Game-day eats

These recipes score big

Game-day eats

Feeding a houseful of hungry fans during this season of sporting greatness? These nutritious and satisfying meals are sure to carry you all the way to game-day hosting victory. Game on!

Margherita Chicken Pizzas

Top a small pita with mozzarella, chicken, and other pizza favorites, then broil, and you have a fun and breezy meal. Small naan bread or even split English muffins can also be used as a pizza base.

8 mini pitas
1 cup (250 mL) tomato sauce
2 cups (500 mL) baby spinach
3/4 lb (350 g) cooked chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 cup (250 mL) roasted red pepper, sliced
1 cup (250 mL) cherry tomatoes, halved
3 oz (85 g) fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/3 cup (80 mL) torn fresh basil
Freshly cracked black pepper, to garnish

Preheat oven broiler to high. Place pitas on baking sheet and broil until browned and crispy, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn pitas.

Spread pitas with tomato sauce and then top with spinach, chicken slices, roasted red pepper, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Broil on high until cheese has melted, about 2 minutes. Top with basil and some freshly cracked black pepper.

Makes 8 pizzas

Each serving contains: 362 calories; 27 g protein; 8 g total fat (2 g sat. fat); 46 g total carbohydrates (7 g sugars, 7 g fiber); 481 mg sodium

Vegan Meatballs with Buffalo Sauce

This is a satisfying plant-based alternative to a game-day classic that everyone is sure to declare a winner. Both the sauce and meatballs can be made up to two days in advance. If you’re serving people who like things spicy, go ahead and blend in even more of the hot sauce.


14 oz (398 mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
14 oz (398 mL) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup (60 mL) no-salt-added tomato paste
1/4 cup (60 mL) ground flaxseed
1/3 cup (80 mL) chickpea flour or brown rice flour
1/4 cup (60 mL) nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and grated or finely minced
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1/2 cup (125 mL) parsley
2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano
1 tsp (5 mL) chili powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

Buffalo sauce

3/4 cup (180 mL) raw cashews
5 Tbsp (75 mL) hot sauce of choice
1 Tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 tsp (10 mL) honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup
1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt, preferably smoked

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). Line large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Into food processor container, place all meatball ingredients and blend into a slightly chunky mixture, scraping down sides of container as needed. Roll mixture into golf ball-sized rounds and place on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flip balls, and bake for another 15 minutes.

To make buffalo sauce, in bowl, place cashews, cover with water, and let soak for at least 2 hours. Drain cashews and place in blender with 1 cup (250 mL) water and remaining sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth.

In medium pot on stovetop, place buffalo sauce and bring to a slight simmer. If sauce is too thick, thin with some additional water. Add balls and heat for 2 minutes, turning balls to coat. Serve on platter with carrot sticks and celery sticks and any extra buffalo sauce.

Serves 6

Each serving contains: 222 calories; 12 g protein; 4 g total fat (1 g sat. fat); 36 g total carbohydrates (7 g sugars, 11 g fiber); 641 mg sodium

Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos

In a huge win for vegetarian sports fans, we swapped ground beef for meaty tempeh stewed with tomatoes and a winning mix of seasonings. To go a little more traditional, regular tortilla chips can be used instead of the sweet potato variety.

9 oz (250 g) pkg tempeh
2 tsp (10 mL) avocado oil or grapeseed oil
8 oz (225 g) cremini or button mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
2 Tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
14 oz (398 mL) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup (250 mL) frozen corn kernels
1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
1 tsp (5 mL) cumin
1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) onion powder
1 1/2 cups (350 mL) cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
5 cups (1.25 L) sweet potato chips, divided
1 cup (250 mL) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup (125 mL) thinly sliced radish, divided
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped red onion, divided
1/4 cup (60 mL) pickled jalapeno pepper (optional), divided
1/3 cup (80 mL) chopped cilantro
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 lime

Bring medium pot of shallow water to a simmer. Add block of tempeh and simmer for 5 minutes per side. Drain tempeh and pat it dry. Allow block to cool, and when cool enough to handle, crumble it into small pieces.

In skillet, heat oil over medium. Cook tempeh and mushrooms for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tempeh is darkened. Stir in tomato paste and heat for 1 minute. Stir in canned tomatoes, corn, chipotle chili, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder; simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in black beans.

Preheat oven broiler. Spread half the sweet potato chips out on rimmed baking sheet. Top with half of tempeh mixture, cheese, radish, red onion, and pickled jalapeno, if using. Repeat layering with other half of these ingredients. Scatter on cilantro. Broil for 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Be careful not to burn chips.

Scatter on avocado before serving and squirt lime juice overtop.

Serves 4

Each serving contains: 610 calories; 31 g protein; 32 g total fat (9 g sat. fat); 57 g total carbohydrates (13 g sugars, 14 g fiber); 365 mg sodium


By Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD