Thai Peanut Cauliflower Wings

Hey there! Let me tell you ‘bout my best friend…(you sang that didn’t you?!) I’m only slightly dramatizing my love for this cruciferous veggie—CAULIFLOWER. As I said in an instagram post a week or so ago, I have loved Cauliflower loooooong before it was cool to love cauliflower. Even before Buffalo Cauliflower Bites were a thing, I was eating cauliflower raw—that’s how much I love it! In fact, whenever my family had gatherings growing up my mom always brought a big vegetable tray full of different veggies and a big tub of ranch from Meijer (any midwestern Meijer fans in the house?!). I’m pretty sure my mom still has this veggie tray and it’s an off-white, super 90’s kitchen tray that gives me all the nostalgia. Anyway, nobody ever ate the cauliflower florets and I could never understand it but I also didn’t complain too much because that meant I got to eat them all! And I assure you I had no problem doing just that.

Before you roll your eyes and say something under your breath like, “oooohkay you love veggies, we get it…” remember, if you read last weeks post, I can also take down a bag of chips and I used to make boxed cake batter and just eat that raw in my younger days. I also just HAPPEN to really like cauliflower and lots of other veggies. So step off, okay? ;)

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Although, since I grew up eating the Standard American Diet I never really thought of cauliflower as more than just a side dish, or a raw veggie to munch on at parties. It wasn’t until I started exploring a vegan and vegetarian diet that I discovered how versatile and EVEN MORE delicious cauliflower really was.

I think one of my first and fast loves with regard to this veggie was buffalo cauliflower pizza. I probably made it once a week for a year. Buffalo cauliflower is something special, y’all. All it takes is some roasting and some hot sauce—then slather it in some vegan ranch and you are GOOD. TO GO. The term “slather it in vegan ranch” just gives you all the warm and fuzzy foodie feels, doesn’t?

Other variations over the years have included bang bang cauliflower, because a certain seafood restaurant used to have my heart with their shrimp dish... and then I ditched ALL animal products and had a slight emotional fit about no longer eating this delicacy. Have no fear, CAULIFLOWER IS HERE. Cauliflower mash, cauliflower rice, roasted cauliflower, cauliflower stir-fry, cauliflower hash…I’m starting to sound like Bubba talking to Forest about shrimp while they’re cleaning their barracks with a toothbrush. And if you don’t get that reference I’m not sure we can be friends…

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Enter the all mighty Cauliflower Wings. We know that smothered in Buffalo Sauce they will tickle basically anyone’s fancy. But what about Teriyaki sauce? General Tso’s? Sesame Garlic? Orange Cauliflower? See-when I say “endless possibilities” I’m not just being dramatic. FACTS ARE FACTS.

Now the beautiful thing is that you can simply roast these little nuggets completely “nekkid” as my 4 year old calls it; meaning, no batter at all—just roast and toss in your favorite sauce—OR if you do want a more “chicken wing” like experience then a batter will help get you there. The batter I use for making “wings” is really easy with minimal ingredients.

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So a month or so ago I was browsing Pinterest while meal planning and a new cauliflower recipe popped up-some sort of roasted veggie salad. And right next to it was a recipe for a dish with a peanut sauce. And it was like the stars aligned! Why had I not thought about Cauliflower Wings with a Thai Peanut Sauce before?! Two of my favorite things ever? Of course that’s going to be delicious! Luckily I was right! Some recipe ideas that I come up with or that come to me at random times are complete and utter failures. This one, however, is one of my new favorite recipes EVER.

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I decided to go all out and fry these little babies but you can totally bake them for a healthier route. They won’t be quite as crispy but they’ll still be delicious. When reheating you can microwave but I would highly recommend sticking them back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until they are heated through and to get some of their crispiness back (regardless of your initial cooking method). I would also recommend you make some extra sauce for reheating and/or for other delicious meals like stir-fry or spring rolls or pad thai or more cauliflower wings! Enjoy!

Thai Peanut Cauliflower Wings

Makes: Serves 3-4

Name of image (title of post is fine)

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower cut into large florets
  • 1 Cup Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 1/3 Cup Non-dairy Milk
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Cups Oil for frying (omit if baking)
  • For the Thai Peanut Sauce: ½ Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ½ Cup Water
  • 2 Tbs Gluten-free Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs Sriracha
  • 1 Tbs Pure Maple Syrup
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Ground Ginger
  • Optional: Rice, Green Onions, Coconut Milk for drizzling, Sriracha, Peanuts

Instructions:
  1. If baking, preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut your cauliflower into large florets. Especially if you are frying your cauliflower wings, you want to make sure they are all the same size so they cook evenly.
  3. Mix together your batter; it should be the consistency of pancake batter.
  4. Dredge your cauliflower in the batter so the entire floret is covered but no excess batter is dripping. If baking, place the cauliflower florets onto a prepared baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. If frying, place your oil in your skillet and turn on medium high.
  5. If frying, depending on the size of your skillet, place 5-7 florets into your oil at a time. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  6. To make your peanut sauce, whisk all ingredients together and set aside.
  7. Once cauliflower wings are done, toss them in the peanut sauce, serve over rice and with desired toppings!
Alix Yokabitus