Oven-roasted Jerk Cauliflower Wings are wonderfully spicy, smoky, and fragrant—everything you want in a Jamaican jerk recipe. Served with a zippy citrus-and-garlic packed Mojo Sauce, you've never tasted cauliflower this crave-worthy.
Why You'll Love these Jerk Cauliflower Wings
An unlikely union--jerk chicken and buffalo wings--transformed into a vegetarian version sure to knock your socks off. To mimic the effect of deep-fried wings, the cauliflower florets are roasted at a high temperature to ensure a crispy exterior.
The florets also get hit with a quintessential Jamaican jerk spice mixture, which is incredibly aromatic. (Also, you can adjust the spice levels to suite your tolerance for heat.) And because no cauliflower wing is complete with a sauce, let me introduce you to the most glorious dipping contender: MOJO SAUCE.
Mojo originated in the Canary Islands, where the main varieties are red mojo (mojo rojo) and green mojo (mojo verde). It often doubles as a sauce and a marinade, however today we're just tapping into its saucy side. I always like to double the sauce recipe and use leftovers to anchor a tray of crudités, or drizzle over roasted veggies. It's just endlessly versatile, and wildly delicious.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Cauliflower: You need one medium head of cauliflower, which amounts to roughly 8 cups of florets. Because cauliflower is so mild, it’s the ideal vehicle for the bold flavors in this recipe.
- Eggs: The florets are coated in an egg wash, which helps seal on their crispy coating. Unfortunately, there is no vegan/plant-based substitute for the eggs. (I attempted an alt milk mixture, and it just didn't have the same effect.)
- Almond Flour: Naturally gluten free and rich in heart-healthy fats, almond meal/flour creates a wonderfully crisp crust on the cauli. Alternatively, you can blend blanched almonds down to reach the consistency of sand.
- Corn Starch: Corn starch works with the almond flour to create a crispier crust. Alternatively, you can use arrowroot or tapioca here.
- Spices: This is where the real magic lies! While a couple of these spices won't be pantry staples, I promise they make all the difference in the final flavor. You need a mix of dried thyme, nutmeg, allspice, garlic, and five-spice powder. If you can't find five-spice powder, you can use Garam Masala instead.
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce does double duty by adding depth of flavor and plenty of salty goodness. I use a lower sodium version, however you can also use tamari for a gluten free alternative.
- Aromatics: Jerk marinades are INCREDIBLY aromatic, so you better believe we aren't skimping on this category. You need white onion (or shallots), green onion, and garlic to make the sauce sing.
- Mojo Sauce: This sauce really leans on acidity from citrus to make it pop. You need fresh orange and lime juice, along with cilantro, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and a pinch of sugar for balance.
Step 1: Create Flour and Egg Wash Mixture
Preheat oven to 450ºF and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place an oven-safe baking/cooling rack overtop, and coat well with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, corn starch, salt, five spice powder, allspice, garlic powder, black pepper, and thyme. Stir well to combine.
Crack eggs into a separate bowl and whisk until combined.
Step 2: Coat Cauliflower Florets
Dip a few cauliflower florets at a time in the eggs, ensuring all sides are well coated; shake off excess. Transfer the florets to the almond meal mixture and toss until thoroughly coated. Line cauliflower florets up on prepare baking sheet, leaving enough space in between so they aren't touching.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the florets appear crispy and golden brown.
Step 3: Prepare Jerk Sauce
Meanwhile, prepare jerk sauce by combining yellow onion, green onion, soy sauce, oil, lime juice, honey, habanero, and spices in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until mixture is mostly smooth. Pour sauce into a large mixing bowl, and clean blender.
Step 4: Prepare Mojo Sauce
Next, prepare Mojo sauce by combining all ingredients in clean blender. Blend on high until mostly smooth (I like a few specks of herbs to still be visible). Pour sauce into a small serving bowl.
Step 5: Coat Cauliflower Wings in Jerk Sauce
Once cauliflower is roasted, use a set of tongs to transfer the florets to the bowl with jerk sauce. Use a rubber spatula to gently toss the "wings" in jerk sauce, ensuring each one is well-coated.
Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately with Mojo Sauce.
How to Avoid Soggy Cauliflower Wings:
Say sayonara to soggy cauliflower wings, because I have unlocked the key to CRISP. Here's how to prevent soggy cauliflower wings:
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Place a stainless steel wire baking/cooling rack overtop.
- Lightly spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray. (I use avocado oil spray to hold up to the high oven temperature.)
This method encourages 360º air circulation, ensuring the total floret gets crispy, as opposed to just the top.
- Gluten Free Cauliflower Wings: Luckily, the wings themselves are already gluten free, however to make the jerk sauce GF, use tamari in place of soy sauce.
- Buffalo Cauliflower Wings: In place of the jerk sauce, toss the cauliflower wings in homemade or store-bought buffalo sauce.
- BBQ Cauliflower Wings: After baking, brush the cauliflower wings with your favorite BBQ sauce.
How to Make-Ahead, Store, and Reheat:
- To Make Ahead: The mojo sauce can be made 3 days in advance. Refrigerate in a bowl or airtight container with plastic wrap pressed over the top. You can also chop the head of cauliflower into florets 1 or 2 days ahead, and store refrigerated.
- To Store: The cauliflower texture is best the day it is made, but the flavor will still be tasty leftover. Store cauliflower in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat: These cauliflower florets are best reheated in an air-fryer or toaster oven. They won't crisp up quite as much as when they were fresh, however it's the next best thing. Alternatively, place the wings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 8 minutes on each side at 400°F.
More Favorite Cauliflower Recipes to Try:
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review!
Jerk Cauliflower Wings with Mojo Sauce
- Large rimmed baking sheet
- Oven-Safe Cooling Rack
- Mixing bowls
- Blender or food processor
Jerk Cauliflower Wings
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
- ¾ cup almond meal/flour
- 2 Tbsp. corn starch (sub arrowroot starch)
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. five-spice powder, divided
- 1 tsp. ground allspice, divided
- 1 tsp. garlic powder, divided
- ¾ tsp. black pepper, divided
- ½ tsp. dried thyme, divided
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 medium scallions, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup lower-sodium soy sauce (sub tamari if making gluten free)
- 1 small habanero pepper, seeds and ribs removed (sub serrano pepper)
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tsp. honey
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ½ cup packed fresh cilantro
- ⅓ cup sour cream or plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove (sub ½ tsp. garlic powder)
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
- ½ tsp. ground coriander
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 450ºF and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place an oven-safe cooling rack overtop, and coat well with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine almond flour, corn starch, salt, ½ tsp. five spice powder, ½ tsp. allspice, ½ tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. black pepper, and ¼ tsp. thyme. Stir well to combine.Crack eggs into a separate bowl and whisk until combined.
- Dip a few cauliflower florets at a time in the eggs, ensuring all sides are well coated; shake off excess. Transfer the florets to the almond meal mixture and toss until thoroughly coated. Line cauliflower florets up on prepare baking sheet with rack, leaving enough space in between so they aren't touching. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the florets appear crispy and golden brown.
- Meanwhile, prepare jerk sauce by combining yellow onion, scallion, olive oil, soy sauce, habanero, lime juice, honey, nutmeg, and remaining ½ tsp. five spice powder, ½ tsp. allspice, ½ tsp. garlic powder, ¼ tsp. black pepper, and ¼ tsp. dried thyme in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until mixture is mostly smooth. Pour sauce into a large mixing bowl, and wipe blender clean.Next, prepare Mojo Sauce by combining all ingredients in blender. Blend on high until mostly smooth (I like a few specks of herbs to still be visible). Pour sauce into a small serving bowl.
- Once cauliflower is roasted, use a set of tongs to transfer the florets to the bowl with jerk sauce. Use a rubber spatula to gently toss the "wings" in jerk sauce, ensuring each one is well-coated. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately with Mojo Sauce.