This delicious vegan alternative to chicken wings might seem unusual if you regularly eat meat, but I’d like to challenge you to try this easy and satisfying dish for yourself. Guaranteed to appeal to even the pickiest eater, it’s a perfect meal choice for Meatless Mondays.
Our plant-based recipe series serves up some personal family favorites to inspire people to make healthier food choices. The advantages of consuming more fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds in your diet include increased energy levels throughout the day, more restful sleep at night, better digestion, regulated body weight, and an improved immune system, just to name a few.
The Impact of Meat Production
The food you eat impacts every aspect of your life. A plant-based or vegan diet is an easy way to help reduce your risk of serious diseases like cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type-2 diabetes. Not to mention that the environmental impact of meat and dairy production has become an issue we can no longer ignore - as the effects of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock farming are higher than the entire transportation systems globally - all the cars, busses, trucks, trains, and planes in the whole world (1)! That's a staggering issue!
A few interesting facts about the reduction of meat consumption that may surprise you:
- Around 75% of the world's agricultural land is used for livestock production.
- It takes 1700 gallons of water to produce only a single pound of beef. - that’s around 48 full bathtubs.
- The energy used to produce just one-quarter pound-beef burger is enough to power your iPhone for a whole 6 months.
Those are some crazy statistics! And it's just the tip of the iceberg. The health, ethical, and environmental implications of meat and dairy consumption are far-reaching.
You might not think that you can make much of a difference, but you’d be mistaken -- every small action you take to reduce your carbon footprint has an impact, and reducing your meat intake can save you a lot of money as an added benefit.
Considering that a pound of beef costs between $4.50 and $6.40, and the weighted average for fresh veggies comes in at only $0.64 per pound, the cash saved might make Meatless Mondays a real lifesaver for those on a tight budget.
2 eggs or egg replacement
1 cauliflower-- cut into bite-sized chunks
1 Cup of almond flour
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of paprika
Mix garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika with the almond flour.
Dip the cauliflower pieces in egg and then roll them in the flour mixture to coat well.
Place the coated cauliflower on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes @ 400F.
These crispy-coated cauliflower pieces are a tasty snack on their own, served with sweet potato fries and our delectable homemade honey-mustard sauce or as a side dish accompaniment to almost anything you can imagine.
Honey Mustard Sauce
1/4 Cup of Raw Honey
1/4 Cup of Mustard
1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of sweet chili
Mix all the above ingredients and serve with your cauliflower vegan wings.
This honey-mustard sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days and also makes an amazing salad dressing.
Now that you have a happy family, with satisfied tummies, let's see what makes these vegan cauliflower wings so good for you.
Shining the spotlight on the ingredients
Cruciferous veggies are packed with vitamins and minerals that play a protective role in your body, some of which are unique to this group of vegetables, including cauliflower, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, arugula, cabbage, and bok choy.
Healthy food preparation methods, such as steaming and baking, shouldn't be overlooked. It keeps their nutrient contents intact and reduces exposure to unhealthy oils and fats.
These versatile vegetables have recently taken centre stage in the media, particularly as a substitute for many traditionally carb-heavy foods. Cauliflower mash and cauliflower rice are extremely nutritious alternatives to potatoes and white rice, and the trend seems to show no sign of abating any time soon. You can even order pizza with a cauliflower crust!
Cauliflower is low in calories and fat and an excellent source of vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium; and contains vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin K.
A cup of cauliflower can provide 77% of your daily Vitamin C requirement, 20% of your daily vitamin K needs, and around 10% of your daily requirements for folate and Vitamin B.
The major bioactive compounds found in cruciferous vegetables are indole-3-carbinol and DIM, broken down by digestion into 3,3′-diindolylmethane, most commonly collectively referred to as DIM. If you’ve heard of DIM before, you might also know that its immune-boosting and cancer-protective properties are found mainly in cruciferous vegetables. They offer many health benefits, including detoxing your body and balancing hormones, specifically excess estrogen. This is important for everyone, as excess estrogen can wreak havoc on the delicate endocrine balance of both men and women (2).
Preliminary studies have shown DIM may be beneficial to our health in several ways(3):
- Lowers toxins produced by your body’s natural metabolism
- It fights the effect of Xenoestrogens, any natural or synthetic compound introduced into the body that mimics the effects of estrogen or promotes its production.
- Boosts antioxidants
- Promotes weight loss
- Assists in memory function
- Improves mood
- Reduces PMS symptoms in women
- Supports cardiovascular health
- Promotes better muscle development
- Improves prostate health in men
Fantastic health benefits aside, cauliflower can be used in many inventive ways and is a low-cost way to boost your family’s intake of high-quality nutrients.
Almond flour is an excellent choice if you're following a keto, low-carb, or paleo diet or if you need to avoid gluten. Unlike regular flour, almond flour is gluten-free, so it’s an ideal substitute for your cooking and baking needs if you are gluten intolerant.
Two conditions related explicitly to gluten are Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Symptoms of both are triggered by consuming food products containing gluten.
Gluten-Related Gut Issues
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where gluten consumption causes inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestines. Management of this condition requires a strict gluten-free diet to avoid symptoms and allow the intestines time to heal.
Symptoms of celiac disease can vary between adults and children.
Children mainly experience digestive issues such as:
- chronic diarrhea
- stomach pain
- abdominal bloating and gas
- nausea and vomiting
While most adults experience the above digestive symptoms as well, they also tend to display more far-reaching effects on the body, such as:
- joint pain
- frequent headaches
- anxiety or depression and general low mood
- tingling in the hands and feet
- irregular menstrual periods
One of the reasons adults experience so many severe whole-body symptoms is that they continue to eat gluten-containing products without being aware that their symptoms can be alleviated by simply cutting them out of their diets. I’ve met some people who show gluten intolerance symptoms but have learned to live with them throughout their lives, never considering the long-term effects on their bodies.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity
Some people experience symptoms of feeling unwell after eating gluten but don’t have celiac disease or wheat allergies. This is an ongoing challenge for doctors, as the mechanisms of how gluten is causing their symptoms are still unclear.
Common symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity include:
- physical fatigue
- brain fog (mental fatigue)
- abdominal pain, bloating, and gas
The treatment for this condition is the same as for celiac disease - avoid anything containing gluten.
This brings us back to almond flour which is an ideal choice if you're on a gluten-free diet. It offers a comparable amount of fiber and protein and contains monounsaturated fatty acids, the healthy fats you want to include more of in your diet.
Humans have used honey for centuries as a nutritional product, traditional medicine, and a treatment for many conditions, ranging from wound healing to asthma and throat infections. Prized for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, honey is still considered a superfood today, as modern science explores and confirms many of its health benefits (4).
The humble honey bee produces this deliciously sweet, viscous liquid from the nectar of various flowers, pollinating up to 80% of the world's food crops in the process. It's a rich source of phenols and other antioxidants, which are potent protective and healing agents.
Pasteurized honey undergoes a filtering and heat-treatment process that makes it smooth and clear, but also destroys most of the enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids that make it so valuable as a health booster.
Raw honey, on the other hand, is bottled straight from the hive. While raw/unprocessed honey might not look as appealing to some, as it contains pollen particles, wax, etc., it boasts an impressive nutritional content of 31 assorted vitamins and minerals, 22 amino acids, and bioactive plant compounds.
Honey is a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect your body from the harmful effects of free radicals. Some of the natural antioxidants in honey include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Enzymes such as catalase and peroxidase
- Carotenoid derivatives
Honey can replace refined sugar in most cooking and baking and is a firm favorite among the health-conscious who like a sweetened cup of coffee or tea. The health benefits of using honey speak for themselves. Perhaps it’s time to give up that sugar and switch to honey as a natural sweetener that offers real health benefits and tastes fantastic!
Thank you, honeybees!
I hope you enjoyed this installment in our plant-based recipe series and perhaps gained some info to help you make more mindful choices about food.
Eating for better health should be a priority for all of us. There are many ways to improve our immunity and reduce the impact of everyday ailments by changing how we look at food. We should strive to include the highest quality fresh ingredients wherever we can. Don't be afraid to try new ways of cooking and limit sugar, refined carbohydrates, and additives.
Hippocrates was famous for saying, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This still holds true today.
Perhaps now more than ever, we need to take advantage of food's protective and healing power. Global levels of illness caused by poor nutrition are at an all-time high, and we’re more vulnerable than ever to new viruses and bacteria that pose a serious threat to our health.
Take charge of your health. It’s one of those things we only appreciate when it’s gone!
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.