Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

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Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings. My mouth is watering, I want to lick my computer screen. So. Damn. Good.

There is an extremely short list of foods I “miss” as a vegetarian.

  1. Buffalo Wings
  2. 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,Β  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.

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There are only six ingredients in this recipe and one them is water, which doesn’t count: soy butter, quinoa flour, garlic powder, hot sauce and cauliflower.

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Ingredients:

  • 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).

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 450Β°F. Chop your cauliflower into bite sized pieces.

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Do a better job than me: pick out a stellar cauliflower. When you’re picking yours out, look for a clean, creamy white, compact head in which the bud clusters aren’t separated. Cauliflower with spots or that are dull-colored should be avoided, along with those in which small flowers appear. Also, heads that are surrounded by lots of thick green leaves are better protected and will be fresher.

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Chop your cauliflower into “wing”-sized pieces. The chopped cauliflower above is the yield of my head of cauliflower.

Step 2: Mix up your batter. Combine flour, water and garlic powder in a medium bowl and whisk together until smooth.

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If you have a bigger head of cauliflower than I did, you may need more batter. If that’s the case, just use a 1:1 ratio of water : flour (and don’t forget to the garlic powder).

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.

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Don’t be afraid to get diiiiitry! Dunk your cauliflower pieces into the batter and make sure they are completely covered in batter on all sides.

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Battered cauliflower before baking. You’ll definitely want to use a non-stick baking sheet, those suckers are hard to get off of aluminum foil without baking spray.

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.

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Battered cauliflower after baking.

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.

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Don’t be a donkey: use tongs to remove your cauliflower from your baking sheet so you don’t burn your fingers. Try to keep the batter on your cauliflower pieces the best you can, that’s what soaks up the hot sauce and give it the buffalo wing-ish feeling.

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Battered cauliflower, covered in hot sauce, before tossing.

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Cauliflower after tossing in sauce. Don’t do it…do NOT eat that cauliflower YET! It will be so much better after baking it a little longer. Trust me, I’m an expert.

Step 6: Place the cauliflower back onto the baking sheet and cook for another 25 minutes or until they are crispy.

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Cauliflower all crisped up after baking and just waiting for you to dig in.

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Mmmmmmm! Add extra hot sauce if you like (I did – I couldn’t resist).

Step 7: Enjoy!! πŸ˜€ 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.

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This was devoured in less than 1 minute flat. SO GOOD!

photo 4 (2)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). πŸ˜‰

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! They are sooooooo freakin’ good!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Go Bills,

L

44 thoughts on “Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

  1. This recipe is awesome!! For the lazy and/or those wanting to make huge party-sized batches (like me): do you think this would also work with frozen cauliflower as long as the florets are rinsed off & not covered in ice crystals? Also, Almond dream plain yogurt + lemon juice + saffron threads + sea salt makes a great slightly-savory dairy-free dip!

    Liked by 1 person

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