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Traditional tailgating recipes with a twist

You may love those traditional tailgating dishes, but by the fourth or fifth game, those classic game day recipes can start to lose their appeal. You don’t have to give your tailgating menu an overhaul — simply give your favorite tailgating recipes a tasty twist.

Black bean salsa

Black Bean Corn Tomato Salsa

Tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and cilantro are expected salsa combinations, so give your tailgating guests the unexpected by stirring in a can of black beans and corn. Great as a dip for chips, this Mexican-style condiment also is a hit as a topping for hot dogs.

Makes 3 to 4 cups


  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lime
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Chipotle Turkey Pumpkin Chili

We give chili a healthy twist by using ground turkey in place of beef, lots of vegetables and pumpkin purée as the base. Chipotle gives this tailgating chili a smokier flavor.

Serves 8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin purée
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chipotle powder
  • 1/2 cup packed finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Toppings: Sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced green onions, avocado slices


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the turkey, onion and peppers and cook, stirring often, until the turkey is browned.
  2. Stir the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in pumpkin and tomatoes and bring them to a simmer.
  3. Stir in the beans and chipotle. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Add chicken broth or water, if chili seems too thick.)
  4. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with your favorite toppings.

Pork Pepper Skewers

Skewers are fun finger food for adults and kids alike. Lean pork gives this easy tailgating recipe a healthy edge.

Serves 8


  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 onions, each halved, cut into bite-sized wedges


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, oregano and oil.
  2. Thread pork, peppers and onions onto skewers and brush generously with the honey mixture.
  3. Heat the grill to medium and oil the grill grate. Grill skewers, brushing with extra glaze occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until pork is cooked through. Serve hot.

And for dessert…

Chocolate bananas

More tailgating tips

How to grill the perfect burger: Tailgate style
Tailgate party themes
Top 10 tailgate must-haves

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