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Makes 6 servings: 5 wings each
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Super Bowl gathering where chicken wings were not part of the feast. Though I skip them since I prefer to spend my calories elsewhere. Now here’s a way for us all to partake in their party popping goodness in a veggie friendly way. These wings are made with cauliflower. They’re boneless too, of course. I heard about some folks doing this, but I needed to try it out for myself in my own culinary style. They won’t taste like chicken (since there’s no chicken in them), but they are every bit a spicy hot bite. Definitely worth a try!
Calories saved: 720
1 cup low-fat organic buttermilk
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 pound fresh cauliflower florets (about 30 pieces)
2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter
1 or 2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup hot pepper sauce (try Frank’s RedHot Sauce for a touch of tradition)
1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Vigorously stir together the buttermilk, flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. One at a time, dip the cauliflower pieces into the buttermilk mixture, shaking off excess, and arrange on an unbleached parchment paper-lined large baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes. Flip over each piece and roast until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the hot sauce, broth, and applesauce and cook while stirring until the mixture is hot.
- Add the roasted cauliflower to the Dutch oven, gently toss to fully coat the cauliflower with the sauce, and transfer the wings to a serving platter using tongs.
- Drizzle with desired amount of the residual sauce from the pot and serve immediately. Enjoy as is or alongside celery, carrots, and a small ramekin of blue cheese dressing.
Per serving: 150 calories, 5g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 970mg sodium*, 23g total carbohydrate, 5g dietary fiber, 5g sugars, 5g protein
*Prefer to cut back further on sodium? Use 1/4 teaspoon salt instead of 1/2 teaspoon to result in 870mg sodium per serving. Or skip the salt for a total of 780mg sodium per serving
The “Before” Recipe
buffalo chicken wings
The basic method for preparing this classic recipe is to fry the wings then toss in a generous mixture of hot red pepper sauce and melted butter. That’s it. Simple, yet so crazy caloric!
Per serving: 870 calories, 57g total fat, 17g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 3040mg sodium, 10g total carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 79g protein
(Note: Nutrition analysis based on 1 appetizer serving of Applebee’s Classic Hot Buffalo Chicken Wings)
- When doing a complete swap for chicken, try cauliflower since it has the appearance of little drumsticks. Keeping the visual essence of traditional chicken wings will maintain their party appeal.
- It’s okay to keep the breading; the main calorie overload happens when you fry breaded food, not roast it.
- Don’t feel you need to skip the butter when making wing sauce; but do use less. Then replace the rest with flavorful, better-for-you ingredients like low-sodium vegetable broth and unsweetened applesauce. The hint of sweetness from the applesauce helps to balance the über “heat” of the hot sauce, too.