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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Asian quinoa salad

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Here’s what I’m having for lunch today. My version is very closely based on the recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod. This salad is super delicious, satisfying and sustaining.

Funny, up until this year I hated quinoa. It was bitter. Then my lovely neighbor, Marion, who is also a retired a Home Ec teacher, told me to rinse it. Et voila! I love quinoa… though I do still think it looks like tiny rolled up condoms.

This salad would be great topped with a few crunchy chow mein noodles or some chopped cashews.
I’ve added comments in the recipe indicating what changes I made. Let me know if you make this dish and how you riff on it.

Asian quinoa salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup chopped red cabbage (I used green because that’s what I had, though red cabbage would look prettier)
1 cup shelled and cooked edamame (get a bag in your freezer section, already shelled. Let thaw in your salad bowl)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 1 medium carrot)
1 cup diced cucumber
For the dressing:
1/4 cup lite soy sauce or tamari sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped green onion (one very luscious green stalk plus the white part)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (totally optional, I added, but found it did nothing for or against the dressing)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (I toasted mine)
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I used about ½ teaspoon chili paste)
Salt and black pepper, to taste (I didn’t bother, soy sauce is salty enough)
Directions:
1. Rinse your quinoa to remove the bitter coating. Add water and quinoa to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 -20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
2. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and add the cabbage, edamame, red pepper, carrots, and cucumber. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, green onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
4. Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and stir to combine.

Note-Make sure you use tamari for a gluten-free salad, not all soy sauce is gluten-free. This salad is good served at room temperature or chilled.