Eating buffalo chicken wings while watching a sports event or as an appetizer has become something of an American tradition. Legend has it that buffalo wings were invented at a bar in Buffalo, New York in 1964. Chicken wings were normally thrown away or reserved for making stock, until the owner of the bar decided to deep fry them and toss them in cayenne hot sauce.
Since then, buffalo wings have been a staple in bars across the United States and Canada, but what if there was a more health conscious option? Good news — you can get the same flavors using cauliflower instead of fried chicken wings, and a slew of health benefits, too.
Buffalo Wings Are Better with Cauliflower
Typically, buffalo wings are deep-fried in vegetable or canola oil until they are well browned, then they are drained and mixed with sauce. I don’t like to eat anything that has been fried in canola oil because it’s a refined oil that’s often partially hydrogenated to increase its stability, but this increases its level of trans fats and negative health effects. Also, over 90 percent of canola oil is genetically modified. (1) Consuming genetically modified canola oil can lead to kidney and liver problems and life-threatening heart trouble, like high blood pressure and increased LDL cholesterol levels.
For my buffalo wings, I think cauliflower is better. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that’s rich in health-promoting phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds. (2) It also supplies essential vitamins and minerals, including 73 percent of your daily value of vitamin C. Go figure, cauliflower buffalo wings can actually boost your immune system!
How to Make Buffalo Cauliflower
Not only is buffalo cauliflower incredibly healthy, but it’s also super easy to make, with the prep time being only 5 minutes. Start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees F and preparing a 9 x 13 baking sheet with parchment paper.
Use a medium head of cauliflower to serve 4–6 people. Once you remove the stem of the cauliflower, you’ll notice that it naturally breaks apart into large florets. Then use your knife to chop these florets into smaller, bite-size pieces.
Once your cauliflower is chopped, spread the pieces out on your parchment paper-lined pan and prepare the ingredients for your sauce.
Add a teaspoon of both salt and pepper, and 2 teaspoons of garlic powder to the cauliflower. Spread the spices evenly and then use your hands to toss it all together.
Next, use 1/3 cup of Paleo buffalo sauce and with a basting brush, coat the cauliflower completely. Paleo buffalo sauce is typically made with chilies, onion, garlic, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. You can also find a Paleo-friendly sauce in your local health food store. If you want to dilute the sauce a bit, just add a bit of coconut oil ,which has a high smoke point and won’t oxidize when heated in the oven.
Once your cauliflower is completely coated, pop the baking sheet into the oven for 30–40 minutes, depending on how crispy you like it.
It’s as simple as that! Your Buffalo cauliflower is ready to go. You can eat it as is, or use it as part of a meal, like Buffalo cauliflower tacos, yum.
Instead of using bleu cheese or ranch, I like to use plain or coconut goat yogurt. Goat milk yogurt benefits are superior to cow milk yogurt, as goat milk is easier to digest, it has fewer allergenic proteins and causes less inflammation; plus, it’s high in calcium and fatty acids, but low in cholesterol.
Enjoy this healthy alternative to Buffalo wings!
Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe
Total Time: Prep: 5 minutes; Total: 45 minutes
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ⅓ cup Paleo buffalo sauce
- plain coconut or goat yogurt, for dipping
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Line a 9 x 13 baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add cauliflower, oil and spices to the baking sheet, using your hands to toss until evenly coated.
- Using a basting brush, brush the buffalo sauce onto the cauliflower until evenly covered.
- Bake for 30–40 minutes.
- Serve on a plate with yogurt for dipping OR add to your favorite taco.
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