These Famous (Vegan!) Buffalo Cauliflower Wings & Ranch Dip Will Win Any Party

Image by Olivia Rae James / Contributor

When we tried the Buffalo Cauliflower Wings at Charleston's hit healthy restaurant, Basic Kitchen, we were blown away. They've taken Charleston, one of the country's most up-and-coming food cities, by storm, with their just-spicy-enough exterior and crispy crust that cedes to a creamy cauliflower center. They use sparkling water for an airy, tempura-like batter, and rice flour to ensure a gluten-free result. Paired with chef Nick Wilber's famous vegan ranch sauce, it's a dish that will win over carnivores and veg-folk alike.

We asked Wilber to modify the recipe to make it simple for home cooks, and the results are just as stellar as the restaurant version. Get ready to wow your guests—and fill them with sulfuric, veggie goodness at the same time.

Cauliflower Wings With Cashew Ranch

Ingredients, Cauliflower Wings

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into large, wing-size pieces
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Sparkling water
  • 1 cup avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce of choice

Method

  1. Sift rice flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  2. Add sparkling water 1 tablespoon at a time until you have a pancake batter consistency.
  3. Heat oil in a large, shallow pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Toss cauliflower florets in batter and, working in batches, place battered cauliflower in oil. Make sure not to crowd the pan. Turn to evenly pan fry (all sides should be golden brown).
  5. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
  6. Place fried cauliflower wings in a bowl and pour room temperature hot sauce over top. Toss wings in bowl.
  7. Serve with cashew ranch.

Ingredients, Cashew Ranch

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 2 whole lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch dill, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups plant-based Greek yogurt (you can sub dairy, if desired)

Method

  1. Cover cashews in water and soak for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
  2. Drain cashews and blend in high-powered blender (I prefer a Vitamix) with water, granulated onion, granulated garlic, and lemon juice until very smooth, at least one minute.
  3. Mix cashew mixture with yogurt, herbs, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add more salt if necessary.

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