Fried Foes No Match for Dream Team’s Lineup of Healthy Starters

Yes, it is football season. And, yes, before a game, you will probably spend time in a parking lot playing corn hole and eating fried food-like items that, by the fourth quarter, you may very well come to regret. But such a fate need not come to pass—you can fare better. Much better. How? Draft Juniper Green to your team, and take your tailgating game to a whole new level.

“Serving healthier options at your tailgate doesn’t have to mean sacrificing fun or flavor,” founders Molly Martin and Lyndi Stein say. “It can actually elevate the presentation with bright colors and interesting textures, and help your friends feel energized for the big game.”

Here are just a few of their suggestions for some pregame gourmet goodness.   

Mezze Board Match-Up: Chips and dip are a crowd pleaser, but opting for a mezze snack board is just as satisfying. Molly and Lyndi suggest creating an upscale snack board that includes options such as a roasted red pepper dip called muhammara, butternut squash hummus and a labneh spread served with crisp seasonal veggies and pita flatbread.

Mini Slider Showdown: Sink your teeth into mini turkey burger sliders instead of big, heavy burgers that put you to sleep before halftime. Elevate your sliders with toppings like caramelized onions, curry aioli and pickled onions.

Crush Some Crostini: It’s hard to say no to a pile of cheesy chips, but Juniper Green suggests subbing for a crunchy crostini option topped with ricotta, rosemary roasted grapes and pistachios. 

Score Sweet and Smoky Meatballs: Buffalo wings can be so messy that sauce is bound to end up on your remote control. Instead, try snacking on lamb meatballs cooked with smoky butternut puree and pomegranate molasses for a pop of flavor. 

Butternut Squash Hummus

Ingredients

1 pound butternut squash

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup red onion, diced 

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon tahini 

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

Juice of half a lemon

Juice of half a small orange

1 teaspoon orange zest 

1 cup olive oil 

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt to taste 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. 

2. Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds and strings. Rub cut surface with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until very soft and slightly charred on the edges, approximately 20 minutes.

3. In the last 10-12 minutes of cooking, toss onion in olive oil and add to the same sheet pan with squash. Roast until soft and dark on the edges. 

4. After squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop out flesh with a large spoon. Add to food processor with all remaining ingredients except olive oil. While machine is running, slowly add olive oil in a steady stream until desired texture is reached. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve at room temperature with grilled flatbread or crostini.