Cauliflower Buffalo wings? Sure, why not?

cauliflower buffalo wings / flickrJust like many of you, the Ecology Center staff recently gathered for a holiday happy hour potluck, and Nicki Milgrom’s cauliflower Buffalo wings were a hit.

“There were a number of folks who requested I share the recipe so I figured I'd share the love and goodness with all,” Milgrom said.

And now that includes you, our Ecolink readers who have made this healthy food column one of our most popular features.

“I originally made this for my family on Thanksgiving as an appetizer and healthy alternative for traditional ‘game day’ snacking,” according to Milgrom, organizer for the Ecology Center’s Healthy Food in Health Care program. “This is a healthy but delicious appetizer, something you can snack on without feeling guilty, actually getting in some of your daily dose of veggies while feeling like indulging! What could be better?”

In addition, the dish is vegan and can be made gluten free, so it’s a good choice to have an options for any and all guests, no matter what potential dietary restrictions or allergies they might have, Milgrom adds.

The Healthy Food in Health Care program has been emphasizing seasonal Michigan produce in its work this year with Cultivate Michigan, a campaign to promote healthier food options in hospitals and other institutions led by the Michigan Farm to Institution Network. Cultivate Michigan is coordinated by Michigan State University's Center for Regional Food Systems and the Ecology Center, with support from MSU Extension.

“Unfortunately it's a little late for cauliflower in Michigan,” Milgrom said. “Our markets mostly have squashes, potatoes and other root veggies like rutabaga now.” But cauliflower is inexpensive and widely available year-round, so she says we can “enjoy this recipe in happiness and good health.”

Milgrom found the recipe on the Hot for Food blog, dedicated to “cooking up vegan love” and written by Lauren Toyota and John Diemer. “We're here to break all misconceptions of what veganism is and open your eyes to the healthy, flavorful, and satisfying world of a plant-based diet,” they write.

 

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 C non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 C water
  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour (can sub gluten free rice flour)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
  • 1 C Frank's red hot sauce

Directions:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 450 F.
  • Wash and cut cauliflower head into small bite sized pieces.
  • Mix all the ingredients (minus the earth balance and hot sauce) into a mixing bowl.
  • The batter will be thin enough that it runs off your fork and the cauliflower florets. Dip each floret into the mixture and coat evenly. You can shake or tap off the excess on the side of the bowl.
  • Lay florets in an even layer on the parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • While the cauliflower is baking get your ranch dip and wing sauce ready. In a small saucepan on low heat melt earth balance and mix in hot sauce, bringing to a low simmer before removing from the heat.
  • Remove the cauliflower from the oven and put all the baked florets into a mixing bowl with the wing sauce and toss to coat evenly.
  • Then spread all the florets in wing sauce out onto the same baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for another 25 minutes.

Ranch Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 C Wildwood zesty garlic aioli (or vegan mayo of your choice)
  • 1/8 C non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dill
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp chives
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

Directions:

If you use a regular vegan mayo you might also want to add 1 tsp of garlic powder.
Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins before serving.