Fried Cauliflower ‘Wings’

Football season has started once again which means a ton of game night foods. While I’m not above all the nachos, pizzas, wings, and chips & salsa, it’s still good to be mindful of how much of those foods we are consuming. However, with your focus on the game, are you really going to pay attention to how much you are eating? Have no fear, my girl Ariel from Ariel Cooks has hooked us up once again with some fried cauliflower wings. While they don’t have to completely replace your wings, they are a nice mindful appetizer to go with.


Fried Cauliflower (Wing Style) by ArielCooks


While not an exact substitute, this fried cauliflower does the trick for a healthier swap I can make at home with ingredients I usually have on hand. Beware, the crunch is addictive. Did I mention it’s vegan?

Recipe adapted from J. Kenji López-Alt’s Crispy Buffalo Fried Cauliflower on Serious Eats. Serves 4-6 as an appetizer.

  • 2 quarts vegetable or peanut oil

  • ½ cup cornstarch

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • Kosher salt

  • ½ cup cold water

  • ½ cup vodka

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets


Preheat oil to 350°F in a large wok, Dutch oven, or deep fryer.

Combine cornstarch, flour, baking powder, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk until homogenous. Add water and vodka and whisk until a smooth batter is formed, adding up to 2 tablespoons additional water if batter is too thick. It should have the consistency of thin paint and fall off of the whisk in thin ribbons that instantly disappear as they hit the surface of the batter in the bowl.

Add cauliflower to batter. Working one at a time, lift one piece and allow excess batter to drip off. Carefully lower into hot oil. Repeat with remaining cauliflower until wok or fryer is full. Do not crowd pan. (You’ll be able to fit about half of the cauliflower in each batch). Fry, using a metal spider or slotted spatula to rotate and agitate pieces as they cook until evenly golden brown and crisp all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and optionally season with salt. Keep warm while you fry the remaining cauliflower.

Serve with celery sticks, your favorite wing sauce, and/or ranch/blue cheese dressing (vegan, if that’s your thing, or not).

Note from the Author:

Meals should be delicious.

They shouldn’t be complicated or expensive. Most importantly they should be practical. Creating and sharing a meal with loved ones is something I value greatly, but not at the expense of the time we share together.

While I do typically try to cook with a lot of vegetables, food should be satisfying and occasionally indulgent. At the end of the day, small or large, whatever you feel you can do consistently is the most important aspect of any positive change. I hope you’ll join me. I’m Ariel – let’s cook together.

*Follow her on Instagram at, ArielThinks or check out all her recipes here.*

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