Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

Okay now it’s the 4th of July. Happy Independence Day!

If you’ve completely forgotten about the fact that today is the 4th, and that there are BBQ’s to go to, friends to see, and fireworks to watch, then here’s a friendly reminder. If you’ve completely forgotten about the fact that said BBQ is a potluck and you’re expected to make a dish and be there in less than 1 hour, then here’s a friendly recipe!

These spicy cauliflower hot wings (AJ said I’m not allowed to call them that because they’re not really hot wings… but let’s put propriety aside and call them what we like) are the perfect summer BBQ food. They will be the favorite appetizer on the table, and definitely the most talked about. Even if everyone’s just talking about how their mouth is on FIRE from these little morsels.

But, on fire they will continue to be because these guys are surprisingly addictive. It’s kind of like hot salsa… the only way to make your mouth feel like it’s less on fire is to… eat more salsa. These most definitely require some sort of ranch dressing alongside them. The first time I went to make them AJ and I were at the store and he ix-nayed (is that even real?) my idea to buy ranch dressing because “we don’t need that in our house.” But man, was I right (ahem). The next time we both made sure ranch dressing was in our cart before entering the checkout line.

Did I mention that these are both gluten free and vegan? #win. I was inspired by a recipe I saw in Bon Appetit for Nashville-Style Hot Chicken. I took that idea and flipped it on it’s head to make it healthier, lower calorie, easier, and allergy friendly, all while maintaining the enormous amounts of heat in every single bite. If you aren’t so hot on the hot, feel free to decrease the cayenne to just 1/2 or 1 teaspoon. They will still be great. If you like it hot hot hot, got for the whole 3. You won’t be disappointed.


An easy recipe for the best BBQ appetizer out there! Cauliflower is covered in a gluten-free batter and baked until crisp, then sauced with the spiciest cayenne sauce you can imagine! Baked until crispy, these are impossible to resist!


  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1-3 tsp cayenne pepper*
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice*
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey or agave


  1. Preheat your oven to 425F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment. Combine the flax seed, water, and hot sauce in a large bowl and set aside to thicken.
  2. Cut and break your cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add the almond meal and brown rice flour to the flax mixture and mix well until no lumps remain. Add the cauliflower to the bowl with the flax batter and toss with a rubber spatula until the cauliflower is completely covered in the batter. Spread the cauliflower onto your baking sheet and space them apart as much as possible. Bake for 10 minutes, tossing once halfway.
  4. While the cauliflower bakes, combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. When the cauliflower is finished baking, use a spoon to distribute the sauce over the cauliflower as best you can. Then toss the cauliflower in the pan (or remove to a bowl, but I’m lazy) until it is all evenly covered in the cayenne mixture. This requires quite a bit of tossing!
  5. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 7-10 minutes, until a bit crunchy. Serve immediately* with ranch dressing.


– If you’re not so hot on the spicy, reduce the cayenne to 1 tsp or even 1/2 tsp. If you like it hot (or are curious how hot it can get!) the use the full 3 tsp.

– If you need to make these ahead, just cook & cool and refrigerate until ready to use. When you are ready to serve, just reheat them in a 425F oven for 10 minutes until hot.

– If you’re not gluten free, just use 1/2 cup all-purpose flour instead of the almond meal and brown rice flour