In honor of Super Bowl Sunday I’ve been searching for a mind-blowing, Super Bowl worthy, totally healthy snack for you to bring and enjoy in front of your TV of choice. Much of my energy and time (while procrastinating on the work I was supposed to be doing of course) was focused on creating the perfect version of Buffalo cauliflower “wings,” the faux meat snack of the moment. I tried making my cauliflower with Sriracha and with maple sweetened hot sauce. I tossed it in coconut oil before roasting, in butter-spiked sauce after roasting, tried it in batters of rice flour, corn flour and wheat flour and in no batter at all.
In the end I came up with some decent versions that I would happily eat. But I get that I have weird tastes. Just because I like something does not mean it’s good enough for prime time. For most people, any of my aforementioned creations would have ended up as a sad extra on a table of Super Bowl snack stars.
So what’s a girl with no Buffalo cauliflower to do? Why, break out the coconut of course. In a Hail Mary play of snack creation, I turned to toasted coconut flakes, the bacon of the Vegan world. Toasted coconut flakes are ridiculously good as is, and even better with a sprinkle of sugar and salt as they bake. This version, however—extracted from an overly fussy recipe for stuffed sweet potatoes, and made on a happy whim—elevates them to Super Bowl worthy heights.
But don’t trust me on that. Trust the teenage boys who ate these flakes of sweet, savory deliciousness by the handful even before they figured out how good they’d be on ice cream. (Ahem, they’re awesome on salads, stir fries, soups, rice, etc as well.)
Of course, man and woman cannot live on coconut alone, so scroll down and check out our list of favorite Super Bowl worthy Bring It! fare. And may the best team win, especially if they’re the Patriots.
Hail Mary Coconut
1 3/4 cups large, unsweetened coconut flakes
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. (you can go without parchment, but the coconut may brown faster on a dark pan and you’ll have a little cleanup.)
Toss the coconut in a large mixing bowl with the maple syrup, soy sauce, black pepper, Worcestershire and sesame oil until evenly coated.
Spread in a single layer (make sure you use the coating) on the baking sheet. *Bake for 10 minutes; stir it around and spread it back out on the baking sheet; bake for 5 minutes, until the coconut has browned.
*Set a timer and check on it. Burnt coconut is so sad!
Let it cool, during which time the coconut will crisp up and get all bacon-y. If you’re not going to use it right away, transfer the cooled coconut to an airtight container.
Here’s another version, a riff on the recipe on the back of Bob’s Red Mill coconut. Ironically, Bob’s coconut isn’t that great for this. Let’s Do Organic is way bigger and better. The takeaway here is letting the seasoning soak into coconut for 10 minutes. That and the use of apple cider vinegar which makes it even Vermonty-er.
- 3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (the bigger the better.)
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 2 Tsp Maple Syrup
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional, but a nice touch)
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, a silicon pad or spray with pan spray.
Whisk together soy sauce, molasses, liquid smoke, olive oil and vinegar. Add Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flakes and mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes so the coconut absorbs all the liquid.
Spread coconut in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake at 325°F until deeply toasted, about 15 – 20 minutes. Stir often! (About every 3 – 5 minutes.)
Let “bacon” bits cool completely then store in an airtight container. They can easily be re-crisped in a low oven for 5 minutes.