Anybody who has ordered pizza with me knows I LOVE buffalo wings. Mild & bone-in are the way to go. They are my fried food weakness. However, I also try to be as health and budget-conscious as possible. One night after work I went to my local pizza parlor to get a small order of wings – $10 for 6 wings?! Way overpriced. Also in my attempt to be healthy, I have tried baking my own buffalo wings instead of the soaked and fried in oil option. They were good but just not the same. I also struggled with getting them to cook all the way through without burning, since you’re supposed to broil them to make them crispy. Eh.
Then one day while scrolling through Pinterest, I came across a pin about using cauliflower as an alternative to certain foods. I looked over different variations of recipes and came up with one that worked best for me. I was so pleasantly surprised! It was full of flavor, crispy (key ingredient: flour!), and even the texture was perfect. Even better, I got that look from Mr. Rooks after he tasted one – the look of “Daaaang, that’s GOOD!” Win win.
I used a whole head of cauliflower. In my case, it fed 3 adults. I recommend not making more than you will actually eat, because it’s not as good leftover. I cut the cauliflower into bite size florets. The cutting board and knife pictured came as a pair and is one of my favorite wedding gifts! It is my go-to board and knife. I believe it was from Bed Bath and Beyond.
Onto the batter. I used equal parts water and flour, I did 1/2 cup each. Then I seasoned with paprika and garlic salt to taste. Growing up my parents put it on/in everything – from hamburgers to tuna sandwiches to slices of tomato – so I add it into just about every meal! 🙂 I also have a tongue for salt. Fun fact: my dad puts salt on his watermelon, while my brother and I put salt and chili powder on ours, clearly we love salt.) I know it’s not the best thing for you, but I blame all the Mexican candy I grew up eating.
Next I added the cauliflower into the batter and coated well. Amongst doing this, I wished I would have use the Ziplock bag method to make it easier to coat them evenly. I then placed them onto a greased Airbake cookie sheet (a normal cookie sheet would work just fine), and of course sprinkled on just a littttle bit more garlic salt.
I baked at 450°F for 20 minutes. Halfway through, I flipped them all over to get it crispy all the way around. While they were baking, I prepared the hot sauce. I used 1 Tbsp butter and 1/2 cup of Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce.
Since I had learned my lesson with the batter, I used a gallon size Ziplock bag to mix the florets and hot sauce mixture together. Once they were fully coated, I baked for another 15-20 minutes. Basically, bake it until it’s reached the crispiness/burntness you like.
Ta-dah! Notice the brown spots and how crispy they look. It was perfect. And now I am hungry again just looking at them!
True story: They were soo good that I scarfed most of mine down before remembering to take a picture. The close up is my last few bites when I remembered to, and the top is my husband’s plate. We like them with ranch but you could serve it with any dip you desire!
I’m so happy they came out tasting so good, and I’m so excited I found a healthier alternative to my beloved fried buffalo wings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still gonna eat those too! But it’s nice to have a healthier option to hold me over until I let myself binge again. Haha!
Since making these, I have had a head of cauliflower in my fridge ready to try a new cauliflower recipe. I just can’t choose which! So far on my wish list, I have Alfredo sauce, pizza crust, and mashed cauliflower.