Sweet sesame wings – cauliflower can fly!

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Cauliflower wings are one of those magical vegan cooking tricks that knock my socks off. Today I tried a recipe closely based on one from Jessica in the Kitchen for sticky sesame “wings”. Oh… these are so delicious – sweet, salty, crunchy, spicy (or not if you prefer) and so satisfying.

Put on some music, gather your ingredients and chef-y vibe and just make these. You will be so glad you did.

My version is saucier and has a bit more seasoning than the original but the beauty of cooking from scratch is you can make things just the way you want.

Ingredients

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1 small head cauliflower washed and cut into florets (no stems!). You’ll have about 2 ½ – 3 cups of cauliflower florets. Make sure the cauliflower florets are completely dry before you start battering them.

For the batter and coating

3/4 cup besan or gram flour (a/k/a chickpea flour)

¾ cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

¾ teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional – leave out if you don’t like heat)

1 ½ cups bread crumbs (I used a mix of panko and gluten-free bread crumbs)

For the sweet sesame sauce

½ cup real maple syrup

¼ cup Braggs liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds. You can toast sesame seeds by spreading them on a sheet of tin foil or other small dish or pan and roasting them at 425F for 3-5 minutes. Watch them… they can burn easily. You need to know your oven, and with roasting seeds or nuts, less is always more! You can roast the seeds in your oven while it’s preheating, or use your toaster oven, if you have one (that’s what I do).

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

¾ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

2 chopped green onions

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Directions

Preheat your oven to 450F. Make sure your oven is completely heated up before you put the cauliflower in.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Put your breadcrumbs in a small bowl.

Combine the besan, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, red pepper flakes and ground pepper in a separate bowl and mix until you have a thin batter.

Now you’re going to work assembly-line style. Dip each cauliflower piece in the batter. Shake off any excess batter and roll the cauliflower in the bread crumbs to coat the piece. Place the piece on the cookie sheet.

Repeat until all of the cauliflower pieces are coated.

Bake for 20-22 minutes.

While the wings are baking, prepare the ingredients for the sauce by whisking all the ingredients together.

Remove the wings from the oven and spoon or brush a small amount of the sauce on each piece. Don’t douse the wings though or they’ll get soggy. If you have leftover sauce, you can spoon it over the wings when you serve them.

Enjoy!

Wasabi, lime and tahini dip

I enjoyed these wings with veggie sticks and a wasabi, lime and tahini dip. I mixed 1/3 cup tahini, the juice of one lime, 2 teaspoons wasabi paste and ½ cup water together.

 

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Cauliflower Chickpea Curry with Coconut and Sweet Potatoes

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Here’s a fragrant, flavourful curry that is just as delicious in summer as it is in winter. For winter cooking, I use frozen cauliflower, which is both affordable and appealing to lazy cooks like me.

There’s a little bit of chopping, a few cans to open and then all you have to do is let the curry cook itself. Easy!

Ingredients

1 Tbsp coconut or olive oil

1 onion diced

1-2 cloves garlic minced

1 red chili minced – see TIP below

1 Tbsp grated ginger root OR 1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 Tbsp garam masala

½ Tbsp curry powder

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (that’s one 15 oz can drained and rinsed)

2 cups canned or boxed tomatoes (If you have any leftover tomatoes, just freeze them in a freezer bag).

1 sweet potato peeled and diced

2 cups cauliflower cut into florets

1 can coconut milk (397 ml or 13 oz)

1/3 cup vegetable broth (optional)

1-2 teaspoon salt (depending on your tomatoes and tastes)

1 cinnamon stick

1 lime leaf – see TIP below

1-2 cups chopped spinach – see TIP below

Directions

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the garlic, chili, onion and grated ginger, if using. Sauté until the onion is soft. Add the garam masala and curry and powdered ginger if using and stir to coat the onion/garlic mix and let the spices heat through.

Add all the other ingredients except the spinach and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 40 minutes. Add the spinach in the last few minutes of cooking.

Fish out the lime leaf and cinnamon stick.

I love this dish served over rice, especially jasmine rice. Enjoy!

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TIP – This recipe is a study in foods you can keep in your freezer so you always have them handy.

I buy my red chilies in bulk and then freeze them in a freezer bag. They’ll last for months in the freezer and are much easier to mince or grate frozen than they are to chop fresh.

If you have leftover fresh spinach or kale, throw it into a freezer bag and store it in the freezer. When I need a cup or two of spinach/kale for a cooked recipe like this, I just crush the greens before adding them to my recipe. There’s no chopping involved and I always have greens on hand for soups, stews, even omelettes.

I buy my lime leaves at an Asian grocery. They come in a bag with a couple dozen leaves in them – far more than is ever needed for any one recipe. The grocer told me to freeze the leftover leaves and use them as needed. Works perfectly!

You can always store other leftover fresh herbs (Do you ever use a whole bunch of cilantro because I don’t!) in freezer bags and then use the frozen herbs as you would fresh ones in stews and sauces and even salad dressings. As with the spinach or kale, you won’t even need to chop – just crumble the frozen herbs. Frozen herbs do not work well as garnishes.