Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cauliflower Wings

I’ll admit it: for some time now, I’ve been very intrigued by recipes that suggest that by a clever combination of breading, baking, and BBQ sauce application, cauliflower florets can be substituted for chicken wings.  I haven’t actually believed it, but I wanted to try it.

I have looked at dozens of recipes for this, and ultimately, I invented my own.  Plus I have a secret weapon: Akabanga sauce from Rwanda.

I bought several small bottles of this sauce when I was in Rwanda in the summer of 2014.  I don’t use it as often as I should.

This beautiful head of cauliflower was my inspiration!


I large head of cauliflower
2 cups of the flour of your choice - regular flower, whole wheat flour, gluten-free - it’s up  to you!
2 cups of soy milk or the non-dairly milk of your choice
a pinch of salt
black pepper - as much or as little as you like
2 cups of your favourite vegan BBQ sauce
1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
2 tablespoons of canola oil
your favourite hot sauce, if you are looking for hot wings - if you don’t like hot wings, you can omit the hot sauce


You will need to pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees

Cut up the head of cauliflower into florets.  Don’t make the florets too small.

Combine the flour, the soy milk (or other non-dairy milk) the salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.

Coat the cauliflower florets in this mixture and place them in an oven-proof pan.  I used a 9 x 13 inch pan and a 5 x 9 inch pan.  My cauliflower was so big I could not fit all the florets in one pan.

You can coat the florets by dipping them one by one in the flour mixture if you like, but I dumped all of the florets into the bowl and gently stirred with a wooden spoon, and then I used the spoon to lift the florets out of the bowl and into the ovenproof pans.

Put your pans in the oven and set the timer for 22 minutes.

While the cauliflower is baking, you can make your sauce.  Combine the BBQ sauce, the apple sauce, the canola oil and about two drops of hot sauce.  Stir until they are will combined.  I used a 4 Cup size measuring cup to do this so that it would be easier to pour the sauce onto the florets.

When the timer goes off, carefully remove your pans from the oven and place them onto  robust hot pads or trivets.

Pour the BBQ sauce mixture over the florets as evenly as possible.  The pans will be very hot and almost immediately you will begin to notice the aroma of carmelizing BBQ sauce.

Put your pans back into the oven for another 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve the florets more or less immediately.  They would go very nicely with a good vegan potato salad or with vegan ranch dressing.   I liked them plain, actually, and  I can  absolutely see them becoming a backyard dinner staple.

The question remains, however, do they taste like chicken wings?  The answer is no, they do not.  And I’m happy that they do not.

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