Even if you don’t care for a game featuring teams named after sheep or cats, chances are you’re using the game as an excuse to eat crispy, fried, cheesy party food. or all of the above.
Hosting a Super Bowl party will be more of a financial investment than in the past. (Don’t give up. Read on.)
“Food prices in general are significantly higher than they were before the pandemic,” said Joseph Balagtas, associate professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. He noted that the Consumer Price Index, which measures the average price change of consumer goods, shows an 11% increase for food and beverages from December 2019 to December 2021.
“Much of the rise in food prices is due to rising meat prices,” Balagtas added. “Things like chicken wings (and) ground beef for your Super Bowl chili are more expensive this year than they were a year ago.”
It’s time to call an audible – be like the quarterback and change the game at the last minute before handing the ball to you. Put veggie-based snacks at the forefront of your Super Bowl buffet instead of platters of wings and burgers. Chances are no one will complain or notice that much.
Here are some budget options for your game viewing menu. From creamy dips and fries to classic nachos and team-specific dishes, we’ve got you covered. And if you really want to include meat, using it to flavor your food rather than being the center is an affordable option.
Nachos for everyone
In addition to the usual suspects like salsa, sour cream, and guacamole, get out your skillet and heat up some less expected nacho topping options, such as:
• charred corn and green onions
• fajita-style peppers and onions
And, of course, beans. If you’re looking for a can of pinto or black beans, now is the time to step up your seasoning game.
Make a quick version of homemade refried beans by sautéing the onion and garlic in oil until translucent, then adding the drained and rinsed beans. Mash coarsely, then add stock or water to loosen the mixture. Keep the mash to your desired consistency and add spices like smoked paprika, chili powder, or taco seasoning if desired. (Now you’ll never go back to the canned version again.)
Buffalo beyond the wings
Even if wings aren’t in the budget, you can indulge in that classic hot and tangy buffalo flavor as part of your meal lineup. Buffalo sauce is an egalitarian sauce that’s welcome in many holiday-friendly dishes, so mix it up, drizzle it, and smother it all if you like.
Stretch the meat budget
If the defense bombards you with the idea of an all-vegetarian Super Bowl menu, a compromise is possible. Instead of a slow cooker full of mini meatballs or a platter of wings, choose dishes that have meat as an accent.
Spaghetti isn’t usually a Super Bowl food, but when the Cincinnati Bengals play for the title, there’s bound to be Cincinnati chili involved.
Over at the Los Angeles Rams, celebrate the sprawling city’s culinary diversity with one of the city’s most beloved dishes: the taco. Because each taco only needs a few spoonfuls of filling, you won’t need pounds of meat to make a meal.
Just as Southern California is home to a wide range of cuisines, you can make a taco spread with a few unusual toppings, whether they contain meat or not. Try these LA-inspired options:
Casey Barbier is a food writer, illustrator and photographer; the author of “Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” and “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats”; and editor of the Good site. Food. Stories.