Buffalo wings are one of those perfect comfort foods. They are great for parties, watching a game or late-night snacking.
Unfortunately, buffalo wings are not terribly healthy, and obviously not vegetarian. One of the healthiest and tastiest substitutes is buffalo cauliflower.
One of the most appealing parts of wings is the texture- a crispy exterior, with a tender inside, covered in a delicious sauce. One of the downfalls of cauliflower is that if it isn’t prepared properly, the texture can leave a lot to be desired.
If you follow a few simple steps, your cauliflower can have that perfect contrasting texture. This guide will help you get there!
Use Fresh Cauliflower
This is key. Frozen Cauliflower is convenient and inexpensive all year, but it is pre-steamed during the freezing process. This means that cooking it again usually means you end up with mush instead of crispy buffalo flavored bites.
If you want a great one step buffalo cauliflower, you can literally just toss chopped fresh cauliflower in buffalo sauce and bake for 25 minutes. The results will be delicious, whether you use a store-bought or homemade buffalo sauce.
If you want a saucier cauliflower, or if you want an even crispier bite, read on for more options.
Breading is Optional
As you have seen, you can make a delicious buffalo cauliflower without breading. If you like your bite to be crispier, you can still make unbreaded bites. Just use hot oil or an air fryer.
If you are using the fryer (air or traditional) method, fresh cauliflower is definitely still key. Precooked frozen cauliflower will have so much water inside, it will negatively impact your oil integrity, and will just turn to mush instead.
Cut your cauliflower, wash and pat it dry. Drop into 350-degree oil, or mist with oil and put into a 390-degree air fryer. Cook until the cauliflower is tender inside. The outside of each piece will be beautifully crispy, with lots of nooks and crannies to hold your buffalo sauce.
Light Breading Can Save the Day
If you are stuck with frozen or pre-steamed cauliflower, or you just really want a great crunch, you can bread cauliflower just like any other fried food. Breading allows even frozen cauliflower to maintain its integrity while cooking to a crispy exterior.
For buffalo cauliflower, it is key that you do not over-bread your bites. Heavy breading or tempura batter will soak up all the sauce, leaving you with a soggy mess that still somehow feels dry.
If you are using frozen cauliflower, make sure to drain out all the excess moisture, and pat dry on paper towels. Toss the cauliflower in a mix of self-rising flour and your seasonings of choice, to lightly coat the vegetable without a thick layer of bread.
Fry in 350-degree oil or mist with oil and air fry at 390 until breading is golden and the cauliflower is tender. Toss in buffalo sauce right out of the fryer, and serve immediately.
Don’t Let Sauce Sit
If you are using any kind of bread, don’t let it sit in the sauce. The flour will continue to absorb the sauce, and get gummy and soggy, which is the last thing you want to happen.
As you can see, there are several ways to make deliciously crispy buffalo cauliflower. The most important thing is to understand how your ingredients will react and to adjust your preparation accordingly. This way, you can know that you will get the results you are looking for.
If you are ever in doubt, fresh cauliflower, a hot oven, and a generous helping of butter or oil will always get you nice, crispy bites.
About The Author:
Mike is a health editor with a degree in Journalism and Social Communications, currently writing for several USA & UK publications. He is specialized in articles around health tips, workout plans, and other nutrition-related topics. His main aim is to help health charities to raise awareness on campaigns about misunderstood or commonly misdiagnosed conditions.