A raucous, lively game-day gathering is a communal ritual practiced all over the world. Regardless of if you and your friends are huddled together shouting at the T.V. during a game of cricket, curling, football, or American football, one thing is for sure: You’re going to need snacks, and lots of them!
Typical “game-day” food is decidedly not healthy — watching sports is basically its own excuse to indulge and eat over-the-top foods. And hey, we 100% get it: Big sports events are celebrations, and they are as good a time as any to be a little (or a lot) extra.
So, ZENB fam, here we’ve got five all-stars from our ever-growing recipe collection that balance your lifestyle and nutrition goals with the go-big-or-go-home game-day attitude. They’re cheesy, savory, and saucy (basically everything you hope for in watch-party food), but they’re still packed with plants, of course. Serve up any or all of these at your next game-day hang to earn your party-host MVP title.
Chicken is the all-time reigning champ of game-day proteins, thanks to the ubiquity of chicken wings. Here, we take a different turn with chicken parm sliders, smothered in ZENB Sweet Carrot and Tomato Marinara Gourmet Pasta Sauce and gooey Provolone cheese. Their miniature size makes them super-sharable and very adorbs, and because you’re making the chicken cutlets from scratch yourself (baked, not fried, mind you!), the dish contains less fat and sodium than buying the pre-made frozen kind.
The real power move of these sandwiches is in the squishy, sweet Hawaiian rolls that are brushed with melted butter, herbs and garlic before going into the oven stuffed with the sandwich fillings. It’s a small touch that brings a mega pop of flavor.
This dish is giving “elevated mozzarella sticks” and we are here for it. Halloumi is a traditional goat and sheep’s milk Cypriot cheese that’s very firm, with a squeaky texture and a tangy, salty flavor. Unlike cheese like mozzarella or Fontina which melt quickly, halloumi has a high melting point, so it holds its shape when fried or baked.
This easy recipe requires just 10 minutes of prep to dredge the cheese in egg and panko bread crumbs, and then it goes into the oven for 20 minutes to develop a golden, crunchy crust. Serve the baked halloumi with ZENB Roasted Tomato, Garlic & Basil Gourmet Pasta Sauce for dipping!
Making homemade pizza is fun, but a big project for game day, especially if you are hosting. After all, you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen, missing all the action! Instead, try ZENB’s Pizza-Stuffed Mushrooms, which combine stuffed mushrooms (a timeless classic) with the craveable flavors of hot ‘za. Plus, they’re gluten-free and only require five ingredients!
For best results, use cremini mushrooms, which hold their shape a bit better than standard button mushrooms, and ZENB Roasted Tomato, Garlic & Basil Gourmet Pasta Sauce, to sneak in some extra veggies.
If there is one flavor profile practically synonymous with game day food, it’s buffalo chicken. There’s something about that zesty, spicy sauce that has captured the hearts of sports fans! We double down on the comfort food vibes by combining buffalo chicken with mac-and-cheese.
Beyond the obvious flavor explosion in every bite, there are a lot of reasons why this recipe is a winner. First, it calls for rotisserie chicken, which saves tons of time. Second, using ZENB Elbows Pasta means more plants and lots of protein and fiber. Third, you can make this recipe in advance and then just pop it in the oven about half-an-hour before kickoff.
A big pot of chili simmering away on the stove is the easiest and most delicious way to feed a crowd without spending a ton of time cooking. Everyone can serve themselves as they get hungry, and they can garnish their own bowls with whatever toppings they like.
Our version, which borrows flavors from tangy salsa verde, is loaded with plants, including tomatillos, jalapeños, onions, corn, and ZENB Pasta Agile, which like all of our pasta, is made from 100% yellow peas. It also calls for plant-based Italian sausage, which adds big flavors while keeping the dish meat-free, though you can certainly use traditional sausage if you’d prefer!
For more tips on smart snacking, check out our blog post on healthy hacks for binge watching. Explore our recipe collection, with over 150 plant-fueled dishes and ideas to keep your kitchen game strong. And, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for daily inspo on living a balanced life.