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21 September 2021

Cauliflower Wings Are an Easy, Tasty, and Vegan-Friendly Alternative

There’s no escaping it — cauliflower everything is all the rage. And, while there are a few cauliflower’ed items we just can’t get behind (“mashed” cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes? Questionable.) We do have an undying love for Cauliflower Wings.

Why? Well, for starters, they cook up and taste just as amazing as our traditional wings and are delicious when topped in one of our signature sauces. If you’re looking for a vegetarian substitution for chicken wings, our Veggie Wings (crispy cauliflower fried up and ready to get saucy), are the perfect nosh for non-meat eaters.

Even Buffalo Wings & Rings’ very own omnivore, Chef Dan, prefers to order cauliflower wings from time to time. “Whether you’re a vegetarian or vegan or observe meatless Monday, vegan cauliflower wings are a great, non-protein option,” he says. “They are delicious as an appetizer or for your main meal [and] If you are ordering wings for a large group of people it’s always good to include a couple orders of cauliflower wings.”

Have we piqued your interest in pursuing making your own delicious cauliflower bites at home? Awesome! We experimented ourselves in our test kitchens and found the perfect recipes for making your own baked cauliflower wings, fried cauliflower wings, and air fried cauliflower wings. Try them and tell us if we made you a cauliflower convert!

DIY Baked Cauliflower Wings

If you don’t want to fry cauliflower wings or don’t have an air fryer, then the simplest, tastiest recipe calls for baking cauliflower wings at home.

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Ingredients:

  • ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsps garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¾ cup milk (or use a plain milk alternative)
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • BW&R sauces (we used Buffalo Hot, Teriyaki, and Garlic Parmesan)

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk. Then add in the milk or milk alternative and stir or whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Break the head of cauliflower into florets, about 1½-2 inches wide. Add the cauliflower to the batter, turning with a fork or tongs to coat each piece.
  • Arrange the coated cauliflower on the baking sheet, allowing excess batter to drip off in the bowl first.
  • Put in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet, flip the cauliflower bites over and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven again and brush the Buffalo sauce on the cauliflower and bake for another 20 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Fried Cauliflower Wings

Want to achieve that traditional fried cauliflower wing texture at home? It’s easier than you think!

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Ingredients:

  • ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsps garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 qts of vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • BW&R sauces

Instructions:

  • Add the oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Let the oil heat to 325 degrees.
  • While the oil heats up, break the cauliflower into 1½-2 inch-wide pieces.
  • Add the 4 egg whites to a bowl, whisk, and add the cauliflower florets.
  • In another large bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk.
  • Now put the egg-washed florets into the batter and then into an air-tight bag or bowl and put in the fridge while you get the oil up to temperature.
  • When the oil is at 325 degrees, remove the cauliflower from the fridge and gently place the florets into the oil one at a time using tongs. Do not crowd the pot. Make in batches if necessary.
  • Fry for about 6-8 minutes or until the crust turns a golden brown. Remove the cauliflower using a metal frying basket and place it on some paper towels to drain.
  • When all the cauliflower is fried, pour over or dip them into your favorite sauce.
  • Enjoy!

Air Fried Cauliflower Wings

For a healthy way to achieve that “fried” flavor without the oil, try cooking up a batch of air fried cauliflower wings.

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Ingredients:

  • ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsps garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¾ cup milk (or use a plain milk alternative)
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • BW&R sauces

Instructions:

  • Air fry cauliflower wings at 350 degrees (follow the instructions for your specific air fryer to set temperature).
  • In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk. Then add in the milk or milk alternative, and stir or whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Break the head of cauliflower into florets, about 1½-2 inches wide. Add the cauliflower florets to the batter, turning with a fork or tongs to coat each piece.
  • Spray the bottom tray of your air fryer with cooking spray and add battered cauliflower pieces.
  • Put in the air fryer to bake for 12 minutes, turning or shaking the tray halfway through.
  • Remove from the air fryer and add your favorite sauce.
  • Enjoy!

Expert Tips

  • When making fried cauliflower wings, a good rule is to only let the oil fill the pot halfway for safety reasons.
  • Chef Dan suggests not to cut the pieces too large so that the batter coating won’t burn before they are done.
  • If you’d like to enjoy your vegetarian wings with some other vegetarian or vegan sides, consider also ordering steamed broccoli, potato wedges, fries, or a side salad.
  • A great use for leftover cauliflower wings is to sprinkle them on top of salad the next day. “If you have any leftover cauliflower wings, chill them down (with or without sauce) and save them to use as a topping for salads,” Chef Dan said. “Crumble them up like you would feta cheese.”

Ready to tackle this vegetarian substitute for chicken wings? Or, if you’d rather us do the work for you, call head for pickup to your nearest Buffalo Wings & Rings or come dine with us today!