How to make spicy vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Wings. I first made Cauliflower Buffalo Wings when I became a fully-fledged vegan, about 10 years ago. I was never a huge fan of chicken wings anyway; as I child I was always squeamish about gristle and skin and bones and chewy bits of meat, much to chagrin of my grandad, who loved to chow down on ribs and all sorts of other meats. Later on, I did become more adventurous, but never more so then when I started to experiment with meat substitutes, and the never-ending quest to vegify (not a real word) all my childhood favourites.
And I was not the only one. My vegan friend penned me this note after trying my Cauliflower Wings for the first time and I thought you’d all like to read it. It’s a cautionary tale, but we are best not judging Byron for the food choices he made in life, but rather for the joy with which he lived his life. I think we can all empathise with that right now.
“Byron was a co-worker and friend of mine in Denver, where we worked in a hospital together. He was a proper Colorado mountain man, spending any down time he had hunting elk or fishing for trout.
He also loved chicken wings.
My memory may not be entirely accurate, but I’m certain he brought a pack of hot wings from Safeway to work every night. He ate every bit of the wing, savouring the gristle, sinews, and skin, stripping a wing down to white bone in seconds.
Byron also required an angioplasty at 43. When my friend Kathy informed me two years later that he had been found dead, I was shocked and depressed; not surprised, but strangely caught off guard. The thing was, I’d always envied his huge persona and his lust for life and the way everyone who knew him loved and respected him.
I also envied his ability to consume chicken wings. Until he died, that is.
This year, I’ll be the same age he was when he had his angioplasty and while there’s plenty of junk food available for vegans, I’m happy to report that my cholesterol dropped by
35% after changing my diet and I feel healthier now than I did at 33. I only wish that I’d been able to help Byron make changes in his life before his lifestyle caught up with him. I would’ve shared these “wings” with him and can’t help thinking that he’d be happy with them and the fact that there’s nothing left on the plate but crumbs at the end.”
You can get Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Wings from your favourite fast food establishments too these day, Papa Johns do a passable version, and it is great that they are catering to those of us with more plant-based tastes, but these homemade ones really are delicious, and you can use your own favourite hot sauce! I like to use a mixture of Tabasco, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and Sweet Chilli Sauce, but you can make these as spicy or as gentle as you like.
For the Batter
- 1 Cauliflower cut into wing-sized florets of equal size
- 130 g Plain Flour you can substitute with Gluten Free flour
- 2 tbsp Tapioca or Cornflour Starch
- 240 ml Dairy-Free Milk (unsweetened)
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 120 ml Hot Sauce (I used Sriracha)
- 1 tbsp Melted Vegan Butter/Spread
- 60 ml Sweet Chilli Sauce
- 60 ml Hot Sauce of your choice (I like Frank's Red Hot) You can just use all Hot Sauce or all Sweet Chilli if you'd prefer
- 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
Blue Cheeze Dip
- 115 g Vegan Mayo (garlic flavoured if available)
- 60 g Vegan Sour Cream (or plain yogurt)
- 100 g Vegan Blue Cheeze, grated
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 200c.
- Lightly oil a large baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, milk, tapioca starch (or cornflour), paprika, cayenne pepper, sesame seeds, sriracha and black pepper to form a smooth batter. It should be thick enough to coat the florets evenly.
- Drop the cauliflower florets into the batter and coat throughly.
- Arrange the coated florets on the baking sheet so that they aren't touching.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then turn over.
- Bake for another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the glaze ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Remove the Buffalo Wings from the oven and coat throughly in the glaze.
- Return to oven for 10 more minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to stand for about 10 minutes before serving with the dip! Sprinkle with a little chopped chilli or spring onion.
- To make the blue sauce, blend all the ingredients together in a food processor or whisk it with a fork in a bowl, testing for seasoning. You may or may not need to salt the dip, depending on how salty your cheeze/mayo is.
- Serve with some celery, cucumber, radish for extra dipping.