A meat-free alternative to our Buffalo Chicken Wings recipe, these cauliflower Buffalo “wings” can stand up to the traditional chicken wing any day. The chickpea flour batter adds a wonderful texture, while the spicy, buttery wing sauce conjures memories of meaty tailgaters. The really great thing is, unlike regular Buffalo wings, you don’t have to fry anything—a hot oven does most of the work. Serve these at your next game-day get-together next to some Texas Caviar.
What to buy: We like Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce for all Buffalo-style chicken recipes, but keep in mind that it’s quite salty. If you use another medium-spicy brand (Crystal, for instance) you might need to add a pinch of kosher salt to the finished sauce.
Make-ahead note: If you’re not planning to serve the “wings” immediately, let the sauced cauliflower pieces cool completely. About half an hour before serving, spread them out on baking sheets and bake in a 450°F oven for 20 minutes, to heat and crisp them.
For more meatless game-day inspiration, check out our Easy Potato Skins, Texas Queso Dip, and Mozzarella and Fresh Basil Grilled Pizza (with a Cauliflower Pizza Crust if you want to go all-in). And for a fully vegan version of this recipe, see our Baked Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower with Vegan Blue Cheese Sauce.
- Yields: About 24 “wings”
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 1 hr
- Active: 45 mins
For the blue cheese dressing
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
For the “wings”
- 1 cup garbanzo flour
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large heads of cauliflower (about 5 pounds total), separated into about 24 evenly sized florets
For the sauce
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or ghee
- 2/3 cup medium-spicy hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- Make the blue cheese dressing: In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, blue cheese, milk, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and oil 2 baking sheets, preferably nonstick. In a large bowl, combine the garbanzo flour, water, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk until well combined, with no clumps. Toss the cauliflower florets into this batter, ensuring that each piece is completely covered. Arrange the coated cauliflower pieces in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the sheet pans and swapping their positions in the oven halfway through.
- While the cauliflower is baking, make the sauce by combining the butter, hot sauce, honey, and lemon juice in a small sauce pan set over medium-low heat. Heat until the butter has melted and everything is well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer the sauce to a large mixing bowl, and set aside.
- When the cauliflower is done, remove from the oven and gently add to the mixing bowl with the sauce. Toss, using a light hand so as not to break up the florets or disturb the coating. Serve immediately with the bowl of blue cheese dressing. A sprinkling of chopped cilantro is optional.