gluten-free Super Bowl

Back in January, when Danny and I were planning out the food we’d make for the blog in February, we both looked at the calendar and thought, “We should probably make some Super Bowl food.”

Good idea, right? Most of the country seems seized by the need to sit in front of the television and cheer or grow so angry when the wrong player runs down the field for a touchdown that the veins in their foreheads bulge or at least tune in to watch the commercials that we’d be missing our chance to make great gluten-free food for people who need it in a party situation.

Here’s the problem. Our friend Adam laughed the other day when I told him we’d be cooking all the next morning to make Super Bowl food for this site. “You guys don’t make Super Bowl food.”

“What kind of food is it?” I asked him.

“You take a jar of that pre-melted cheese, dump it over a bunch of chips, and heat it in the microwave. Or you get that box with the summer sausage and the cheese ball rolled in nuts and you dig in with crackers. Or you fry up ground beef and make tacos with those hard taco shells that come 12 to a package.”

Oh dear. I wanted to dispute him. Sure,  it’s football, but it’s also a party. People can eat anything at a Super Bowl party, right? I’m seeing blog posts flying through the sky these days. Everyone has Super Bowl appetizers.

And then I realize this: I have never been to a Super Bowl party. Never.

I’ve watched a couple of times over my life, at home with the family, or with Danny when he wasn’t working that day. But I have never once thrown a Super Bowl Party. Or attended one.

So, you’re saying that this tray of fresh vegetables with romesco sauce, green goddess dressing, and blue cheese dip with green onions (all inspired by our friend Cynthia Nims’ fun cookbook, Gourmet Game Night: Bite-Sized, Mess-Free Eating for Board-Game Parties, Bridge Clubs, Poker Nights, Book Groups, and More) probably wouldn’t show up on most Super Bowl party tables? Particularly the way Danny decorated the tray with escarole?

(Lu enjoyed it for lunch, however.)

Popcorn. Surely there must be popcorn at a Super Bowl party, right? Sometimes I feel like there should be popcorn at every meal. This is a staple.

However, this popcorn was made with herbes de provence, a blending of thyme, rosemary, fennel seeds, and lavender.

Shoot. This isn’t Super Bowl food either, is it?

However, I will tell you this: you MUST make this popcorn. The slight sweetness of lavender combined with the savory herbs, all blended with butter and salt? Unbelievable. I first tried this combination when I was at a fascinating spice weekend at the McCormick headquarters in Maryland. (As I have written here before, we have been paid by McCormick to use their spices and write about how we use spices in our kitchen.) When the McCormick people told us they believed that the combination of herbes de provence and popcorn might be one of the big flavor profiles for this year, I was a little dubious. However, since I ate this cheesecake with an herbes de provence-popcorn crust, I have been fixated. This is the one of the best cheesecakes I have ever eaten — so light — and it’s naturally gluten-free.

(The McCormick folks were lovely. They made the entire menu for the weekend gluten-free for everyone so that I could eat everything offered.)

So maybe this wouldn’t show up at most Super Bowl parties. But it should show up in your kitchen soon.

Nachos! This has to be the world’s best party food, right? Surely those will show up at Super Bowl parties.

Some folks might think that mini nachos are a little fussy to make. Treating each chip as its own individual tray of nachos? Why not just throw the cheese and salsa on and call it good?

Seriously, make it this way. Each chip is its own nacho nirvana.

(You can see the recipe for these mini nachos over at the Food Network’s website. We’re honored that they have asked us to create gluten-free recipes for them on a regular basis now.)

Lamb shepherd’s pie. Is this Super Bowl food?

It’s meat and potatoes and gravy. That’s a crowd pleaser.

Just don’t tell people that there’s lavender in there. Lamb and lavender are best friends, says Danny. It will just taste fantastic and people won’t know why.

(This recipe will be posted on the Food Network’s site today, so watch for it!)

I suppose this isn’t typical Super Bowl food either, is it?

I suppose it’s probably pretty clear that I don’t really understand the food that’s right for a Super Bowl party. How could I if I have never been to one? Danny has been to plenty of Super Bowl parties in his time, but this is the food he likes to eat.

From listening to my other friends, I know that there are plenty of people out there who love great food and love the Super Bowl too. They’re not mutually exclusive, no matter what my friend Adam says.

We just make the food we like. If you like it too, great.

And maybe, like me, you’ll be avoiding the whole thing anyway, sort of horrified by the spectacle and kind of amazed that people would actually gather in front of the television, eager to see advertisements.

(Secret: I don’t even know which teams are playing.)

If that’s you, maybe you’d like to do what I will be doing on Sunday: making a new batch of these pear-cardamom brown butter muffins.

Go team!

HERBED BISCUITS WITH SMOKED SALMON, adapted from Gourmet Game Night: Bite-Sized, Mess-Free Eating for Board-Game Parties, Bridge Clubs, Poker Nights, Book Groups, and More by Cynthia Nims

Clearly, looking at our friend Cynthia’s book, game nights and football parties do not have to mean dumbed-down food. With recipes like mole flank steak with pickled peppers, tuna tartare on daikon slices, empanadas with chicken and walnuts, and polenta squares with spicy sausage and spinach, this book inspires us to throw even parties than we do now.

With all these choices, we wanted to make these biscuits first. We’re still working on cut-out buttermilk biscuits, and you can make this recipe that way if you wish. But making them drop biscuits removes the anticipation of perfection. Cynthia makes them, then slices them open and tops each half with smoked salmon and creme fraiche. (Damn you, South Park!) We decided to put the smoked salmon right into the biscuits. Such a nice surprise in some of those bites.

We decided to work with specific flours here for their properties. Millet makes a good crumb. Buckwheat groats, ground into a flour, have a hearty taste and a bit of the feeling of whole wheat flour. (The raw flour is pretty darned different than the packaged flour, however. We just grind some groats in our blender. Flour happens immediately.) Potato flour adds a lovely softness. Arrowroot binds. Cornstarch adds a bit of crunch. But feel free to substitute our whole-grain flour mix or any combination of gluten-free flours that work for you. Just be sure to substitute by weight.

Notice that these do not have xanthan or guar gum in them, so if you use a mix with those ingredients, the texture of the biscuits will be different.

Have fun playing!

280 grams (2 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
115 grams (1 US stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fine-chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons fine-chopped fresh dill
2 ounces smoked salmon

Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 400°. Put a large cast-iron skillet into the oven.

Combining the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine and aerate the flour with the baking powder and salt. Whisk.

Finishing the dough. Working quickly, put the butter into the flours. Using a pastry cutter or two table knives, cut the butter into the flours. You want the butter and flour to mix, with the final pieces of butter about the size of lima beans. Pour in the buttermilk and the smoked salmon and stir until the dough is thoroughly mixed. Only mix until the dough comes together. The less you work with the dough, the flakier the biscuits will be.

Baking the biscuits.  Scoop up about 3 ounces of biscuit dough (this is about the size of a baseball) and loosely form it into a ball. Set it aside then finish the rest of the dough the same way. Run the end of a stick of butter around the hot pan, then put the biscuits into the hot pan, nestling up against each other.

Bake until the biscuits are lightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes about 8 biscuits.


69 comments on “gluten-free Super Bowl

  1. Jen H

    Even if it’s not the stereotypical superbowl food, it all looks good to me! I like homemade onion dip, chili and made Buffalo chicken nachos that are as fussy as yours AND I’m a huge football fan. I give you a 2 thumbs up!

  2. Andrea

    Well, I would love to attend a Super Bowl party with you! The food would all be safe for me to eat – and better than any Super Bowl party I’ve been to before. I think all the foods you show would be welcomed by any fans – the decor usually needs to involve some team colors though. And popcorn is a must for any football game.
    By the way, it’s the Green Bay Packers v Pittsburgh Steelers!

    1. shauna

      Thanks for telling me. I honestly had no idea. I think it’s the team colors decor that has scared me!

  3. Anita / Married ...with dinner

    I love your mini-nachos — I never understand why people just dump a pile of cheese on a pile of chips. You end up with too many naked chips and uneven toppings.

    I think I’ve only ever been to one Super Bowl party, and that was the one that C and I hosted when we lived in Seattle. That was the year of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction”, and everyone was much more interested in that 5-second shocker than the game. 🙂

    1. shauna

      Anita, exactly! Those naked chips are bothersome. Not quite as bothersome as Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, but still.

  4. The Yummy Mummy

    I agree with Anita. Those nachos are calling my name.

    I hosted a Super Bowl party once. I worked in theatre in New York at the time and everyone who came was gay and male. They turned off the game and watched Hairspray. (Fortunately, the food was still a hit.) Now, I’m married to an Australian so American Football doesn’t even come up in conversation. Still, I think we can fit those nachos into something going on around here.

    So happy you are writing recipes for Food Network. They are lucky to have you! xo

    1. shauna

      That cracks me up. A football party that turned into Hairspray is my kind of party! Maybe I’m a gay man?

      Come on over for nachos soon, darling.

  5. cindy

    I always have an un-Super Bowl Party. We make whatever snacks we want and watch Food Network or something. Everything you all made looks amazing and I’d gladly choose any if those before jarred cheese and chips 🙂

  6. Sarah R

    Popcorn is my *favorite* food of all time! That popcorn cheesecake has been bookmarked to make very soon.
    What ratio of herbs de provence and butter do you use for the popcorn if you were just going to eat it that way (sans cheesecake)?
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. shauna

      You know, we just eyeballed it. I put olive and oil and butter into the bottom of a pan, then a single layer of popcorn, then salt and enough herbs de provence to lightly cover about 3/4 of the popcorn. Maybe 1 1/2 teaspoons? The recipe we linked to shows you how to make the popcorn too!

  7. Katherine Gray

    Love it! I’m going to a Super Bowl party with friends who are pretty hip to gluten-free, but I’m offering to bring a rice chex mix anyway, just in case.

    So even if people don’t think you make Super Bowl Party food this post is certainly SEO’d for it (which, as a marketer, I wholeheartedly approve of!). You can start a Super Bowl Party food revolution! 🙂

    1. shauna

      Katherine, I would love to start a food revolution! But I still don’t think I’m going to attend a Super Bowl party.

  8. Christine

    I’m way too lazy to make individual nachos, but make a baked dip which works just as well…I layer cream cheese on the bottom, topped with homemade “refried” beans – really mashed pintos or black beans sauteed in some oil, with onion garlic, a smidge of tomato paste, and a hit of cumin and smoked paprika. If I have made chili recently I’ll throw that on top, but usually I just use a fresh salsa, then top with lots of good cheddar. Bake til bubbly and serve with chips. It will be gone before it has a chance to cool down and it’s gluten free!

    OR make sriracha chicken wings! I bake my wings til cooked and very crispy in a hot oven. Then heat a bit of butter in a saute pan, throw in sriracha (to taste), maybe a smidge of chicken broth or white wine, cook out the alcohol… Throw in your crispy wings to coat and then serve topped with some crumbled (gluten free) bleu cheese.

    Just because it’s Super Bowl doesn’t need to mean that it’s low brow. And if you’re partying with us (we usually have it in our friend’s bar/restaurant, which he makes invite only) you would also start early for the traditional Bloody Mary shake off between bartenders. Cabs are involved.


  9. Stephanie Eaton

    You just scored a touchdown with me!!! I am going to try out the popcorn tart to take with me to a Superbowl party…. sounds absolutely intriguing. Just wanted to say a sincere thank you to you for helping me out in this new gluten free world that I now find myself living in. Your passion and enthusiasm for food has re-awakened my love for cooking and baking again instead of just surviving on food that I can now eat since I was diagnosed. Again… Thank you.

    1. shauna

      Stephanie, thank you so much! I’m so happy we could re-awaken a passion for cooking and baking!

      And I want to hear what you thought about the tart.

  10. aseafish

    Wait a minute! We almost always have super bowl parties, though I must admit I’ve rarely watched a game. The food here would fit perfectly. We love food, can tolerate football (sort of), and will jump at an excuse to have a party. The food is the star, and we make no bones about it. I am definitely trying some of your recipes, maybe even this Sunday.

    1. shauna

      I think really it’s just about having a great party with great food and great people. If some people want to go watch football in the other room, that’s okay!

  11. Rae

    I am going to share my popcorn recipe because in our house for the last 20 or 30 years, popcorn IS a food group and this is the best popcorn spice ever (except that I haven’t tried yours). Since all the daughters moved out and my husband and I find ourselves totally ALONE, we often have popcorn for dinner. Here it is: nutritional yeast (red star flake yeast is the best and yummiest and also makes killer gravy), granulated garlic, cumin power and parsley flakes. Mix to your taste. When we go to movies I sneak it in. I love it with flax oil instead of butter, or you can mix it half and half. I so get your popcorn thing Shauna.

  12. Barb in Bellingham

    Hey, don’t forget the homemade Mexican tamales! No gluten, no dairy, and made with virgin coconut oil and Soyrizo, vegan. It’s manly fare, to boot!

  13. Tara

    Hi Shauna! Long-time reader; first-time commenter.
    You make me laugh! I would come to your Super Bowl party any day over a “traditional” party, even though I too have no idea who’s playing. Looking forward to trying out that popcorn spice mix….and then using it for a cheesecake crust! Brilliant.
    Thanks for all you do. I’m so pleased to hear about all the projects you and Danny are working on. You’ve built a special community here, and I suppose with this first comment, I can say that I’m a part of it! 🙂

  14. Christina

    Every year my friends hold a huge Super Bowl party called Dipapalooza (it’s a dip making competition). It gets quite competitive and we spend all day eating. HOWEVER this is my first year with celiac…and I have been off dairy, eggs, and yeast for a month at the demand of my doctor. Needless to say, your popcorn is about the only thing I will be eating this Sunday 🙁 Tear.

    1. shauna

      I love a dip party! (We have themed parties all the time, so we might try this next.)

      Oh dear, I wish you could have asked everyone to bring gluten-free crackers and vegetables so you could try the dips!

  15. kk

    I love your blog!!! I have been reading it for some time, but something about the Super Bowl inspired me to comment… I love Super Bowl Sunday!!! Anything for an opportunity to spend time eating and drinking with friends!!! This will be my 2nd Super Bowl eating gluten free. This year I’m making reuben dip – a new favorite! Super easy and oh so good! Mix equal parts of shredded corned beef, shredded swiss and sauerkraut and then add 1 cup of homemade thousand island (I use veganaise, ketchup and sweet relish). Bake at 350 till bubbly. Serve with Mary’s Gone Crackers with Caraway!

    1. aseafish

      That sounds really good, kk. I wonder if it would work with swiss-style rice cheese. I’ve found gluten a lot easier to replace than dairy, and I’m sad to say, I really miss butter, cream, and cheese.

    2. shauna

      I read this description of your reuben dip to Danny and he shouted, “SHUT UP! We are so making that.”

  16. Heather (Gluten-Free Cat)

    This is hilarious! We’re not doing typical Super Bowl snacks either. The men in our home will be eating the results of the Daring Cooks Challenge as they watch football on Sunday! Hopefully it will be delicious enough so they don’t notice the lack of Doritos and buffalo wings.

  17. Jenn Sutherland

    Growing up, my parents always hosted a big Super Bowl party at their house, but I don’t remember ever watching the game. For the guys, it was football & beer…but the women – it was a food competition all its own – the potluck event of the year. There would be a huge spread in the dining room, and every family made an effort to bring an all-star dish or cocktail. I remember the annual party mostly for the food and laughter. In our house, we’re making a pot of my favorite chili and your PCC salad, but no football, and friends who similarly don’t care for the sport will stop by to join in the fun.

  18. Caitlin

    These all look delicious! Just one question – how long do you put the nachos in the oven? I’ve always done microwave nachos (at least before going GF) so I am just wondering. Thanks!

    1. shauna

      Oh gosh, you just put them under the broiler and let them cook for a few moments, until the cheese is bubbly and melted.

  19. Chris

    Confused a bit, getting ready to make the biscuits. Why the hot skillet AND the silpat/baking sheet? Am I missing a step ir was that two options? Can’t wait to make them. My Scandanavian husband is stoked about the smacked salmon and dill. We were looking for something to go with beef stew. These really don’t but who cares? The look deeeelish. Thank you!!!!!

    1. shauna

      Thank you so much for pointing that out! I took out the silpat. When I first started making the recipe, I was going to bake on a baking sheet. The hot cast-iron skillet was a much better idea!

  20. Dana

    We’re attending a non-gluten-free party so I’m trying my hand at chicken taquitos, combining the best parts of several different recipes, none of which I’ve ever tried before! I love experimenting on other people. 🙂 Roasting chicken thighs in the oven with a chili-garlic rub a la Joy of Cooking, sautee-ing onions and peppers and deglazing the pan with tequila a la some Food Network guy. Rolled in white corn tortillas, fried and dipped in guacamole.

  21. Denise-EatPlayLove

    I think if you invited me to a super bowl party, I would attend. Otherwise, tomorrow represents everything I have serious issues with in America (overpaid and worshipped athletes, crappy/junky food complete with overeating, and just another reason to sit on the couch and stare at the television for hours on end).

  22. Laura

    Loved this post 🙂 I don’t really get the whole super bowl thing either but for some reason I’m going along with it, even starting to get into it. I already have a Terrible Towel hanging prominently on the fireplace mantle (FYI, Shauna, that’s the thing Steelers fans use to cheer with. Steelers are one of the teams playing in the game. I guess the other one is the Green Bay Packers in case you wanted to know). Because I’m in it so half-heartedly I hadn’t begun to think about what fun foods to serve my family. Thanks for the inspiration – especially the nachos. That’s what I’m making!

    1. shauna

      Hey Laura, you can tell how not keyed into this thing that the phrase Terrible Towel startled me at first. Thanks for the explanation!

  23. Dana

    We’re big football people here, every year we choose food from each team’s hometown to make, we just make it all gluten free. My sweet husband who isn’t Celiac even gets GF beer. I don’t care if he drinks the regular beer, but he says it wouldn’t adhere to the family tradition of GF Super Bowls. 🙂 (I married well…. )

  24. Sarah

    great job — as usual! I want to try the pear cardamom muffins b/c I love, love, love cardamom (I miss my aunt’s cardamom Christmas bread now that I am gluten free). Having trouble finding buckwheat flour that is certified gluten free. Arrowhead Mills is not certified and my gluten numbers are still a bit high so my nutritionist has advised using only certified gluten free products until my numbers are “normal.”
    Any suggestions?
    keep up great work.

    1. shauna

      You know, I’ve realized I don’t like the taste of commercial buckwheat anyway, since the grain is toasted then ground. It’s a little bitter, too distinctive. But I do love raw buckwheat (also known as groats), and we grind that up in the blender. The groats are soft so they turn into flour easily. I have sort of fallen in love with it lately!

  25. Didi

    My family (of 2) alternates SuperBowl with watching Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet–so you hear “Awww….OOooff!!” from our apartment! We make a hot cheese artichoke dip and a spicy cold bean/zucchini chili to dip tortilla chips into.. Can’t wait to make your romesco sauce!

  26. Susan

    Shauna! This all looks so good. How awesome that you guys were asked to give recipes to the Food Network regularly! I wrote a letter about a year or so ago asking them to do more gluten free recipes, and just hoped that tons of other people wrote in as well so that someone would sit up and take notice! So glad it’s you guys they are listening to! 🙂

  27. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle

    Your friend Adam’s idea of Super Bowl food made me laugh. Out loud. I guess I’m lucky, I’ve never been to or hosted a party with foods like that…just reading it was bad enough! I have to admit, I don’t serve ‘typical’ fare; preferring to tempt my friends with something unique so we’ll have baked brie before we would have hot wings (and the brie is a lot easier to prepare!). I do make my ‘traditional’ chile relleno casserole so I bring the heat but in a different way. I’m not a rabid fan so it’s as much about the company and sharing of food that matter…so we want good food!

  28. Kelly

    Shauna, this post is encouraging. A little over a week ago lab work came back that indicated that my infant son is allergic/sensitive to milk, eggs and wheat. Until we can get in to see an allergist and figure all of this out, we are, as a family, cutting out all three of those ingredients. It is hard. And I can say that at the Superbowl party we attended last night, none of the above was “superbowl food”. I made a “Texas Caviar” dip with black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, etc. that we could eat with corn chips and a gluten, dairy and egg free chocolate cherry cake. Thankfully the host did have chicken & sausage that we were able to eat too but other than that pickings were very slim. Kelly

  29. nika

    As delectable as your spread looks for me it is not a Stupor-bowl without home made guacamole. I know, not at all in season-but so good. Naturally gluten free too!

    We made white chicken chili, pan fried onion dip, salsa and wedge fries. So delish and no one missed the gluten!

  30. Bonnie

    On Sunday, we took the kids to a friends for a Family Superbowl Party. I, too, had no idea who was playing, and have never watched a football game in my life. To be honest, I knit through it all…when I wasn’t drinking margaritas, and feasting on about twenty different food items laid out before me, covering tables and bartops…all of it gluten-free and glorious. On the way home, though, I said to my husband, “that didn’t seem like superbowl food. No nachos and chicken wings and hot cheese and bacon dip”. Sooooooo much better than that crap! I felt bad for the people out there eating processed “party food” while we ate gingered chicken skewers, grilled shrimp and scallops, three salads, smoked salmon, locally made sausages and salamis, gourmet popcorn, homemade salsa and guac with local tortilla chips…and on and on and on…even black licorice and floral gums for my sweet tooth!

  31. gretchen

    firstly, thank you thank you for all of the wisdom and experience you pour onto these blog pages. the ratios, flour descriptions and all-purpose mixes have saved me from lots of confusion and kitchen trial & error. so thanks for “inventing the wheel”, so we don’t have to!
    secondly, the popcorn crust is one of the more creative things i’ve seen lately. i had to suppress an audible “well, i never….”.

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