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spicy buffalo cauliflower wings

by Jackie Newgent  |  February 1, 2014  |  0 Comments

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

(Click on photo for full-size image!)

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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)


Tasteover Tips

  • 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.

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