For those watching the Big Game from home, the party is not complete without an array of food.
And that can include some meatless fare. Specifically, we're looking at creamy white bean hummus, studded with olives and peppers and feta, inside an edible bread "football."
Believe it or not, there will be people watching the game who don't eat bacon. Even the fans who revel in their burgers could use a hefty serving of hummus and whole-grain bread to keep them from going overboard on the chips and wings. You might as well enjoy some tasty food that isn't adding to your cholesterol count.
Just for fun, try out this "football" filled with zesty white bean hummus. Everybody loves hummus, and this version is based on mild, creamy white beans, nutty tahini and lemon. It's laced with fresh rosemary, and sprinkled with tangy olives, sweet red peppers and crumbled feta cheese, for even more appeal. Making the loaf into a football by piping cream cheese "laces" on top provides a presentation that will tempt your guests. Or simply put the dip in a bowl and pile on the colorful garnishes.
For ease of preparation, this recipe calls for canned beans, but you can always cook dried beans, if you prefer. In that case, start with a heaping cup of dried navy beans, then soak them overnight. Drain and cook in plenty of water until tender, then drain and proceed.
Probably the biggest challenge here is finding the appropriate bread to craft into a football. I went with the Seeded Bread from Baker's Field Flour & Bread (available at the Seward and Wedge co-ops, St. Paul Meat Shop, Surdyk's Cheese Shop and the Draft Horse), but you can use any oval, rounded loaf that can be hollowed out to hold about 4 cups of dip. The whole-grain bread has a nice brown color — just like a football but your crowd might like a multigrain boule, too.
Robin Asbell is a cooking instructor and author of "Big Vegan," "The Whole Grain Promise" and "Great Bowls of Food." Find her at robinasbell.com.