Foodie Favorites: Healthy, Allergy-Free Super Bowl Recipes

Have you ever imagined what would happen to the quality of your social life if you removed food and drink from the equation? I’m willing to bet a lot of people have never given it a thought. I certainly hadn’t, until recently. A few months ago, some health complications led me to discover that I am sensitive to a number of common foods, namely eggs, wheat, and dairy products. My new diet makes me feel wonderful and it’s full of things I really enjoy, but it has also dragged a fair amount of stress and negativity into my life. It’s awkward to attend a holiday gathering or dinner party if you have to impose on the host to alter the menu to suit your needs, or bring something separate for yourself to eat. Going out with new friends (and old) is tough if you have to worry about every restaurant. Those in the allergic and sensitive population are not the only ones who go through this; anyone who has been on a diet knows how depressing it can be to sit in the corner munching celery sticks while your friends and family pig out at a party. It’s hard to appreciate how integral to socializing food is, until your ability to enjoy it is compromised in some way.

The Super Bowl is coming up this weekend, and whether you love football or hate it, it’s as good an excuse as any to get a group together and eat. So, I thought I’d share some great recipes for a delicious, satisfying, gluten and dairy-free party. If there are sensitive/allergic people in your life, you can be a wonderful considerate host and make them feel comfortable. If not, well, these recipes are quite healthy… and we can all strive to be a little healthier!

APPETIZER: Simple bean dip

I don’t want to use the word “invented” here, but my mother just made this up one day after enjoying something similar at a restaurant. The texture is pretty much the same as hummus, but it doesn’t have tahini in it, so it doesn’t have that distinctive hummus flavor. You could certainly buy hummus or bean dip, but making this yourself is ridiculously easy, and it enables you to completely control the ingredients. I use organic canned beans, but if you want to soak and cook your own dried beans, go for it. This makes a normal sized bowl for a relatively small party, but you can multiply the recipe as much as you need to. You can also serve it with any kind of chips or veggies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 can butter beans or gigante beans
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon juice

Put the beans in a food processor and add parsley, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste (really, the amounts are up to you). Pulse to combine. Then turn the food processor on and slowly drizzle olive oil through the top until you reach your desired smoothness. If you don’t like parsley, use a different herb, like basil.

You can flavor this dip so easily with just about anything you want. Roasted peppers, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, or garlic (raw or roasted) would all be delicious.

DRINK: The best margaritas in the world

Ok, tequila isn’t really healthy, but you’re probably going to drink anyway, and these margaritas are undoubtedly better than the neon green sludge you buy pre-bottled. Plus, they’re DELICIOUS. They’re a bit of work to make, but it’s so worth it. You’ll never want a different margarita ever again, and you’ll have a wonderful wheat-free alternative to light beer (yuck) to offer your guests. I can’t take credit for this recipe; it comes from Alton Brown over at the Food Network website. Recipe is for 1 drink; multiply accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces tequila (get the good stuff)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 limes
  • 1/2 small Hamlin or Valencia orange
  • 2 tablespoons light agave nectar*
  • 3/4 cup ice cubes, about 3 to 4

*A note about agave nectar: You can substitute regular sugar, but tequila is made from the agave plant, so the flavors of the two really complement each other nicely. Plus, agave is lower on the glycemic index than ordinary cane sugar, thus healthier for our bodies to process.

Wet the rim of a martini or margarita glass with a little tequila. Spread the salt in a small saucer and dip the glass into the salt to coat the rim. Set aside.

Halve 2 of the limes, cut a thin slice for garnish from 1, and set aside. Juice the halved limes into the bottom of a Boston-style cocktail shaker. Cut the remaining 2 limes and the orange into quarters and add them to the juice in the shaker. Add the agave nectar to and muddle for 2 minutes until the juices are released. Strain the juice mixture through a cocktail strainer into the top of the shaker and discard the solids.

Return the juice to the bottom of the shaker, add the remaining 1 1/2 ounces of tequila and any remaining on the saucer. Add the ice to the shaker, cover and shake for 30 seconds. Strain the mixture through a cocktail strainer into the prepared glass, garnish with reserved lime slice, and serve immediately.

ENTREE: Chicken tortilla soup

This is a wonderful, healthy, satisfying dish with a lot of versatility, and you only need one pot to cook it… perfect for a party. Even without cheese, the taste is reminiscent of really good nachos, minus the guilt. You can easily make this vegan by using vegetable broth and extra beans instead of chicken. I use this recipe with a few minor tweaks. Serves about 4; multiply accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 chicken legs
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 bell peppers (all different colors), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15oz or 1 28 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade chicken stock if you have it)
  • 1 tsp chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped*
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder (leave out if you don’t like spicy foods)
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • canola oil
Garnishes:
  • 1 hass avocado, cubed
  • lime wedges
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • All natural, non-hydrogenated, thin Mexican-style tortilla chips (white or blue), or strips if you can find them

*Note about chipotle chiles in adobo: These are canned chiles in a spiced sauce. They’re quite hot, but they have a ton of wonderful flavor. If you prefer milder foods, just take a teaspoon of the adobo sauce from the can. I don’t recommend leaving it out entirely.

Heat a little canola oil in a big heavy pot, like an enameled Dutch oven. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the chicken legs. Brown them 8 minutes per side (depending on the size of your pot, you may have to do this in batches). Remove and set aside. (Note: the linked recipe uses chopped boneless chicken breast. If you prefer white meat, or are cooking for a large group and don’t want to brown endless batches of legs, go with the chopped boneless meat.)

Saute peppers, onion, and garlic in the same pot with the browned bits of chicken that have stuck to the bottom. Try to scrape them up as the veggies cook. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. When veggies have softened slightly (about 4-5 minutes), add fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, chipotle chili peppers and adobo, paprika, cumin, dried oregano and chipotle chili powder. Stir, then add chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer covered for 30-35 minutes, until chicken falls easily off the bone (25-30 minutes if using boneless white meat). If using legs, shred the meat into the soup.

Garnish as desired with avocado, fresh squeezed lime, cilantro, and slightly crushed tortilla chips/strips. If you can have cheese, feel free to sprinkle some on top (queso fresco recommended).

Feel free to post your favorite Super Bowl recipes of any kind in the comments!

Carly

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  1. You certainly make everything look great, now I know you make everything taste great as well. Yum!

    jane Price Lieberman 1.30.12 at 11:43 pm

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