Heart Healthy Tailgating Recipes: Buffalo Cauliflower Wings & Jackfruit Nachos

heart healthy tailgating recipes

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Wings and football go hand in hand. Registered dietitians offer some heart healthy tailgating recipes with a twist, using cauliflower instead of chicken. You’ll be amazed at this healthier alternative!


  • 1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Oil spray or oil
  • 1/4 cup flour, or almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 Tablespoon milk of choice
  • optional 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce or hot sauce
  • 1-4 tsp oil or butter spread


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Line a large baking dish with parchment paper.
  3. Spray florets with oil spray or toss with a little oil. Place in either a very large bowl or a large Ziploc bag. Toss with the flour and garlic powder until evenly coated. If using the breadcrumbs for added crunch, finely crush them.
  4. Add the milk of choice and then the breadcrumbs to the cauliflower, and toss to coat. Arrange in one layer in the baking pan.
  5. Bake on the center rack 25 minutes. Combine the oil or melted butter spread with the buffalo sauce (because the fat helps the sauce adhere to the cauliflower). Dip cauliflower in sauce.
  6. Bake another 15 minutes. After this time, I like to broil for up to 5 minutes, watching so it does not burn. Serve with ranch dressing.

Jackfruit Nachos

Tailgating season can lose some of its excitement if you have food sensitivities or eat differently than your friends. This nacho recipe is sure to be the hit of the party and won’t leave you feeling left out of the game!


  • 1 Tablespoon neutral oil (grapeseed)
  • 1 20 oz can jackfruit in brine or water
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ -1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons Vegan BBQ sauce

Other ingredients:

  • 1/2 bag of tortilla chips (5.5 oz/150g)
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (substitute vegan cheese)
  • 1/3 cup purple onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup baby tomatoes, halved
  • 2/3 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 avocado
  • 1-3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch of salt
  • For garnish: Chopped cilantro, green onion


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a colander/strainer to rinse canned jackfruit thoroughly. Shake to remove excess water.
  2. Heat a skillet pan over medium-high heat. Add oil. Once hot, add rinsed jackfruit. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon. As the jackfruit softens, you can use the back of the spoon to “mash up” the jackfruit until it separates into small pieces that resemble pulled pork. Reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle onion powder, chipotle powder, and salt over jackfruit. Stir to coat evenly. Add BBQ sauce and stir well until jackfruit is evenly covered in sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  3. Lay tortilla chips out on a baking sheet. Spread the jackfruit out over the chips, then sprinkle with cheese, onion, tomatoes, and black beans. Put the tray in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add avocado, 1 tablespoon lime juice, cumin, and pinch of salt. Use a fork to mash the avocado into a guacamole-like consistency. Taste and mix in additional lime juice if needed. Add the avocado mixture on top of the cooked chips. Top with sliced green onion and/or cilantro if desired. Serve immediately.

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