Are you a fan of the buffalo cauliflower wings at California Pizza Kitchen?
I am. A huge fan, in fact.
CPK changes their menu every so often. I’ve sadly seen many of my favorite dishes disappear over the years.
(Tricalore Pizza Salad where are you??)
Actually, CPK no longer serves any of the main dishes I loved. And I’d rather make my Taco Pizza recipe than go out for CPK’s Tostada Pizza.
Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings Inspiration
The reason I still (very occasionally) go to CPK is the Buffalo Cauliflower Wings.
Now when we go to CPK, I order the cauliflower wings as my main course.
Not only is that…not a meal, it’s also pretty expensive: no one wants to spend over $12 on cauliflower. So, with rising prices and the recent sad news that CPK declared bankruptcy (allegedly this will help them stay in business. I sure hope so), I decided it was time to create my own cauliflower buffalo wings recipe.
Recreating CPK's Buffalo Cauliflower Wing Appetizer
I also decided that while I was at it, I might as well make my cauliflower wings vegan.
And just recreate the whole dish.
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 are unapoligetically deep fried. They’re decadent, crispy, and delicious. My celery-scallion-cilantro salad adds some light freshness to the dish, and my ranch goat cheese dressing can be made vegan or vegetarian. (Just omit the goat cheese to keep it vegan.)
Make Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings!
Save a few dollars and a trip to the restaurant, and make my Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings. But I warn you, once you start, it’s difficult to stop eating these wings.
So maybe we can count cauliflower as a meal?
I just discovered Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing Sauce. It’s affordable, easy to find, delicious, and vegan. Needless to say, it’s my new favorite buffalo sauce.
Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Wings
For the cauliflower:
- 30 oz cauliflower florets, cut to 1 inch to 1 ½ inch florets
- 2 cups almond milk
- 4 cups flour
- 4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp onion salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 16 oz Buffalo Wing sauce, I prefer Sweet Baby Ray's Buffalo Wing Sauce
- 48 oz canola oil
For the ranch goat cheese dressing:
- ¾ cup Vegenaise, or mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp scallion, minced
- 1 Tbsp dill, minced
- 1 Tbsp cilantro, minced
- 1 Tbsp parsley, minced
- 2 tsp goat cheese, freshly crumbled (omit to keep vegan)
- 2 pinches ground black pepper
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 tsp water
For the celery-scallion-cilantro salad:
- 3 stalks celery, peeled
- 4 scallions, cut to 1 inch pieces
- 3 Tbsp cilantro, torn or minced
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 of flour and 1 tsp salt. Whisk the flour and salt together with a fork until the salt is evenly distributed.
- To 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 cauliflower
- I recommend working with about ½ cup- ¾ cup of cauliflower florets at a time. (Note: the cauliflower needs to be cut to roughly 1 inch florets. If you buy pre-cut florets, you will probably have to cut them down to 1 inch pieces.)
1st cauliflower dredge
- Place about ¾ cup of cauliflower florets in the milk.
- Now remove the cauliflower from the milk, and dredge the cauliflower in the dish with the salt and flour mixture.
2nd cauliflower dredge
- Once each pice of cauliflower is completely dredged in flour, douse each floret in the bowl of milk once more.
- Take the cauliflower florets out of the milk, and dredge them in the dish with the flour, salt, garlic powder, and onion salt mixture.
- Repeat with the remaining cauliflower florets. Once the florets have completed the 2nd flour dredge, place them on a cookie sheet.
Prepare the oil
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot over high heat for 3 minutes. The oil will look like it is separating in the pot.
- Turn the heat down to medium.
Fry the cauliflower
- Carefully place 3-5 cauliflower florets in 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.)
- Fry the cauliflower florets until each floret starts to brown, about 1-3 minutes.
- Remove the cauliflower florets from the oil with your fryer skimmer, and place them on another baking sheet lined with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
- Repeat the frying process with the rest of the cauliflower florets.
- 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 1-3 minutes to turn slightly golden.
- After frying, you can keep the cauliflower wings warm in a 200 degree oven if not serving immediately. Just remember to remove the paper towel from the baking sheet first!
Add the Buffalo Sauce
- Just before serving, remove the paper towel from under the cauliflower wings, and pour about 8 oz of buffalo sauce over the wings. With your hands, gently toss the sauce into the cauliflower wings. Use more sauce, if desired.
Make the ranch goat cheese dressing
- To make the dressing, simply whisk everything together with a fork in a small bowl. To keep the dressing vegan, don't use the goat cheese.
- Let the dressing sit for at least 15 minutes before serving so the flavors of the herbs develop.
Make the celery-scallion-cilantro salad
- With your vegetable peeler, peel the celery length-wise into long strips.
- Cut each scallion into 1 inch pieces (do it on the bias for style), then cut those 1 inch pieces in half length-wise. Note: scallions can be slippery, so watch your fingers when cutting length-wise.
- 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. Serve with the ranch goat cheese dressing, the celery-scallion salad, and extra buffalo sauce, if desired. Enjoy!