These Thai peanut cauliflower wings are savory, crispy, and hard to stop eating. The recipe is made by dipping cauliflower in a peanut butter curry batter and baking it (not frying it!) until golden brown. Vegan as always and can easily be made gluten-free!
When it comes to cauliflower wings, I recommend leaving behind any expectations of tricking people into thinking they’re eating chicken. It’s a vegetable, for goodness’ sake; it tastes totally different. Thankfully, it shouldn’t matter. The crispy panko-breaded exterior and tender cauliflower center should satisfy everyone aside from vegetable haters.
I’ve infused Thai curry paste and peanut butter directly into the batter itself, so that each floret makes for the perfect bite. You can also drizzle these Thai cauliflower wings with sriracha to infuse some more heat. Using the accompanying soy agave dipping sauce is a must. The brininess of the sauce mingles with the seasoning in the cauliflower batter and unlocks its full flavor.
Another thing worth mentioning: wait until your oven is completely hot before putting these Thai peanut cauliflower wings in. Patience is a virtue for getting the best crispy texture, as well as NOT crowding the pan. The florets should be about an inch apart on your baking sheet, otherwise they’ll steam each other and your result will be soggy. Use multiple baking sheets if you need to.
Along those same lines, the panko bread crumb coating will get crispy pretty quickly, but wait until the curried wings are starting to brown before taking them out. That will ensure your interior batter is cooked through.
This batch of Thai peanut cauliflower wings is a task for three or more people – they’re somewhat filling and rich thanks to the peanut butter in the batter and the ample breadcrumbs in the coating. I suspect that they produce a food coma similar to what non-vegan wings might cause 🙂 hard to stop eating, but maybe best not used as your entire meal. Haha.
Serve these little bites of deliciousness up at your next game day or finger food event (hint hint: Super Bowl). You and your guests, omnivores included, are sure to love them! Some prep work can be done in advance; see the recipe notes for my suggestions.
Thai Peanut Cauliflower Wings
These crispy, one-bite Thai peanut cauliflower wings are a delectable vegan appetizer for game night, or any night of the week.
- 5 to 6 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about 1 small head of cauliflower)
- chopped roasted peanuts, sriracha, and sliced green onions for serving (optional)
For the batter:
- 1/2 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand is vegan)
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (the kind that's just peanuts and salt)
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 1/8 tsp white pepper (or black pepper)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup white rice flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp water plus more as needed
For the bread crumb coating:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Make the batter:
Whisk together all of the ingredients until smooth. The batter should be fairly thick, but still thin enough to fall off of a spoon - this is to ensure excess batter can be gently shaken off of the cauliflower florets. Whisk in water a little bit at a time to thin if needed.
Make the bread crumb coating:
Stir together all of the ingredients for the coating.
Prepare the Thai peanut cauliflower wings:
One at a time, take the cauliflower florets and dip them in the batter, shaking off any excess. Transfer to the breadcrumb mixture and toss to coat, then place on the baking sheet, leaving room between the wings. This is easiest if you use two hands - one for picking up a floret, battering it, and dropping it into the bread crumb mixture; and the other hand for coating in the bread crumbs and placing on the baking sheet. See the step-by-step photos in the post for more assistance.
Once you have filled the baking sheet (taking care not to crowd it), bake the Thai peanut cauliflower wings for 16 to 22 minutes (may vary more depending on floret size and oven style), or until cauliflower is crisp-tender and batter is firm and lightly browned.
Prepare the sauce:
Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste. Drizzle over the cooked cauliflower wings or serve on the side as a dipping sauce (or both!). If serving to a crowd, I recommend using toothpicks and dipping. For a small group, we drizzle and then dip more to taste, but it gets a little messier.
Sprinkle roasted peanuts and green onions over the wings and sauce. Serve immediately.
Some brands of white rice flour can be gritty; I always use this superfine white rice flour made by Authentic Foods.
GLUTEN-FREE: Simply use the white rice flour option and substitute gluten-free panko-style breadcrumbs. I've found those in recent times in the "International" aisle of my regular grocery store; there's a vegan variety made by Kikkoman. The ones in the pictures are actually gluten-free, as I wanted to share them with my love! Also, make sure to use tamari instead of soy sauce.
This recipe was originally published in January 2016, but has been updated in January 2019 with a streamlined recipe (no more using a partial can of coconut milk); step-by-step photos; and new pictures.
Thai peanut cauliflower wings inspired by Vegan Richa’s spicy baked cauliflower bites.
More bite-sized cauliflower recipes from the site: