If you’re looking to rustle up a batch of hot wings AND keep it healthy, look no further than the vegetable aisle of your supermarket. After some experimenting to get just the right texture and flavor, these Cauliflower Buffalo Wings are sure to be a fan favorite when guests gather ‘round to watch the football game.
These hot wings – well, actually stalks — pack the same spicy wallop as deep-fried meaty wings without all the extra calories and fat. They also get double thumbs up from the vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy free crowd.
(This article contains affiliate product links. Purchases made through these links provide small commissions and enable us to keep offering high-quality, free content.)
Let’s Get Started
I’ve always been a fan of hot wings, but always limited my consumption of said wings to restaurants and bar food encounters. The fat in a traditional deep-fried chicken wing is beyond comprehension. If you agree, then your first step is to harvest a beautiful head of cauliflower – organic preferred – from the local market.
Chop off the big stalk at the bottom and separate each floret into a wing-sized piece resembling a chicken drumstick. Quick tip: Use a paper towel or kitchen cloth and dry the cauliflower before chopping. This will ensure the batter will stick nicely to each floret.
The balance of the ingredients are so darned simple that you may very well have them on hand already. The only extra item I had to pick up was Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce. This is the ONE ingredient that will make or break that truly intense, spicy hot wing sauce.
Variety is the Spice of Life
These wings are SPICY! If you prefer a milder wing sauce or even a barbecue sauce, by all means make adjustments. For buffalo sauce, decrease the amount of Frank’s sauce by half (or more for even milder wings) and whisk in your favorite Ranch-style salad dressing.
I’m also a big fan of barbecue-flavored wings and will often divide a batch of cauliflower wings, coating some in hot sauce, some in a milder version of Buffalo sauce, and some in my favorite bottled barbecue sauce. That way, if I am serving these appetizers to friends, I’ll have all palates covered.
Cauliflower Buffalo Wings
These wings are a super easy and tasty alternative to the traditional deep-fried versions — less fat, less fuss, vegan and vegetarian safe. Enjoy!
Hot and spicy, this healthy version of the traditional party favorite is winner!
- 1 medium head cauliflower (approx. 24 pieces)
- 1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (or wheat-based flour)
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. (each) salt & pepper
- 1 cup gluten-free or standard bread crumbs
- 2/3 cup Frank's Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
- 2 tbsp. Earth Balance butter (or dairy based butter)
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 4 tbsp. organic maple syrup
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray parchment lightly with olive oil.
Wash, dry and chop cauliflower into wing-sized florets.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, almond milk and spices.
Place breadcrumbs into a separate bowl next to the batter.
Add cauliflower florets a few at a time to the batter and coat thoroughly.
Coat each with breadcrumbs and line in rows on the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the florets begin to brown, turning halfway through.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together sauce ingredients and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Remove wings from oven and using tongs dip/coat each with sauce. Return them to the baking sheet and pop into the oven for another 5-7 minutes.
Remove from oven and serve immediately with a vegan or standard Ranch-style dressing and stalks of celery or your choice of greens.