I have never been a fan of football. The game confuses me. What I see when I watch the game is a whole lot of big men running into each other. And it’s not that I don’t get sports. I am an avid baseball fan. I mean, what is a more fascinating and exhilarating than 9 innings of the great America’s Pastime? And I’ll watch basketball with enthusiasm, eagerly cheering on my team (go, Blazers!), allowing a win or a loss to slightly affect my mood.
So it’s not that I hate sports. I just don’t get football.
Regardless, I have watched more Superbowl games that I have not. When I was younger it was important to pay attention to the commercials and halftime performances so that I could join in the conversations at school the next day. As I got older Superbowl Sunday became a celebration about food and one I started to look forward to despite not knowing what teams were playing or who’s down it was.
When I lived in Michigan we had an annual vegan Superbowl gathering. All lovers of food, every year we worked hard to out-do ourselves with impressive vegan spreads. There was the year of the Philly Cheese Steaks and BBQ tofu skewers, and then the creamy artichoke dip and football-shaped cake. Oh, and there were always nachos – meaty, cheesy, vegan nachos. Superbowl Sunday turned out to be one of my favorite holidays as I love anything that revolves around good vegan food.
This year I’m going to my first Superbowl party in several years. Sadly, it won’t be a vegan celebration of food so it’s on me to impress my omnivorous friends. Cue in: Buffalo Cheddar Cheese. I am a little bit in love with this cheese. Smoky, sweet, and spicy, this Buffalo Cheddar is delicious and addictive. It’s super simple to make, even for cheese making newbies. So whip some up for next week’s big game; it is sure to impress.
*Recipe adapted from this recipe.
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4-6 hours
- 3 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 30-60 min
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
- 1 tbsp tahini paste
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- Buffalo Spice Mix (recipe follows)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 batch Coconut Bacon (recipe follows)
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 3/4 cup large coconut flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/2 tsp tamari
- 1/2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- Drain and rinse the cashews and sun-dried tomatoes. Transfer to a food processor and blend until they begin to form a paste, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add nutritional yeast, hot sauce, tahini, vinegar, and Buffalo Spice Mix and blend until well combined. With motor running add coconut oil and blend until smooth. This can take up to 10 minutes. Transfer into an airtight container and refrigerate for 4 hours, until hard enough to mold.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 300F. To make the coconut bacon combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, stirring together until coconut is evenly saturated. Spread evenly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until evenly browned and crisp. Allow coconut to cool completely on the baking sheet.
- Once cheese is hard, shape the cheese into a ball using your hands. You can also use a small (greased) bowl as a mold to shape the cheese into a dome. Roll cheese in coconut bacon and serve with crackers, chips, or vegetables.
- Store in the refrigerator.
- *Keep a close eye on the coconut bacon while it bakes - it can burn very quickly!
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