Apparently the Superbowl was last week! I had a grand ole' time observing the recipes popping up all over the interweb for game-day snacks. Being of the non-gluten, non-dairy, non-meat eating persuasion, there wasn't a ton I felt particularly drawn to.
Then Michael asked if there was the potential for non-meat, gluten-free wings to make their way into our lives for the weekend.
In my pre-no meat days, I loved wings. I spent several years working in bars - so wings were standard fare - and I remember my mom making two different kinds of homemade chicken wings when I was a kid. One was a family recipe for baked orange-brown sugar wings; the other was a stovetop deep fried extra-crispy extravaganza that I very much enjoyed with ranch dressing. Oof. So yummy. In retrospect, I wish I'd known a veggie and a nut could stand in for the chicken and coating -- and taste as good. They really were delicious, although I'm pretty sure I would be tremendously unwell if I tried to eat one today. Back to this month's adventure...
I recalled seeing cauliflower wings on Jason Wrobel's Twitter feed months prior and decided I'd take a stab at making our own!
As far as gluten-free batters go, my favorite combination is almond flour (really finely-ground almonds) + coconut milk. The coconut milks has a nice amount of [healthy] fats to really encourage everything to stick, and the almond flour crisps nicely in the oven without getting goopy or stringy. Rice or potato flour, on the other hand, will leave you with a chewy, cartilage-like mess if used on their own as breading.
SO! I tossed together a batch of my standard batter, and after consulting the Google machine for 'what kinds of spices are usually in wing batter?', decided to go for a traditional oregano and garlic combination. There were other more jerk-inspired or Cajun-inspired mixtures, but I figured garlic and oregano would be a safe bet.
What's great about cauliflower - among so many other things, including the wild amount of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and folate it contains - is that it's dense enough to stand up to some work in the kitchen. It takes batter well, you can manipulate it without it falling apart, it retains its density when baked, and provides a nice fullness to meals. Especially in this case, where it's taking the place of traditional animal protein, that 'chunkiness' is really perfect! It's packed with fiber (yay, happy digestion!) and really takes on the flavor of whatever you add to it. In this case, the buffalo sauce speaks for itself. It's like being punched in the face, if you like that kind of thing. (Luckily for Mr. Michael, I'm not a huge fan. This batch was all his, although I did reserve a few un-sauced pieces to try out.)
Look at that face: that's a dude who is absolutely not missing traditional Superbowl wings. It's a dude who's having all the tastiness of wings without the added animal fat or harmful carcinogens from cooking skeletal muscle.
Foregoing the buffalo sauce would be a great way to make this more kid-friendly; instead, toss with their favorite unsweetened homemade barbecue sauce [omit agave, maple syrup, and molasses for sugar-free] or serve plain with their dip of choice on the side. Might I recommend the marinade for Unbelievably Vegan Tempeh as a dip?)
- 1 cup almond flour
- 3 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into wing-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- 2. In a large bowl, combine flour, garlic powder and oregano. Add the coconut milk and whisk until smooth.
- 3. Add cauliflower to the batter and toss to coat evenly.
- 4. Arrange cauliflower on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
- 5. While your cauliflower bakes, combine the buffalo sauce and olive oil.
- 6. When baking is complete, transfer cauliflower into a different mixing bowl. Add sauce mixture and toss to coat. Transfer cauliflower back to baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until crispy.
What's your favorite no-meat alternative recipe?