You Won’t Miss the Meat with These Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Wings

Last Update: June 7, 2022

Perfectly crispy, smothered in sauce, and entirely free of meat, cauliflower wings are a popular (and delicious) stand-in for traditional chicken wings. Whether you’re a longtime vegan or you’re looking to satisfy old cravings while transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, this recipe from Shanika Graham-White of Orchids & Sweet Tea makes the perfect summer barbecue side — you may even notice the meat eaters stealing a piece or two. 

While it all starts with a simple head of cauliflower, the sweet, sticky, flavor-loaded sauce is the real star of the show. Baking turns the cauliflower nice and crispy without heavy frying, while coating each piece in breadcrumbs gives you that classic crunchy-yet-soft wing texture (even in vegetable form). 

Want more recipes from Shanika? Try her Gluten-Free Blueberry Toaster Pastries Recipe.

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Wings Recipe 

Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 45 minutes


For the cauliflower:

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into medium chunks
3 cups bread crumbs (or a gluten-free version, like Schar Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs)
½ cup Thrive Market Organic All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Thrive Market Organic Almond Beverage
¼ cup Thrive Market Organic Robust Maple Syrup 
1 tablespoon Thrive Market Organic Crushed Red Pepper
1 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Smoked Paprika
½ teaspoon Thrive Market Mediterranean Sea Salt 
½ teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Ground Pepper 

For the sauce: 

1 tablespoon Thrive Market Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon peeled and minced ginger root
1/3 cup Thrive Market Organic Robust Maple Syrup 
¼ cup Kettle & Fire Vegetable Cooking Broth
3 tablespoons Thrive Market Organic Soy Sauce
¼ teaspoon Thrive Market Mediterranean Sea Salt 
¼ teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Ground Pepper
¼ teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Crushed Red Pepper
1 teaspoon Bob’s Red Mill Arrowroot Starch + 2 teaspoons water

For the garnish: 

Chopped green onions
Thrive Market Organic Sesame Seeds


Preheat your oven to 400℉ and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.  (Note: This step is a must to prevent sticking.)

In a medium bowl, add the milk, flour, maple syrup, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes, and whisk together until fully combined. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, add bread crumbs and set aside.  

Dip each piece of cauliflower into batter (shaking off any excess), then toss in the bread crumbs. Lay the cauliflower pieces side by side on the baking sheet, about an inch apart. Repeat until all cauliflower pieces are coated and placed.

Bake the cauliflower for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crunchy. (Tip: If not crispy enough, turn your oven on broil and bake for another 5-10 minutes.)

To make the sauce, mix all ingredients together and add them to a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat and whisk together until it begins to boil. 

Reduce heat to medium-low and let everything simmer for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the sauce starts to thicken, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. 

Toss the cauliflower in the sauce until fully coated. 

Sprinkle sesame seeds and chopped green onion over the tops of the cauliflower bites (Tip: The toppings should stick to the sauce). 

To serve, add cauliflower bites to a salad, tacos, pasta, as a pizza topping, with quinoa or rice, or even by themselves with a great dipping sauce! 

This article is related to:

Recipe, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes

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Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

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