves 6

  • ¼ cup coconut oil, divided
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of the coconut oil. Add the cashews to the skillet. Cook, mixing often for 5 minutes. Add the coconut flakes and salt to the skillet and continue to cook, stirring often, until toasted golden. Remove from heat.
  2. Place the chocolate, remaining 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil and almond extract in a small pot and place that pot in a medium skillet with an inch of water. Place over medium-low heat, stir often until the chocolate mixture is smooth.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the toasted cashews, coconut flakes and melted chocolate. Spread the chocolate mixture over the rimmed baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 30 minutes. Take a big spoon and break up the mixture every 10 minutes to prevent large pieces from sticking together. Enjoy!
NUTRITION

Calories: 234     Fat: 23 g     Carbohydrates: 8 g     Sodium: 101 mg     Fiber: 3 g     Protein: 2 g    

Dairy Free Cheesecake Bites

Cheesecake-bites

These adorable little cheesecake bites are one of my favorite desserts to serve! No cheese here, just soaked and creamed cashews! Even if you like dairy these are worth giving a try. It’s fun to decorate the tops with pretty berries and mint leaves. Or you could top with some shaved chocolate or minced dates. The possibilities are really endless 🙂 In addition to looking almost too good to eat, these sweet morsels are easily portable and make a wonderful platter display.

Dairy Free Cheesecake Bites
A Recipe by Diana Keuilian
INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • ½ cup raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
  • 2 Tablespoons + ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup dates, pitted
  • 24 raspberries
  • 24 mint leaves
INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with warm water. Soak for 2 hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Combine the almond flour, sea salt and dates in a food processor. Pulse until an even powder forms. Pour the coconut oil (2 Tablespoons) into the food processor. Pulse to create sticky dough.
  3. Line a 24 mini muffin pan with paper liners. Drop 1 Tablespoon of dough into each liner. Firmly press the dough down in each liner.
  4. Wipe out the food processor then add the cashews, honey, coconut oil (1/2 cup), vanilla extract and lemon juice. Blend until creamy and smooth. This can take awhile, so be patient! Go take a bath, read a book, run a marathon…
  5. Fill a piping bag with the cashew mixture. Top each crust with a generous serving of the cashew cream. Decorate with fresh raspberries and mint leaves. Chill for 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
NUTRITION

Calories: 148     Fat: 5 g     Carbohydrates: 25 g     Sodium: 26 mg     Fiber: 8 g     Protein: 3 g    

Pizza Kale Chips

Pizza-Kale-Chips-2-copy

Moving back to savory snacks, you’d be hard pressed to find a crunchy chip that tastes better and is more nutrient dense that these Pizza Kale Chips! The flavor is uncannily like that of a slice of pizza that you’ll love passing a bowl around your tailgate for taste testing. If you’re a fan of pizza and a fan of chips then you will enjoy this recipe. Even if you’ve tried plain kale chips before and disliked those. The taste is outstanding! Perfect to enjoy while loitering in a parkinglot…

Pizza Kale Chips
A Recipe by Diana Keuilian
INGREDIENTS
Serves 6

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 cup raw cashews, unsalted
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut palm sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning, salt-free
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • ⅓ cup water
INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wash the kale and pat dry. Cut out the long, thick stems and tear the leaves into 2-3 inch wide pieces. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Soak the cashews in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain off the water and add the cashews to a food processor along with all of the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add the creamy cashew mixture to the bowl of kale. Use your hand to mix well, coating each piece of kale. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the kale evenly.
  4. Set the oven to 170 degrees F. Place the kale in the oven and use a wooden spoon to prop the oven door open a couple of inches (this allows moisture to escape). Check on the kale every 60 minutes, and flip the kale pieces after 2 hours. It should take about 5 hours for the kale to become really crispy. Enjoy!
NUTRITION

Calories: 88     Fat: 5 g     Carbohydrates: 10 g     Sodium: 212 mg     Fiber: 2 g     Protein: 4 g    

BEST Paleo Cookies

BEST-Paleo-Cookies-EVER

Now it wouldn’t be a proper tailgate party without a big platter of cookies to pass around. These are (by far) my most popular cookie recipe to date. With simple, wholesome ingredients, and the classic chocolate and coconut flavor combination, I’ve yet to meet someone who didn’t love these. So consider yourself warned. Make extras. Lots of extras.

Best Paleo Cookies
A Recipe by Diana Keuilian
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
INGREDIENTS
Serves 36

For the Cookies:
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
For the Dark Chocolate:
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate 73% cocoa or higher
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the shredded coconut, almond flour and sea salt. In another medium bowl combine ½ cup melted coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and beaten eggs. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix.
  3. Form round, golf-ball sized, balls with the cookie dough. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool for 20 minutes then place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler. Simply place the chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan and place that into a larger saucepan that has a couple of inches of water over medium heat. Mix constantly until smooth.
  5. Dip the chilled cookies in the melted, dark chocolate, then place on a parchment lined plate. Drizzle dark chocolate across the tops of the cookies. Place back in the fridge until the chocolate hardens — about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

I hope that you have a blast at your next tailgate – and that you and your friends enjoy a few of these wholesome, nut-centric recipes 🙂

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: