Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

IMG_8106 It’s no secret that I’ve been a fan of cauliflower for a long time, but I still find myself surprised at how many different ways I can enjoy it. More recently, cauliflower has become the poster child for paleo and carb-free diets. Its mild flavor, coloring and crunchy consistency has allowed cauliflower to be a satisfying substitute for major sources of carbohydrate in our daily diets. Cauliflower also does a smashing job as an entree for vegetarians and vegans. And did you know that cauliflower is high in Vitamin C, dietary fiber, and folate? It truly is a super vegetable!

IMG_8079 The basic preparation for cauliflower usually includes steaming or boiling, but trust me when I say that there is no more satisfying way of eating cauliflower than roasted cauliflower. The cauliflower head takes on a golden-brown color as the aroma fills your kitchen; by the time you take the cauliflower out of the oven, your mouth will be watering for those crunchy florets. Most of the time, I’m satisfied with the standard flavors included in roasting vegetables–salt, cracked pepper and olive oil. But in this particular case… you can’t go wrong with buffalo sauce, right?

IMG_8080 I found this recipe last week and my curiosity was piqued; so much so that I went out and bought cauliflower that same day for a trial run. And after making it three times in less than a week (!!), I’m not only sure I’ve improved on the recipe… I know for a fact that we’ll be coming back to this recipe time and time again. James and I are not vegetarians–far from it, really–but the ease of preparation compared to actual chicken wings can’t be denied. I love wings, but sometimes I love being lazy just a little bit more.

IMG_8090 The key to this recipe is in the preparation of the cauliflower. Roasting the entire cauliflower head instead of cutting it into florets first allows the individual stems to stay crunchy while still imparting that charred, roasted flavor. Pan-frying the cut florets in a little bit of olive oil crisps the edges and changes up the consistency of each bite. Throwing sauce onto vegetables is easy, but making sure the vegetables taste outstanding before the sauce comes into the picture is the key to making a truly successful vegetable dish.

If you prefer your buffalo sauce mild instead of medium regarding heat, reduce the sriracha amount. I’d say that this mixture creates a medium heat. And if all else fails–bleu cheese or ranch dressing will go a long way in taming the spiciness levels. We either eat this as an appetizer or as a main dish with other vegetable sides. And something tells me that this will come in handy for Fridays during this Lenten season…

Recipe adapted from Leite’s Culinaria.

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Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Recipe type: entree

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • ½ c. or 4 oz. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (regular or Buffalo flavor)
  • ¼ c. sriracha (or less, depending on how much heat you prefer)
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Rinse the cauliflower and remove the woody stem and leaves at the base.
  3. Drizzle olive oil onto the cauliflower and rub all over the surface. Make sure to spread the olive oil on the underside of the cauliflower as well.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the cauliflower head on all sides.
  5. Place the cauliflower onto the baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
  7. While the cauliflower is cooling, combine the hot sauce, sriracha and butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until the butter has melted into the sauce, then cook on low heat until the sauce starts to simmer. Remove from heat.
  8. Separate the cauliflower into large florets (‘chicken-wing’ sized florets).
  9. Place 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cauliflower florets and allow the florets to pan-fry for 5 minutes without stirring.
  10. Pour the hot sauce into the skillet with the cauliflower–the sauce will sizzle and thicken. Stir gently to coat the cauliflower in buffalo sauce.
  11. When the cauliflower is fully coated and the sauce has reduced slightly, turn off the heat and plate the cauliflower. It’s best served hot, but still tastes fine when cool–just like chicken wings! Tastes great with bleu cheese or ranch dressing.
  12. Buffalo Cauliflower will keep in the fridge for up to a week, but it’s best when eaten same-day.

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Comments: 12

  1. rowanvamp0 March 7, 2014 at 11:11 pm Reply

    These sound delicious can’t wait to try this out.

  2. Tracie March 21, 2014 at 2:25 am Reply

    The URL is not working. Please repost!!!

    • admin March 21, 2014 at 9:58 am Reply

      Hi Tracie,

      I am able to see the page from my mobile and laptop, which link are you having problems with? Thanks for the heads-up!

  3. Jessica October 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm Reply

    These look delicious! The link that is not working is the link back to the original recipe from Leite’s Culinaria.

    • admin October 29, 2014 at 5:14 pm Reply

      Jessica,

      Sorry for the late reply! Thanks for the heads-up–I’ll work on fixing that right away.

  4. Simple staples | From Ramen to Romaine October 30, 2014 at 8:54 pm Reply

    […] Quite possibly my favorite way to spice up a simple recipe (yes, I went there), health foods included. Buffalo, Tobasco, sriracha, Cholula, there are so many options to chose from based on your personal preference. I’m a die-hard supporter of Frank’s extra hot buffalo wing sauce and fully believe that adding it to ANY food (pasta, hummus and carrots all included) instantly makes it 1,000 times better. Try this easy recipe I pinned from the blog Umami Holiday for buffalo cauliflower. […]

  5. […] hot wings, we’ve found a great alternative, cauliflower buffalo bites. And the recipe over at Umami Holiday is jus the right amount of […]

  6. Brian Jones May 21, 2015 at 12:57 am Reply

    Cauliflower is a current favourite of mine too, I can’t seem to get enough of it… I’ve not really thought of taking the flavour in that direction though, I usually go Indian or South East Asian, I’ll have to get creative and do some searching on the sauces though as I’ll be unable to get them out here in Rural Hungary.

    I do have a fairly good sriracha sauce replacement but could you give me some indication of what Frank’s Red Hot Sauce is or the sort of flavour profiles it has?

    Thanks :)

    • Kaylee July 17, 2015 at 9:49 am Reply

      Brian, Franks Hot Sauce has mixed spices, vinegar, garlic and cayenne peppers in it! I use it to make chicken bites all the time, I am trying this recipe now! Sriracha sauce has more heat to it than Franks!! (At least to me anyway!) 😀 hope that helps you some 😀 Here is their website so you can get more info on it! https://www.franksredhot.com/

  7. Kristen July 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm Reply

    I made this the other night and while it still tasted good my cauliflower burned before it got even close to crispy. Are they supposed to be soft?

    • admin July 10, 2015 at 11:57 am Reply

      Hi Kristen,

      When I bake the head of cauliflower in the oven, it softens it enough so that it’s not raw but still has some bite to it… and when I pan-fry it, it chars the edges a bit to give the cauliflower some extra flavor. So it’s not crispy, but it’s still firm enough to have a crunch to it. Did the cauliflower burn in the oven or while on the stove? If in the oven, just bake it for less time; if on the stove, then reduce the heat while pan-frying. I hope this helps–let me know if it doesn’t and I’d be happy to answer more questions :)

      • Kristen July 10, 2015 at 1:15 pm Reply

        Yah I burnt them in the skillet trying to get them crispy and not so soggy after I put the sauce on them

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