Cauliflower Buffalo Wings, replace the drumettes with florets
#100daysofcooking, Recipes

Day 79: Cauli me crazy for meatless wings

Buffalo Cauliflower “Chicken” Wings

It’s the end of March, spring is truly upon us and the attention of men (and women) across Canada has turned to … hockey.

That’s right, folks, the interminably long, 82-game regular season of the NHL is fast and furiously coming to an end, accompanied by all the jostling, juggling and high drama that surrounds the question: How far will the Oilers go, now that they have clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2006?

Apparently, all the team needed was a $600-million new arena to play in. (Oh, and I guess that McDavid guy, too.)

While true hockey fans will be glued to their seats (and lucky you if those seats are inside Rogers Place) for the final half-dozen regular season Oilers games, I’ll be in the kitchen working on Playoff Snacks.

First on the list is these “Fool the Fella into Eating Cauliflower” chicken wings. Which, as you may have guessed by the longish title, aren’t actually chicken wings at all but instead are breaded, baked and Buffalo-sauced nuggets of Brassica goodness.

Cauliflower is the chameleon of the vegetable world, easily passing itself off as mashed potatoes, rice, pizza crust and, of course, cauliflower. Now we add chicken wings to that list, with a debut that is worth making a flap about.

My niece tipped me off to the idea. Hunting down a recipe drove me almost exclusively to vegan cooking websites which I found a bit surprising. Yo, non-veganers, you are missing out on something here. Anyway, I settled on this recipe from food and de-veganed as required.

A tip: These are worth experimenting with before the Big Day so that you can get your spice right. And you really can treat these little guys like wings, so if Buffalo sauce isn’t your thing, you can make barbecue or salt-and-pepper wings.

Kitchen Castoff Used

I’m so over this castoff idea. There are none left in my kitchen.*

* Almost none

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings, replace the drumettes with florets
Cauliflower Buffalo Wings replace the drumettes with florets

This is how we did it


  • ½ head cauliflower, cut down into bite size florets
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 ½ tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ – 2/3 cup hot sauce (Franks, or whatever you use for hot wings. Amount will depend on how many wings you are coating and how saucy you like ’em)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or thoroughly coat it with a cooking oil spray.

Mix the flour, spices, milk and water together in a big mixing bowl (the resulting batter should be thin enough to run off a fork) and then coat the florets with it. I tried a couple of techniques: individual dipping, which left each with what I thought was an overly thick coating, or a mass dunk-and-toss, which I preferred. Regardless of which way you coat, individually place each floret on the baking sheet — don’t dump the whole bowl out or you’ll just have a mess of burnt batter at the end. (Not speaking from experience.)

Bake for 25 minutes. While they are baking, melt the butter and mix it in with the hot sauce. After they have baked, put all the florets into a (clean) bowl, pour the hot sauce over and toss to coat all the florets evenly. Then put them back on the cookie sheet and return to the oven for another 25 minutes or so.

Serve with ranch or other dips.

Curious about my “Kitchen Castoffs” concept? Here’s the explainer describing my 100-day project.

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