No matter how much time passes since the moment I made the declaration that "WFPB is for me, for life!" it seems that certain foods, (foods that filled the plates of the old me), still carry some allure. One of those foods are most definitely, hot wings. I’m not sure why, really. I don’t miss chicken – or any meat at all, so that’s not it. Maybe growing up in upstate New York just taught me that Buffalo wings are a staple party food so the nostalgia element is strong.
Of course, I never miss them so much I would actually consume them again, but something about that hot sauce flavor, coupled with the crunch of the carrots on the side, and cooled by the deep creaminess of ranch dressing causes me to miss it enough to keep trying to replicate that experience!
I've tried what seems like dozens of different versions of this recipe from a ton of different sources. And, by trying, I mean, making, tasting and immediately dumping all of those poor heads of cauliflower into the compost bin!
The first problem I have is that for some reason, many wfpb recipes call for cumin. I don't have anything against cumin, heck, I even like it in the right dish. But what is it about people converting to a plant-based diet that begs the need for everything to taste like a taco?! When, in life would you put cumin on hot wings? If you're me, the answer to that is never, so, in order for me to enjoy my wingless wing experience, I need them to taste like hot wings. Other problems include too many herbs and spices, (again, I don't want my wings tasting like rosemary or anything else!) recipes calling for oil or vegan butter, and the fact that none I found called for whole wheat flour. I know the only way I would be able to enjoy this treat was to make it fully compliant, which means, whole-food, plant based and no oil. And after several tries, I almost cried when I tasted these little gems. My family devoured them, and I was lucky to get this picture!
For the dip, I used this recipe from the Minimalist Baker, and it is absolutely amazing.
1 head cauliflower
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2-2 cups almond or soy milk (unsweetened)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 bottle hot sauce of your choosing (I used Franks Red Hot, but I bet this would be good with barbecue sauce or any other flavor you like your wings!)
Pre-heat oven to 450*
Cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces.
Whisk together all ingredients except hot sauce. Consistency should be thick enough that it's not dripping, but thin enough that it will go through a colander.
Add cauliflower pieces to the mixture and mix until the cauliflower is evenly coated.
(At this point, you can put the cauliflower in a colander to drain excess batter.)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place cauliflower pieces so that they are not touching.
Bake for 15 minutes or until they begin to look golden brown.
Remove cauliflower from oven and put into a large bowl; add hot sauce and evenly coat the pieces.
Using tongs, put cauliflower back onto the parchment paper and put them back in the oven for 20 minutes, or until crispy.