There is an extremely short list of foods I “miss” as a vegetarian.
- Buffalo Wings
- Italian Deli Meats (pepperoni, salami, capicola)
There really is no replacement for the deli meats, but that’s okay – I have to Let It Goooo (now you’ll have that Frozen song stuck in your head for the rest of the day – you’re welcome). Buffalo “wings”, however, as a Western New Yorker, I refuse to let go of. Nope – ain’t happenin’. First there were the MorningStar Farms Buffalo Wings that made me want to cry tears of joy when I first saw them in Wegmans when I was in high school – they are good, but not “saucy” enough (and the texture left something to be desired). Then there were the Vegetarian Buffalo Wings (consisting of steak-cut fries tossed in delicious, spicy, sting-your-eyes Buffalo sauce) in a restaurant in a very small town in WNY that is home to a SUNY school (the restaurant sadly closed before I was ever enrolled – but my mom remembers the epic level of veggie buffalo wings that occurred!). THEN, there were some sad failures sprinkled in between- UNTIL I stumbled upon Highland Kitchen in Somerville, MA. They have Buffalo Fried Brussel Sprouts that are f*cking amazing. Seriously. So. Effing. Good. One year, I went there for my birthday, in the steamy heat of July, and requested two orders and ate them without sharing (um, hello, it’s my birthday) because that is all I wanted. They are THAT GOOD.
Last night I was really jonesing for my fingers to be smeared in Buffalo sauce (hey, it’s football season after all). In my possession, I had a head of cauliflower and the largest bottle of Frank’s money can buy (that would be Frank’s Red Hot sauce – but we are on a first name basis). And I thought, I am going to figure out how to make some bangin’ Buffalo wing-esque creation, without a deep fryer. Here’s how it all went down.
Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into “wing” sized pieces
- 3/4 cup quinoa flour*
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of melted soy butter
- 2/3 cup hot sauce (use Frank’s)
*A note on quinoa flour: if you have something else, use it. I recommend chickpea flour but I couldn’t find any at my grocery store. Don’t go out of your way to buy quinoa flour, there are plenty of other gluten free flours out there and quinoa flour is wicked expensive ($10.99 for 1 pound…yeah).
Step 1: Preheat oven to 450°F. Chop your cauliflower into bite sized pieces.
Step 2: Mix up your batter. Combine flour, water and garlic powder in a medium bowl and whisk together until smooth.
Step 3: Batter your cauliflower “wings”. Dunk your cauliflower pieces in the batter, making sure to coat each piece completely. Place the wings on a lightly greased, non-stick baking sheet.
Step 4: Bake your cauliflower wings for 15 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Meanwhile, combine your melted butter and hot sauce in a small bowl.
Step 5: Remove your cauliflower from the oven and gently place into a large bowl. Pour the hot sauce mixture over your cauliflower and give it a toss to coat all of the cauliflower.
Step 6: Place the cauliflower back onto the baking sheet and cook for another 25 minutes or until they are crispy.
Step 7: Enjoy!! 😀 I whipped up a little dipping sauce from Greek yogurt (1/4 cup), lemon (1/4 of a lemon, juiced) and chives (1 teaspoon, chopped) as a healthy alternative to ranch/blue cheese dressing. If you’re vegan, you can replace the Greek yogurt with plain soy yogurt or Tofutti Sour Cream.
These cauliflower wings are soooooooooooooooo legit (I mean, they were even made by a born-and-raised Western New Yorker). The best part is, they are vegan AND gluten free (and paleo too, I guess). You can “tune” them to your personal spiciness preference based on what buffalo sauce you use, I know that Frank’s makes a buffalo wing sauce that is spicier than regular Frank’s RedHot if you’re really going for it. They are seriously so SO delicious, and that’s coming from a girl who orders buffalo sauce on the side every time she is served french fries for dipping. Yum. They are super easy, and no frying is involved (so, much healthier than other variations of vegetarian buffalo wings). They are a great addition to your Sunday football routine, for a party, or just for a side (or your main entree, as was the case for me last night). 😉
I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! They are sooooooo freakin’ good!! 😀 😀