It seems that every game day side item is loaded with cheese, cheese, and more cheese…in the form of cream cheese, sour cream, shredded, melted (called “queso” if you live in Texas), and maybe yogurt if someone is getting creative. I love dairy just as much as the next person, but it doesn’t always make me feel my best, and I’m pretty picky about when I choose to consume it. So I wanted to offer a few of my favorite non-cheese game day side options.
- Spinach and Artichoke Dip
All right, this recipe is not my own creation. I like to give credit where credit is due. The original recipe is here. It’s delicious, and doesn’t taste dairy free at all!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a food processor or blender, combine:
- 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
- 1 cup mayonnaise (I use Primal Kitchens mayo, try to avoid mayo with canola or soybean oil)
- 1/4 cup water
In a large bowl, add cashew mixture to
- 16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 13.5 oz jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onions
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
- (optional) 1 fresh diced jalapeno, or 1/4 cup chopped from jar
Mix well, place in an oven-safe dish and bake for 20 minutes. It’s great fresh out of the oven or even cold on day two!
2. Buffalo Cauliflower
I love anything with buffalo sauce. My two favorite buffalo sauces are Primal Kitchens and The New Primal buffalo sauce. Keep in mind that the Primal Kitchens version does contain cashews, for those with allergies or intolerances.
I make my buffalo cauliflower in the air fryer, set at 390 degrees, but the oven would work too. It will take about 10-15 minutes longer.
- One head cauliflower, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons avocado oil
- Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
- 1 bottle buffalo sauce
Dump all the above in the air fryer or on a roasting pan, cook until tender and starting to brown. Add 1/2 bottle of buffalo sauce, stir, and roast for another few minutes. Take out and enjoy! It’s really good with a drizzle of Primal Kitchens ranch dressing on top (not sponsored, I promise – I just like it)!
3. Crispy Brussels Sprouts
I prefer my brussels sprouts wrapped in half a piece of bacon and roasted in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, like my friend David Berryman makes them. That’s literally all you do, and I recommend you try it. It’s a crowd pleaser!
But since I don’t have an actual picture of that, I’m sharing the way I typically make them when I don’t use bacon.
- 12-16 oz fresh brussels sprouts, halved, with ends chopped off
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- Salt, pepper, and garlic to taste
- A generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Optional: a drizzle of organic maple syrup
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Season and coat brussels sprouts with ingredients and lay on a roasting pan covered in parchment paper. 30 minutes usually does the trick, but it depends on how crispy you want them. Bacon and pecans are always welcome add-ins at the end.
4. Fudgy Brownies
I just have to add something sweet, right? I love brownies. Unfortunately, I don’t love how I feel after eating regular brownies, especially those from a box mix. They go straight to my head and make me feel “buzzy.”
If I do have brownies from a mix, my recent favorite is the Simple Mills brand.
For an easy recipe that doesn’t contain almond flour or coconut flour (like many gluten free recipes), I love this one. Once again, I’m giving credit where credit is due, and it comes from this website.
I love these because I can have one and be done. They’re rich and chocolate-y without being “too much,” and they don’t seem to trigger a need for overconsumption like a lot of processed, packaged foods that have been chemically designed for us to binge on.
- 6 TBSP coconut oil
- 6 ounces chocolate chips
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cups coconut sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350. Melt together the coconut oil and chocoate chips, then set aside. Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla together, then add the coconut oil/chocolate mixture to them and combine. Add the cocoa powder and arrowroot powder last. Pour into a pan (I cover with parchment paper) and bake for 25-30 minutes. You can always sub butter for the coconut oil, or regular sugar or a substitute like Lakanto instead of coconut sugar.
I hope this helps you find something new to add to your game day sides… or any day! And remember – a body in stress doesn’t digest. You absolutely have the freedom to choose whatever food you want to consume. The more stressed you are, the more trouble your body has digesting it. Enjoy your meals, fill your heart with gratitude, and always listen to your body. It’s on your side.