Craving the savory goodness of chicken wings but without the meat? Cauliflower may be the answer. Cauliflower wings are not only a delicious replacement for getting your chicken wing fix, but they’re also naturally gluten-free and vegan, too. We talked with Buffalo Wings & Rings Expert Chef Dan about the best practices for making vegan chicken wings at home.
If the thought of cauliflower makes you scrunch up your nose, it may be because they weren’t cooked quite right, Chef Dan said. Many people’s earliest memories of the veggie (and perhaps secretly sneaking it under the table to the dog) is because it was commonly boiled or steamed rather than roasted.
While boiled cauliflower lacks flavor and vibrancy, roasted cauliflower has versatility. Chef Dan says roasting the vegetable actually pulls out the natural sugars for a sweeter flavor that pairs well with many sauces. Here’s how to roast vegan cauliflower wings that you’ll wonder why you didn’t make sooner:
Cauliflower Wings Recipe
- Cauliflower florets
- Vegetable or olive oil
- Your favorite wing sauce or dry rub seasoning such as Cajun or lemon pepper
- Bleu cheese or ranch for dipping
- ¼ cup of flour
- 1 teaspoon of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of onion
- ¾ a teaspoon of sea salt
- ½ a cup of non-dairy milk
- ¾ a cup of water
- Bowl of bread crumbs
Roast & Toast (but not too long)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a sheet pan.
- Cut your cauliflower floret into one-inch pieces. The more uniform they are in size, the better. One of the biggest mistakes first-time makers of vegan cauliflower wings is cutting the pieces too large, Chef Dan says.
- Let the bites bake for 20-25 minutes or until they’ve just started to turn a light golden brown. The wings will continue cooking a few minutes after you take them out of the oven, so watch them carefully. Overcooking is another common mistake, Chef Dan says, because they’ll fall apart.
As an optional addition for added crispiness, you can make a “breading” by combining the flour, garlic, onion, sea salt, non-dairy milk and water and coating the wings in it before tossing it in a bowl of bread crumbs and baking.
“Roasting cauliflower brings out the natural sugars. It turns it into something you crave. Cauliflower is similar to brussel sprouts — not very good boiled, but roasting really brings out the sugars, turning them into vegetable candy.” - Chef Dan
Spice ‘em up
And of course comes the best part — the sauce. Turn them into five-star vegan buffalo wings by brushing them in your favorite spicy sauce. Or, choose another savory retail sauce, like barbecue or honey garlic.
Dry seasonings will keep vegan cauliflower wings flavorful while preventing them from getting soggy. Cajun seasoning and lemon pepper are all great options to sprinkle on top of your faux wings. Pair it with bleu cheese dip for an added bite.
Don’t stop at wings
Cauliflower can be used for far more than just vegan chicken wings — Chef Dan says once you cook them and cool them down, they can easily be reheated for hot dishes later. The roasted pieces are good for two or three days after you make them.
After adding the seasoning of your choice, you can use it as a meat substitute for many different dishes. Try it as chicken on buffalo chicken nachos, add it to a veggie stir fry or make some cashew chicken (hold the chicken, of course).
Tired of cooking? Want your cauliflower wings as crispy & deep fried as possible (and even delivered to your door)? Buffalo Wings & Rings has their own cauliflower wings on the menu. Order today.