If hungry sports fans are set to invade your home this season, let Thrive Market help you get prepared. Chef Megan Mitchell is back on Prep School to help you make your next appetizer spread totally crave-worthy ... and vegan!
The Ultimate Vegan Nachos
Instead of pulled pork or ground beef, we use a mix of jackfruit, black beans, corn, and southwest seasoning for a vegan alternative to this game-day staple. According to Chef Megan Mitchell, the worst part of nachos is biting into a chip with nothing on it, which is why she recommends layering the nachos. That way every chip has a bit of goodness on top, including melted vegan cheese!
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
1 (10-ounce) package The Jackfruit Company Jackfruit Meal, Southwest
Kosher salt, to taste
¼ cup chopped cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
2 (4.72-ounce) packets Daiya Deluxe Cheddar Style Cheeze Sauce
2 (5-ounce) bags grain-free tortilla chips
1 large tomato, sliced into ¼-inch pieces, for garnish
1 large avocado, cubed, for garnish
⅓ cup pickled jalapeño pieces, for garnish
Pour jackfruit mixture into a medium skillet and season with a large pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, until warmed through. Off heat, stir in the ¼ cup chopped cilantro.
Pour both packets of cheeze sauce into a small saucepan; heat on medium-low and stir often to keep from burning. Once warm, remove from heat.
Pour all the chips into a large bowl and set out a serving platter. To build the nachos, spread ⅓ of the chips as an even layer. Scoop ⅓ of the jackfruit mixture over the chips, followed by ⅓ of the cheeze sauce. Next, sprinkle on some of the tomatoes, avocado cubes, and jalapeño pieces. Repeat twice more, for a total of three layers. Sprinkle remaining cilantro leaves over the top and serve immediately.
Buffalo Cauliflower Bites With Blue Cheeze Sauce
With a few key ingredients, this popular bar food is easy to turn into a vegan appetizer at home. Cauliflower stands in for chicken, and the blue “cheeze” dipping sauce can be enjoyed by all.
Yield: 4 to 5 servings
Active time: 40 minutes
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 5 cups)
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
1 cup cassava flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ¾ cup soda water
Celery sticks, for serving
Daiya Blue Cheeze Dressing, for dipping
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook for 3 minutes, then remove, drain, and let cool.
Fill a medium-sized Dutch oven halfway with vegetable oil. Heat over medium high, until oil reaches 375°F. Whisk cassava flour, cornstarch, baking powder, black pepper, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Pour in the soda water and whisk until a thick batter forms. If the batter is too loose, add a bit more cassava flour. (It should resemble pancake batter.)
Add the blanched cauliflower to the batter and gently mix until coated. Working in batches, fry the cauliflower until golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes. Drain on a towel-lined baking sheet and continue frying the remaining florets.
Place fried cauliflower into a shallow bowl and pour some of the wing sauce over the top, gently tossing until each floret is lightly coated. Arrange on a large platter and serve alongside celery sticks and blue cheeze dressing for dipping.
Mac and Cheeze Balls
Vegan and gluten-free mac and cheese? Yes, please! Chef Megan Mitchell calls this recipe the perfect little vegan bite. Crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, you can eat the bites alone or dip them in marinara sauce.
Yield: 18 to 20 balls
Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes
2 (10.6-ounce) boxes Daiya Deluxe Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 cups gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup cornstarch
1 vegan egg, made from Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg Replacer
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 8 minutes, or until tender; drain and return to the pot. Squeeze both cheeze sauce packets over the noodles and stir. Pour mac and cheeze onto a quarter-sheet tray and spread in an even layer; refrigerate for 1 hour.
Fill a medium-sized Dutch oven halfway with vegetable oil. Heat over medium high, until oil reaches 350°F.
While the oil heats up, form the balls, scoop the chilled mac and cheeze into golf ball-sized rounds and line them on a sheet tray. (Use a ¼-cup ice cream scoop for consistency). Next, set up your dredging station. Place the cornstarch in a shallow bowl, the vegan egg in a second shallow bowl, and the panko in a third shallow bowl. If needed, thin the egg with a bit of water; it should be loose and viscous.
Place 1 ball in the cornstarch, rolling to coat. Then dip ball into the egg, and finish with a coating of panko. Repeat with remaining balls, lining them on the sheet tray once again. When the oil is heated, fry 3 to 4 balls at a time; drain on a paper towel-lined tray. Serve immediately.
Recipes by Chef Megan Mitchell