Healthy Hot Wings and cornbread cafe
I was never a fan of bar snacks, and definitely not fried food, so I never really got into Hot Wings. However my curiosity of Hot Wings and Wing Sauce was born out of my experience as a server at a vegan comfort food restaurant in Eugene Oregon called Cornbread Cafe. Cornbread Cafe is famous for its country style, southern comfort food, and the restaurant just happens to be 100% vegan!
They make these extremely popular "Hot Things" which are basically the vegan/tofu equivalent to chicken hot wings; the tofu is breaded, fried and then tossed in Franks Hot Sauce and served with creamy vegan ranch dressing.
These vegan versions of traditional hot wings are far healthier than the traditional chicken hot wings that are loaded with saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and of course all of the nasty hormones and antibiotics that are present in the meat of chicken. By no means are chicken hot wings ever considered healthy, and there is no room for such foods in a healthy lifestyle. The fried tofu version that Cornbread Cafe serves offers a cholesterol, hormone, antibiotic free version of this classic bar food that leaves you feeling satisfied and compassionate, as no animal died over this dish!
Serving these vegan Hot Things to my tables made me quite curious as to their taste, however I never dared to try one because I cannot stomach fried food....But, with time, my curiosity grew, the smell of the Hot Wing sauce was so intense, i needed to see what all the hype was about! So, I planned a day where I would come into the cafe on my last day in Eugene, (before moving to Florida) and try them! It was a bizarre situation because they tasted so good, but felt so wrong going down the hatch! I knew that these fried little bits of goodness were not going to do well in my tummy, and i'm not sure if its all in my head, but my stomach gets so upset when i eat fried/slightly-unhealthy food!
This experience sparked my taste buds to hot wing sauce, and the pleasure of eating these little crispy-on-the-outside and moist-on-the-inside bites, and so i knew there must be a Katie-Approved-healthy way to make them! Sure enough, with a little google search I found that Cauliflower Hot Wings were a thing, and they were loved by everyone who tried them!
I found a recipe from Potato Strong's website and screwed it up right away as I mixed the hot sauce in with the breading before cooking them... Only to discover after they were done that I was supposed to bread them, cook them and then toss them in the hot sauce!
As it turns out this mistake ended up in my favor because I love them like this!
Baking the hot sauce into the cauliflower creates a delicious, cheezy flavor that I cannot possibly describe! They are soooooo good, and I am just so happy that I discoed them from Potato Strong and I am also so glad I screwed up the recipe and discovered my own version. These are so yummy as a salad topper, as an appetizer dipped in healthy ranch dressing, or just eaten by themselves! They make a great social snack and are perfect to serve at a dinner party!
So here is the recipe
for these amazing cauliflower hot wings!
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
3/4 cup cayenne hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Franks)
3/4 cup flour (whole wheat, chickpea, etc)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, as desired
1 tablespoon apple cidar vinegar
Preheat oven to 450°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, water, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and only 1/2 cup of the hot sauce. Whisk to get all the lumps out. Add more water if need to thin out batter. Batter should just thinly coat cauliflowers.
Dip cauliflower into batter and allow excess batter to drip off. Place cauliflower on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping once, or until batter is hardened and cauliflower is cooked through.
Take them out, taste them, and if they are spicy enough eat them as they are. But if you want to add a bit more spice then ...
Whisk together cayenne hot sauce and apple cider vinegar until combine. Toss cooked cauliflower in sauce. Serve with Healthy Ranch Dressing or eat alone!
You MUST TRY THIS HEALTHY RANCH DRESSING TOO!!!!!!!!!
HEALTHY RANCH DIPPING SAUCE:
1 cup silken tofu, (or 1 zucchini for raw)
1/2 cup soy milk or almond milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder or one clove garlic
1 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar or agave
3 tablespoons dry chives
3 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon dry dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings as you like.