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The spicy tang from Louisiana style hot sauce it enough to cause involuntary mouth-watering. (Admit it, you just salivated!) The crunch that comes from perfectly roasted cauliflower is only complimented by a soft breading from healthy grain containing whole wheat pastry flour. These guilt-free wing-substitutes are healthy enough to be a side dish to NYC style (un-fried) Fried Chicken or a nice grilled steak, but crave-able enough that I’ve been known to eat them as an entree.
What’s with Wings?
To be honest, I’ve never understood the infatuation with “wings”. Buffalo wings are down right frustrating to me. They have very little meat, make a huge mess on your hands, and are often too spicy to taste anything other than heat. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a knock on junk food. A need for total “healthy eating” isn’t the reason for my aversion. I dig bar food as much as the next hockey loving gal, but buffalo wings… not so much.
One night back home in Santa Barbara, after watching my Chicago Blackhawks slay their opponents at a local sports bar, we made our way over to my friend Apollo’s house where he pulled out a beautiful pork butt he’d been smoking all day in his front yard. He and his beautiful wife, Angie served it up with a side of these little Buffaloed veggies of joy. After watching the amount of butter and white flour they used, I was excited but knew this couldn’t be a regular thing for me. Since then I’ve been hooked on them and worked to make a perfectly healthy version that I can easily, inexpensively, and quickly make.
“Hot Sauce on my Burrito, Baby!” – Friday
I am fairly addicted to Crystal Hot sauce, so much so that there is a bottle in my RV, my rental apartment, and the house where we stay in between assignments. If I could find one small enough, I’d have one attached to my keys. Now you through in melted butter and I may have just blacked out! Its all becomes so rich and tasty. But it isn’t the only super important ingredient.
As I mentioned before, using a whole wheat pastry flour sneaks in some wholesome grains without being gritty and dense like a regular whole wheat flour. It has enough strength in it that it makes a thick batter that sticks well to all the cauli-crevices.
*Too much pastry flour?
If you don’t tend to make use of a full 5 lb bag of whole wheat pastry flour, such as “Bob’s Red Mill,” you can get just the amount you need from the gravity bins at places like Whole Foods, Safeway, etc. If you aren’t able to find it in that form and you have to buy the large bag, store it in a freezer bag or airtight container in the freezer and it’ll keep for quite some time. You really can use it for so many different recipes from cookies to biscuits.
Try it in any of these:
For the leftovers, if there are any, you’ve GOT to try my Buffalo Breakfast Eggs. They are just the punch in morning’s face that we all need from time to time. Enjoy!
Buffalo “Winged” Cauliflower- Easiest version you’ll find
- Coconut oil (or vegetable)
- 2 small heads of cauliflower
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour*
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour (3/4 cup if using White Lily)
- 1 cup cold water
- 1.5 tsp garlic powder, NOT GARLIC SALT!
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup of Crystal hot sauce, trust me when I say that Crystal is the one you want! (If not, any Louisina Style will work)
- 1.5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tbsp fresh chives, minced
Preheat oven to 425°. Line 2 large sheet pans with foil and spray/brush generously with coconut oil.
- Core the cauliflower and cut into 2-3″ pieces. Wash and drain very well. You can even do this a couple hours ahead and let them dry out on a clean dish towel. It important that they are dry so the batter really sticks.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, garlic powder, and paprika.
- Slowly pour in the water, a few tbsp at a time while constantly whisking to incorporate. If you pour in all the water at once it’ll get super lumpy. You want it to look sort of like pancake batter. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Toss in a handful of the cauliflower pieces and using a large slotted spoon stir them around to coat really well. Then tap the spoon on the side of the bowl shaking off as much excess batter as possible. Lay each piece on the prepared sheet pans, not touching each other. I like to just pick them up off the spoon and place them down to make sure the batter doesn’t fall all over the sheet pans, but its totally up to you. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower until they are all finished.
- Bake for 15 minutes. (They won’t be finished yet, so don’t worry if that doesn’t seem like long enough.) While they are baking, melt the butter and whisk into the hot sauce.
- Remove the sheet pans from the oven and using a plastic spoon or spatula, scrape any pieces that may have stuck to the foil. (Hopefully enough oil will have kept them from sticking, but even chefs can miss a spot from time to time!)
- Dividing it among the two sheet pans, pour the hot sauce mixture over the cauliflower. Then toss to coat. Place them back in the oven for 5-8 more minutes. You want them to be al dente, with a tiny bit of crunch left in them.
- Move to a serving platter and sprinkle with chives.
Optional Dipping Sauce:
When I make these for other people, I make this dipping sauce to go along with them. I personally like them as is, but its up to you!
1 cup labne*, (or very thick Greek yogurt)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp minced chives
Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Easy!
*What is labne? Karoun Dairies describes is as “a thick & creamy yogurt cheese and a healthier alternative to regular cream cheese. It is rich enough to be used as a substitute for sour cream.” I describe it as ridiculously tasty and healthy!
Try it with my Light & Fresh: Za’atar Pizzas with Labna/Labneh.