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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vegan Super Bowl #1

It's time for the Super Bowl, an annual event that I anticipate about as much as Flag Day. I know, what kind of American am I? Well, as someone who doesn't really get into football, and with the halftime shows of the past few years turning out to be giant, multi-million dollar train wrecks, there is not much to look forward to.

But this year, I am excited. As I do with most holidays and events, I am using this as an excuse to make delicious vegan food.

I polled many of you to determine what you like to eat on Super Bowl Sunday, and the answers were as follows: wings, chili, nachos, WINGS, bean dip, buffalo dip, Mexican dip, onion dip, rotel dip, and some WINGS to wash it all down. Now, I'm not hatin' on this food. In my pre-veggie days, I took down some rotel dip like it was my job. But now, I would rather make some vegan alternatives to these, so I feel less like a linebacker at the end of the day, and more like a running back. See how I made a football analogy there?

So, what kind of vegan goodies can you make? Well the good news is, some of the classic staples are already vegan. Salsa, guac, hummus - these dips are actually some of the healthiest super bowl snacks you can throw on your table. OK yes, if you eat an entire bowl of guacamole yourself, that may not be the best thing for you. But i am talking normal human portions here.

My favorite Super Bowl food is chili. Who doesn't love it? It is super easy to make, cheap, healthy, and can feed a whole crowd. Plus, your guests can customize theirs with a bunch of yummy toppings. If chili is your plan for tomorrow, try my Spicy Vegetarian Chili.

What I did today was a little less than healthy, but I needed to respond to all the calls for WINGS WINGS WINGS. I was actually not that big of a wing fan even before I went veg, but did always love a good buffalo chicken sandwich. So today, I went for the whole wing experience in a slider. These Buffalo Tofu Sliders will satisfy that buffalo wing craving, no problem. They are also super messy, and will end up all over your face, hands, and clothes, just like wings.

What I like about sliders is that they are manageable. They are gone in 4 bites, which allows you to enjoy it without committing to an entire burger. I don't like to commit to just one thing at a party, when there is so much good food to be had.

Although it would undoubtedly be easier to use store-bought chicken nuggets as the base for this sandwich as opposed to tofu, I have this rule. If a veggie food is over $4, I don't buy it. Ok so I do buy things like nutritional yeast, and maple syrup, which are both expensive - but those are ingredients. I will not buy a $5 box of "chicken" nuggets. I also patently refuse to buy a $6 bag of Daiya cheese. Yes it tastes good. But not $6 good. The vegan sour cream I use in the creamy dressing - $3. This "rule" is obviously subjective, but it works for me and my budget.

The good news is that freezing and then thawing tofu gives it a chewy texture that makes this sandwich much more like the real thing. It is an optional step, and I know it takes some planning. But it really does make the difference between "yeah this is yummy tofu" and "holy shit what IS THIS." I am going for the latter.

I know this recipe takes a bit of work, but if you want a vegan sandwich that will blow your friends out of the water, or you just want something all for your vegan self tomorrow, make it. You will be so happy that you did.

This sandwich is also fantastic as a wrap, so through it in a tortilla if you are feeling frisky. Also, if you want to make this sandwich without going full vegan, replace the creamy dressing with your favorite blue cheese dressing. 

Enjoy!


Buffalo Tofu Sliders
Makes 6-8

Sandwich Ingredients
1 block extra firm tofu
3/4 cup mild hot sauce (like texas pete or crystal)
2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
1/2 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
canola oil for frying

8 white or whole wheat dinner rolls split in half

2 carrots, shredded
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/4 head iceburg lettuce, finely shredded

Dressing Ingredients
1/4 cup vegan sour cream
1/4 cup vegan mayo
2 scallions, finely diced
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
1. Drain tofu, squeezing out any excess water. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
2. Remove tofu from freezer and let thaw for at least 5 hours. (this is best to do first thing in the morning).
3. In small bowl, mix dressing ingredients thoroughly. Refrigerate until use.
4. When tofu is completely thawed, squeeze out as much water as possible. Tofu should have a spongy consistency now. Cut into small cubes.
4. Add canola oil to high-sided skillet and heat over medium high. There should be enough to liberally cover the bottom.
5. In a shallow bowl, mix corn starch, garlic powder, and salt. Dredge tofu in the mixture, shake off the excess breading, then place in hot skillet. Fry until golden brown and crispy on all sides, turning with tongs occasionally.
6. Meanwhile, in small bowl, heat butter and hot sauce in microwave until hot.
7. When tofu is done, toss in hot sauce mixture. Let sit for only 1 minute. You want the tofu to soak up the sauce, but you also want to retain its crispiness.
8. On each dinner roll, place some buffalo tofu, celery, carrots, and lettuce. Top with a spoonful of creamy dressing and serve!

2 comments:

  1. I finally made these buffalo sliders for this past Super Bowl. They were amazing. Meat-eaters and vegetarians both rejoiced. Amazing recipe--I will be making these again! And yes, freezing the tofu makes a huge difference!

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  2. These are delicious! The idea to freeze and thaw the tofu to give it a more satisfying mouth feel is great. We have made these at least 5 times since coming across your recipe and will be making them many more in the future!

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