Are you a fan of the buffalo cauliflower wings at California Pizza Kitchen?
Because I am. A HUGE fan.
CPK changes their menu every so often, and I’ve sadly seen many of my favorite dishes disappear over the years. (Tricalore Pizza Salad where are you?????)
Actually, they no longer serve either of the dishes I so looked forward to at CPK. (Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza??? And again, WHERE is that Tricalore Pizza Salad!!!! And now I’d rather make my Taco Pizza than go out for CPK’s Tostada one!)
Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings Inspiration
So why do I still go to CPK? Yep, you guessed it .
Buffalo Cauliflower Wings.
Ohhhhh my gosh these things are good! You know you have a problem when you find yourself ordering two cauliflower appetizers and counting it as your meal…
Not only is that, well, not a meal, it’s also pretty expensive, considering you’re spending over ten dollars on CAULIFLOWER.
This, coupled with the recent sad news that CPK declared bankruptcy (allegedly this will help them stay in business. I sure hope so) finally convinced me of the urgency to create my own cauliflower buffalo wings recipe.
Recreating the Whole Dish
And I decided that while I was at it, I might as well make them vegan.
And just recreate the whole dish.
So if you’re a fan of CPK’s cauliflower wings, bleu cheese dressing, and the celery salad CPK serves with the wings, this recipe is for you!
My Buffalo Cauliflower Wings and Celery-Salad are vegan, and my herbed-chèvre dressing can be made vegan or vegetarian. I’ve yet to be satisfied with a vegan goat cheese or bleu cheese substitute, so when I make this dressing vegan, I forgo the chèvre. It’s a different flavor when you omit the goat cheese—the herbs take center stage—but I promise, this dressing is delicious either way!
Make Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings at Home!
Save a few dollars and a trip to the restaurant, and make my Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings next time the wing craving hits you! You may just find yourself eating cauliflower and wishing you could call it a meal too…😄
A Few Things
My Favorite Vegetarian Buffalo Sauce
If you’re ok with these cauliflower wings falling into the vegetarian category, I recently tried Wing-Time Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce [aff. link] for the first time, and it’s already become a favorite. Not too spicy, and more of a tomato base than typical buffalo wing sauces, it’s thick, creamy, and I love it. You can find Wing-Time Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce here on Amazon [aff. link].
My Favorite Vegan Buffalo Sauce
And if you’re keeping these cauliflower wings vegan, definitely go with Noble Made Medium Buffalo Sauce [aff. link]. This is my go-to vegan Buffalo Sauce! It’s a runnier sauce while Wing-Time’s sauce is thicker. And if you like your wings a little spicer Noble Made also has a Hot Buffalo Sauce [aff. link].
Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Wings
For the cauliflower:
- 30 oz cauliflower florets, cut to 1 inch florets (about 2.5 bags of the pre-cut florets)
- 1 cup almond milk
- 4 cups flour
- 4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp onion salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 13 oz Buffalo Wing sauce, I prefer Wing-Time Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce, or Noble Made Medium Buffalo sauce to keep these wings vegan
- 48 oz canola oil
For the herbed-chevre dressing:
- ¾ cup Vegenaise, or mayonnaise
- 1 tsp scallion, minced
- 1 tsp dill, minced
- 1 Tbsp cilantro, minced
- 2 tsp goat cheese, freshly crumbled (omit to keep vegan)
For the celery-scallion salad:
- 3 stalks celery
- 4 scallions
- 3 Tbsp cilantro, minced
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
Prepare the flour and almond milk
- First, prepare the flour for dredging. You’ll need two shallow dishes. I like to use two, 9x9 inch baking dishes.
- In one of the shallow dishes, add 2 cups flour and 1 tsp salt. Whisk the flour and salt together with a fork until the salt is evenly distributed.
- In the other shallow dish, add the remaining 2 cups flour, 3 tsp salt, 1 tsp onion salt, and 1 tsp garlic powder. Whisk them all together with a fork.
- Now get a small bowl, and pour the almond milk in.
Prepare the oil
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot over high heat for 5 minutes. The oil will look like it is separating in the pot.
- Turn the heat down to medium.
Prepare the cauliflower
- I recommend working with about ½ cup- ¾ cup of cauliflower florets at a time. (Note: the cauliflower florets need to be roughly 1 inch florets. If you buy the pre-cut florets, you will probably have to cut them down to 1 inch.)
1st cauliflower dredge
- Place about 3/4 cup of cauliflower florets in the milk.
- Now remove them from the milk, and dredge them in the dish with the salt and flour mixture.
2nd cauliflower dredge
- Once each pice of cauliflower is completely dredged in flour, place each floret back in the bowl of milk. Fully douse each floret in the milk.
- Now take all the cauliflower florets out of the milk bowl, and dredge them in the dish with the flour, salt, garlic powder, and onion salt mixture.
Fry the cauliflower
- Once each floret is fully dredged in this mixture, carefully place each floret into your fryer skimmer.
- Lower the fryer skimmer into the hot oil. (Note: if the oil is too hot and starts going crazy, simply turn the heat down to low.)
- Fry the cauliflower florets until each floret starts to brown, between 4-6 minutes.
Remove the cauliflower and get the Buffalo sauce!
- Remove the cauliflower florets from the oil with your fryer skimmer, and place them on a paper towel-covered plate to remove excess oil.
- After about two minutes, when the florets are cool enough to touch, but still warm, transfer them to a large baking sheet. Drizzle a little bit of buffalo sauce over the cauliflower florets, and gently toss them into the sauce. Be careful not to use too much sauce! You don’t want to make the florets soggy, and you can drizzle on more sauce when you serve them.
- Repeat this process until you have fried and dressed all the cauliflower florets in buffalo sauce.
- Note: you will have to adjust the burner temperature under the oil throughout the frying process. Just turn the heat down if the oil gets too crazy when you add cauliflower florets, and turn the heat up if the florets are taking longer than 4-6 minutes to turn slightly golden.
Make the herbed-chevre dressing
- To make the dressing, simply whisk everything together with a fork in a small bowl. Use the goat cheese or not, this dressing is delicious either way!
- Let the dressing sit for at least 15 minutes before serving so the flavors of the herbs develop.
Make the celery-scallion salad
Prepare the celery
- With your vegetable peeler, peel the celery length-wise into long strips. Just keep going with each celery stock until the celery brakes/ is impossible to peel anymore. (My daughter and I ate the leftover celery I couldn’t peel as a snack with some peanut butter. It wasn’t that pretty, but it was still delicious!)
Prepare the scallions
- Cut each scallion into 1 inch pieces (do it on the bias to be extra stylish), then cut those 1 inch pieces in half length-wise. Note: scallions can be pretty slippery, so watch your fingers when cutting length-wise!
- Toss the salad together
- Now toss the celery, scallions and minced cilantro all together. Salad is done!
Serve and enjoy
- On each plate, place a generous serving of cauliflower buffalo wings, and drizzle a little extra buffalo sauce on top if desired. Add a dollop of the herbed-chevre dressing to the plate, and some of the celery-scallion salad on the side.
This sounds so fantastic! I love Buffalo wings, but I really don’t need to eat that much fried chicken! This is a perfect alternative that I think I could feel good about
Thanks Jeff! Oh definitely, still deep fried, but the cauliflower definitely cuts back on the guilt haha. 😄. Now if I could only control how many of these I eat in one sitting!
$10 for cauliflower!? That’s highway robbery! But at least it inspired you to make this dish at home. I do love recreating favorites from restaurants…and I like trying to make them even better, too. These cauliflower wings sound like a fun way to mix things up a bit! In fact, these sound like a great dinner-in-the-basement while binge watching something on Netflix kinda thing. Yum!
Haha highway robbery, it’s so true! And that sounds like the BEST way to spend an evening!