*This week’s food post is a guest post by a blog supporter and now contributor, MItali! Read to learn about Mitali and her love of sauces!
I can’t remember when exactly in my youth I became an Eagles fan. What I do know is that the decision to commit to bleeding green every day was likely 80% related to the appeal of binge eating and talking trash on Sundays. I’m proud to say that after 6+ years as a proper Philadelphian, 4 years sitting next to SSFS founder, Dr. Herman (and the BWest big head – miss you, boo), and a GOAT Super Bowl, that statistic has reduced to a respectable 20%. For those of you thinking that number seems high, I ask you this question: if you don’t love talking trash in between mouthfuls of Yuengling and cheesesteak, are you even a Philly sports fan?! While admittedly, Philly sports fans have the reputation of taking trash talk to the next level, even when it’s about our own team, the beauty of football is that we can take this same question and have it apply to any franchise. Example: “If you don’t love talking trash in between mouthfuls of Natty Boh and crab cake, are you even a Baltimore sports fan?!” The reality is that food and trash talk are the universal components to every fanbase and part of the reason why the food section of this blog feels so right.
While turning 30 certainly has me putting down the cheesesteaks, the appeal of “cauliflower wings” came to me as a result of my chicken wing addiction. As a graduate student, 50 cent happy hour wings had me ordering 12 at a time, when in reality I’d hit the “uncomfortable” level of fullness about 8 wings in. And you best believe I’d power through those last 4, pushing myself to the next level of fullness – “regrettably”. (Side note: I am not embarrassed to say that I continued to do this to myself until this bar literally closed – RIP North Star Bar). Then I’d more often than not attack the leftover hot and teriyaki sauces with my celery and dip those into blue cheese deliciousness, all while wondering if my stomach was going to burst open like that guy at the beginning of the movie Seven. This is what made me realize that it was the sauces, not the wings, that had me fiending for more. Enter – the cauliflower wing. And before you ask, no, they don’t taste like chicken. But what the cauliflower wing is able to achieve is serve as a delightful vehicle for your favorite sauces, allowing for double the delicious bites with half the fullness. Cauliflower wings – saving SSFS readers from “regrettably full” from week 4!
Making cauliflower wings is straight forward, so don’t be intimidated! For this post I made three types of sauce: buffalo, teriyaki, and garlic butter. I made these at home and have provided the recipes and some insight on them in the “Sauce Supplement” at the end of this post. If you’re pinched for time (or let’s be honest, feeling lazy like I usually am), there is absolutely no shame in buying prepared sauces and/or garlic butter while you’re picking up your ingredients! If you choose to go the homemade route, make your sauces while your cauliflower wings are in the oven.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (can substitute salt)
If you’ve never cooked with nutritional yeast, it is a magical low calorie, non-dairy ingredient that can add a creamy, almost cheesy flavor to your dish and is also great for thickening sauces!
- Optional: breadcrumbs – I recommend using breadcrumbs for some of your wings! It mixes it up and adds some texture and extra crunch! Any kind will do, but if they are unseasoned, be sure to add salt to taste! I paired my breadcrumb coated wings with the garlic butter sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 450o with the rack in the middle of the oven.
- Line a baking sheet with a baking mat or aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray with cooking spray. If you don’t have a wire rack, just spray the baking sheet – the cauliflower might stick, costing you some crunchy coating but they’ll still taste delicious!
- Optional: Add a cup of breadcrumbs to a shallow dish and season with salt if necessary
- Wash the cauliflower and cut the florets into larger pieces, about the size of wings. If you end up with smaller pieces, don’t fret, go ahead and use them.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, water, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and nutritional yeast. Whisk until smooth. It should be thick, but not pasty. If necessary, whisk in water by the tablespoon until it reaches the right consistency. Taste the batter, add salt as needed.
- Add the cauliflower to the batter in batches, coat them evenly, and shake off any excess (if you use excessive batter, they won’t get crispy). If you are using breadcrumbs, evenly coat the cauliflower with them. I like to place the cauliflower in the breadcrumbs, spoon more breadcrumbs on top, and then roll it around until coated.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, apply sauce(s) of choice with a basting brush, flip using tongs or a metal spatula (a spatula might be better if your wings are sticking), and apply more sauce. If you don’t have a basting brush, you can go to town with a spoon or even try to brush the sauce on with a folded-up paper towel, Macgyver style.
Note: If you are taking your wings to someone else’s house, pack them up naked and sauce them there for maximum crispiness!
- Move the rack to the top of the oven, bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Serve with your favorite blue cheese, ranch, and garnishes! I topped my teriyaki wings with some chopped scallions and served them all with my favorite skinnytaste blue cheese dressing (https://www.skinnytaste.com/low-fat-creamy-blue-cheese-dressing/)
I’ve put these in order from easiest to hardest.
Buffalo sauce is ridiculously easy, as it’s literally only two ingredients!
Buffalo Sauce – The key to remember for buffalo sauce is a 1:3 ratio of butter to hot sauce.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons hot sauce (Frank’s is the gold standard!)
Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, add hot sauce, stir, remove from heat and set aside until use.
If you’re willing to make one sauce, I would go with the garlic butter. It’s so straight forward and you can also have some fun with it! If you don’t feel up for the task, look for some garlic herb butter at the grocery store and just zap it in the microwave or on the stove to melt before putting it on the wings.
Garlic Butter Sauce – This is a pretty basic recipe that could be easily spruced up by throwing in some of your favorite fresh herbs or some good grated parmesan!
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 fresh garlic cloves, grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low and stir occasionally until wings are ready for sauce!
The teriyaki sauce was the most labor-intensive and the next time I make these, I’ll probably go with a prepared one. I recommend checking the nutrition facts to make sure you pick one without a ton of added sugar and also getting one that is thick! Thin sauces will seep into the outer coating and give you sad, mushy wings. If there is a teriyaki sauce you like that is thin, you can still use it! Just thicken it by adding the arrowroot (or cornstarch) slurry described below.
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon garlic ginger paste – you can substitute garlic and ginger powders (½ teaspoon of each)
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot (can substitute cornstarch)
- 2 tablespoons water
Combine water, soy sauce, light brown sugar,
honey, garlic ginger paste, and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over
medium heat and stir frequently, while allowing mixture to come to a boil.
Mix arrowroot with water to create a “slurry”, whisk in slurry until sauce thickens.
Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside until use.
A big thank you to my sister’s best friend, Mia Simms, for helping me adjust/optimize/record these recipes!