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The other day, I stumbled upon this recipe, on the PeTA-website of all places. I am less… um… enthusiastic about being a vegetarian than the people at PeTA, but I found the idea of vegetarian buffalo chicken wings very intriguing. And since Hubby does eat meat but won’t turn up his nose at vegetarian alternatives (on the contrary, really), I thought that putting this recipe to the test in a side-by-side tasting would be fun.

I bought a bag of frozen BBQ chicken wings (I know, I know, not even in the general vicinity of gourmet cooking) and a small head of cauliflower. Everything else I already had at home – or so I thought. Turns out I didn’t have any BBQ or hot sauce, so I had to improvise a little bit. Also, I added quite a bit more flavor to the batter to give those cauliflower pieces a bit of a chance against the chicken wings.

So here’s how I made

Cauliflower “Wings”

1 cup milk, soy milk, or water

1 cup flour (any kind you like)

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp herb salt

pepper

1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets

For the buffalo/BBQ/tomato coating:

1 Tbsp olive oil (or melted vegan margarine)

1 cup buffalo or hot sauce

OR

1 1/4 Tbsp tomato purée & 1 1/4 Tbsp bell pepper purée & a little warm water to make 3/4 – 1 cup

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C.
Combine milk, flour, and spices in a bowl and stir until well combined.
Coat the cauliflower pieces with the flour mixture and place in a shallow baking dish. I went all-out heretic and put them on the baking sheet next to the frozen chicken wings.

Bake for 18 minutes.

While the cauliflower is baking, combine your coating ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a fork until smooth.

Pour the mixture over the baked cauliflower, stir it around a bit, and continue baking for an additional 5 to 8 minutes.

I served the Wings with a simple lettuce and tomato salad with blue cheese-dressing (mash up 1/2 cup of blue cheese, stir in 1 tsp garlic powder, some pepper, a little salt, and 2/3 cups greek yogurt).

So… the cauliflower “wings” are tasty and have a nice texture. They are soft with a little crunch, because the cauliflower doesn’t bake to a mush in the 25 minutes in the oven. The taste is mostly determined by the coating you use. I will definitely try them with a hot sauce coating next time.

Hubby thought that those cauliflower bits that had been sitting in a puddle of flour mixture on the baking tray tasted and felt more like chicken wings than the bits that had been sitting more to the side, with less of the batter on them. So don’t go light on the flour mix.

I would not recommend baking these on parchment like I did, because it gets soggy. I’ll bake them in a flat baking dish next time.

And by the way, you don’t have to sell these as “wings”. They’re just as nice simply referred to as “baked cauliflower florets”.

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