by Tia Butts

Napa Valley Register

One thing everybody loves about a Super Bowl party is the snacks. Whether you’re a football fan or just like to socialize, you’re probably looking forward to those game—day goodies.

Although you may have gotten the new year off to a healthier start, this all-American weekend celebration can tempt you to overindulge. With help from the Napa Farmers Market, I have a few suggestions to put a healthier twist on some of your favorite football-watching snacks, plus some delicious alternatives that you can enjoy guilt-free. You’ll find most or all of the ingredients at the Saturday farmers market.

— Chips and Dip —- Don’t panic, it’s organic. At least when it’s from The Hummus Guy. A thick, creamy spread made from chickpeas, hummus is a healthy snack that is perfect for sharing with friends and family with homemade pita chips or fresh veggies. Another idea: Purchase fresh kale from any of the market’s produce vendors and turn it into delicious, crunchy kale chips. It’s easy to find recipes for kale chips online.

— Gluten-Free Pakoras and Chutney – Roti is a family-owned business bringing creative and delicious Pakistani foods to our market. For those gluten-free football fans, I suggest the gluten-free pakora topped with various gluten-free dips or chutneys, and gluten-free snack treats made with moong dal, a vegetarian superfood.

— Deviled Eggs—Farmer Joy’s eggs are collected from her pasture-raised ducks and chickens. Imagine what delicious deviled eggs you can make. Just replace the mayo with Greek yogurt, hummus or guacamole.

— Cauliflower Breadsticks – Skip the mozzarella sticks and opt for cauliflower. There are lots of easy recipes out there for crispy, cheesy cauliflower breadsticks. Dip them in marinara sauce and I don’t think you’ll tell the difference.

— Portobello Pizzas – Far West Fungi has some beautiful portobello mushrooms. Turn them into individual pizzas by filling them with tomato sauce and the cheese of your choice, then baking for 10 minutes. Or stuff some smaller mushrooms with spinach and cheese for a delicious bite.

— Fresh fruit, nuts and dried fruit – I can’t think of easier finger foods. No preparation required. The market is overflowing with super-sweet mandarin oranges, apples and grapes. One popular vendor, Nature’s Candy Company, offers an array of almonds (sweet, spicy and savory), as well as dried fruits such as apricots.

The possibilities for healthy snacks from the farmers market are endless. What about sweet potato skins, chicken lettuce wraps or Sonoma Mountain beef sliders? Or check out some of the market’s other prepared-food vendors for the ultimate in party-planning ease. Cocina Milonga empanadas, Freshway Fish poke, Bentley’s Napa Valley meat pies or Mi Fiesta tamales and salsa could make your Super Bowl party the tastiest one ever.

Buffalo chicken skewers are another great idea for game day. A4 Farms offers delicious whole pasture-raised chickens weekly at the Napa Farmers Market .

May the best team win!

Kids Activities at the Napa Farmers Market: Bring your youngsters to the market’s Education Station on Saturday, Feb. 2, for Story Time at 10:30 a.m.

On the KVYN Music Stage: Scott Pullman will perform at the Napa Farmers Market on Saturday, February 2.

Buffalo Chicken Skewers

You can use breast meat or wings instead of thighs, if you prefer, although you may have to adjust the cooking time. This recipe is from “Rachael Ray Every Day.”

Serves 4.

1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons finely crumbled Gorgonzola

2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup canned chickpeas or great northern beans, rinsed

1/4 cup hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 large cloves garlic

3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (4 ounces each), each cut lengthwise into 4 pieces

8 celery sticks

In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, blue cheese, 2 teaspoons vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

In a blender, puree the chickpeas, hot sauce, butter, garlic, the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Divide between two small bowls.

Heat a foil-lined grill or grill pan over medium-high. Thread each chicken piece onto a 6- to 8-inch skewer. (If using wooden skewers, soak 30 minutes before grilling.) Using one bowlful of the glaze, brush the chicken all over Grill, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Using a clean brush, coat the chicken with the remaining glaze. Serve with the celery sticks and dip.

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Tia Butts is the founder and owner of Tia Butts|pr and is on the board of the Napa Farmers Market.