When you need some sticky plant based finger foods, these cranberry barbecue cauliflower wings have got your back.
Making these is as simple as drenching cauliflower in a chickpea flour batter, baking them, then tossing in an easy cranberry barbecue sauce. Dip into a vegan ranch for a tangy, creamy counterpoint.
These cauli wings are plant based and gluten free and can be enjoyed by all for a mouth watering snack!
While I designed this recipe as a way to use up leftover cranberry sauce (from your Thanksgiving meal perhaps), and maybe sneak a bit of extra veggie into our lives–I’m going to argue that one should make these cranberry barbecue cauliflower wings at any time a craving hits!
Making the cauliflower wings:
Cauliflower wings are best made with larger florets of cauliflower. So cut your head of cauliflower up into nice sized florets and set aside.
Now we make the wing batter. I made these with chickpea flour (also called besan) for a protein rich and gluten free wing. You can also make them with an all purpose flour or a gluten free all purpose flour blend.
To our flour we add some smoked paprika for seasoning and a hint of smoky flavor. Then salt, the plant milk of your choice, and some oil. The oil helps make the batter crisp up and adds a nice richness to the flavor.
Dip each cauliflower floret into the batter, then place on a parchment or silicon mat lined baking tray in a single layer. Bake until crispy then toss them into the barbecue sauce immediately before serving!
Making the cranberry barbecue sauce:
I recommend putting this BBQ sauce together while the cauliflower bakes. It takes under 10 minutes of effort. Mix together the ingredients and simmer stovetop for a handful of minutes to bring the flavors together.
You can use any cranberry sauce in this recipe, a store bought canned cranberry sauce or homemade version work wonderfully!
Ketchup is the other main ingredient of our cranberry BBQ sauce. It’s perfectly tomatoey and seasoned, and let’s us skip a boatload of cooking time for a speedy barbecue.
Thanks to the two sweetened bases, we only need a little bit of brown sugar in our sauce. A splash of apple cider vinegar and vegan Worcestershire sauce amp up the tang.
Note: most Worcestershire sauces are not vegan (they traditionally contain anchovies), so specifically choose a vegan one and gluten free if you need these to be gluten free.
For seasoning add some hot sauce, ground mustard, smoked paprika (essential for a hint of smokiness, though you can substitute regular paprika and a 1/4 tsp or so of liquid smoke), onion powder, garlic powder, and salt to taste.
These ingredients are simmered together for the flavors to meld. Then add some vegan butter to make the wing sauce.
A couple of tips:
Enjoy your cauliflower wings as soon as possible after baking. If you know you won’t be able to finish them in one sitting, only add the barbecue sauce to the portion you expect to finish.
Chickpea flour will turn soft and get soggy from the cranberry barbecue sauce, especially after a day in the fridge. It’s still good, but it’s better fresh.
To reheat any cauliflower wings toast them back up in the oven. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 ºF until warmed through. If not already coated in BBQ, toss it to serve.
I like dipping these wings into a ranch dressing, the creamy ranch is a classic combo with barbecue sauce and goes wonderfully with this cranberry version as well!
If you make these cranberry barbecue cauliflower wings, leave a comment below and rate the recipe on the recipe card. And please share your photos with me on Instagram, tag @thecuriouschickpea and #thecuriouschickpea. I love seeing your recreations!
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- 1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
- 3/4 cups chickpea flour or GF all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups plant milk
- 1 tbsp oil
Cranberry BBQ sauce
- 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp vegan gluten free Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- Preheat the oven to 425 ºF. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.
- Mix together the flour, paprika, salt, milk, and oil to make a batter, about the consistency of pancake batter. Coat the cauliflower wings in the batter and place on the baking trays.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the batter is crisp and the cauliflower is tender.
- While the cauliflower wings bake, make the barbecue sauce. In a sauce pan whisk together all of the ingredients except for the vegan butter. Heat for about 5 minutes for the flavors to meld. Add the vegan butter and let melt, then turn off the heat and set aside.
- Once the cauliflower wings are done baking, immediately toss them in the cranberry barbecue sauce. Enjoy right away with some vegan ranch to dip, or if desired, bake another few minutes to crisp back up before serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233 Total Fat: 9g Sodium: 732mg Carbohydrates: 34g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 19g Protein: 7g