MAY IT PLEASE THE PALATE: Crispy Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

By Nick Roumel

During football season, there is nothing like a tailgate party with friends and munching down on a crispy batch of Buffalo wings. Here's a version that dispenses with those pesky bones: they're made with cauliflower.

I was all set to make fun of these. After all I love all things chicken wing: making them, serving them, and above all, eating them. My mother and I once made five pounds for the rest of the family and there were about six left by the time they came home. Substituting cauliflower? Huh. Make me laugh. (Insert your best Mr. T impression.)

But believe it or not, these were amazing and addictive crispy outside, tender inside, and with that classic Buffalo spice. In homage to my mother, I made a "serving for four" and ate ¾ before they had even cooled. Maybe it meant four Lilliputians?

A word about the garbanzo flour that this recipe calls for: also called gram or besan flour, it is simply made from dried chickpeas. You can buy it in most Indian or health food stores; your local grocer may also carry the "Bob's Red Mill" line of what flour alternatives. Garbanzo flour has a sweet nutty flavor, is high in protein, and gluten-free.

By the way, did you hear the one about the prisoner in solitary confinement who was fed nothing but bread and water until they put him on a gluten free diet? Badaboom, badabing. (Insert your best Tony Soprano impression.)

So back to the cauliflower recipe. I made this with wheat flour because that was what was on hand: i.e., I didn't feel like going downstairs for the garbanzo flour. It was still excellent. I also used seasoning salt in lieu of salt and garlic powder; feel free to add a touch of cumin as well, especially if you are using garbanzo flour.

Cauliflower Wings

Serves 4


- 1 head cauliflower, divided into small florets

- 1 cup garbanzo bean flour

- 1 cup water

- 1 tsp. garlic powder

- 1/2 tsp. salt

- 1 tsp. melted butter or ghee

- 2/3 cup hot sauce (Frank's. Duh.)


Preheat oven to 450F. In a medium size bowl, combine flour, water, garlic powder and salt.

Whisk together until smooth. Toss cauliflower into batter making sure to coat each piece completely, then place battered cauliflower on a lightly greased, non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, tossing half way through.

In the meantime, combine melted butter and hot sauce in a large bowl, stirring. When cauliflower is done, remove it from the oven and gently toss it in the hot sauce mixture. Place cauliflower back on the baking sheet and cook for at least an additional 25 minutes or until it becomes crispy. Allow cauliflower to cool for 15 minutes before serving (If you are able). Serve with your favorite creamy dressing.

NOTE: As for the "favorite creamy dressing" called for, typical Buffalo chicken wings call for bleu cheese or ranch. For this recipe, however, I tossed some plain yogurt with chopped scallions, lemon, salt, and pepper which was all those spicy "wings" needed.

Badaboom, badabing! Ready for the tailgate. Now if we only had a football team worth rooting for ?.


Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard, and Walker PC, a firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment and civil right litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for "Current" magazine in Ann Arbor. He occasionally updates his blog at

Published: Thu, Nov 06, 2014


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