Vegan in the Region: Mmmmmm ... cauliflower wings

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

vegan.com

I am not a sports fan and will not be watching this year's Super Bowl.

But for some reason, I feel the need to make party-type foods when this time of year rolls around.

While I don't typically attempt to mimic meat and dairy dishes when I cook, I do have a few such recipes I like to pull out for special occasions.

Topping my list are Baked Buffalo Cauliflower wings. I honestly cannot remember ever eating the actual animal wings, but this plant-based version is pretty darn good and much better for you and the chickens.

There are a variety of recipes available through a simple online search. Most involve cutting the cauliflower into bite-size chunks, rolling them in a batter with flour, baking and then drizzling with Buffalo hot sauce. Check to make sure the hot sauce is vegan - they can be found in most grocery stores.

Next up is making a vegan ranch dressing to use for dipping the cauliflower wings. Again, there are a variety of recipes available online and bottled versions in many grocery stores.

Another top party food of mine is vegan nacho cheese made up primarily of potatoes, carrots and nutritional yeast, which makes it a heck of a lot more healthy and yet strangely close in taste and texture to traditional nacho cheese. I replace the suggested oil with unsweetened almond or soy milk to make it even healthier.

Eat it with chips, veggies, with mac and "cheese" or as a grilled "cheese" sandwich.

Recipes such as these are a great way to transition away from meat and dairy.

When asked how to go vegan, I always suggest sticking with many of the same dishes you are already making, just replace the meat and dairy with the many plant-based alternatives now available.

As you come to see that it's the sauces, spices and other flavorings that drive your taste buds and not meat and dairy, it will be easier to branch out and try other vegan dishes.

The opinions are the author's.

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Bob is a 22-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.