Fall is one of our favorite times of year! You get beautiful color changes in the trees, cool weather, great food and of course tailgating at football games.

In our experience, those last two should always go together. There’s nothing worse than a tailgate with bad food, or worse, no food at all! Brats, chicken and ribs are all great places to start, but you also can’t forget about other great football foods and tailgate classics like chili, dip and burgers!

You probably could have guessed, but we always bring beans to the tailgate when we get together to cheer our favorite team (go Vols!) because they provide a slightly healthier approach to sometimes unhealthy foods without giving up any flavor or great taste.

Slow Cooker Kielbasa and Barbecue Baked Beans

Baked beans are notorious for being summer food, but they are always welcome at our tailgate parties! They are the perfect side dish for the classic tailgate food you often see being made. But what’s better than baked beans? Super meaty baked beans!

That’s what we love about this recipe from Mom Timeout. It’s a classic baked bean recipe using all the regulars: onion, barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, syrup, bacon and three kinds of beans (kidney beans, black beans and white beans). But, right before you serve, drop in some sliced-up kielbasa for extra flavor and heartiness. It’s almost a meal all on its own… but don’t fill up just yet.

Mediterranean Gyro Bean Burgers

It isn’t a cookout or tailgate without burgers. And these chickpea burgers from our friend and recipe developer Rachel are super special! Using garbanzo beans instead of black beans, which are typically seen in bean burgers, these have a little extra Mediterranean kick, reminiscent of a classic gyro. Try topping them off with a little homemade tzatziki sauce and in a pita.

These bean burgers are hearty, delicious and easy to make ahead of time. Make them Friday or Saturday night in time for you to toss them on the grill for your Saturday or Sunday tailgate. You can also make it the exact same way with our great northern beans if you can’t find our garbanzo beans.

Hot Black Bean & Corn Dip

A great appetizer is important for a great tailgate or football party, indoors or out. Bean dips are super easy to make and are a great crowd-pleasing appetizer. We especially love this recipe from Macaroni and Cheesecake.

With lots of bubbly cheese, hearty black beans and corn on top of it all for a little sweetness, flavor and crunch, there’s a whole lot to love here. Finish it off with some heat from green chilis or add some peppers of your choice. This is another tailgate recipe that you can make the night before, heat up and head to the stadium in the morning.

White Bean Chicken Chili

Chili is one of the best football foods around. And, when you are tailgating on a cold October, November or December day, nothing will hit the spot quite like it. Classic chili with kidney beans, beef and a tomato base is wonderful, of course, but we’ve got a hankering for something a little bit different: white chicken chili.

White chicken chili uses white beans and chicken (duh) for a slightly thinner yet just as hearty chili. With the addition of oregano, chicken broth and cream there are a lot of new and unique flavors that you won’t find in a bowl of regular chili. Bring it in a crock pot, just don’t forget the plastic bowls and spoons.

Want more recipes for your football party or tailgate? Grab a free copy of our Football Food cookbook below!