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Buffalo Tofu Wings with Creamy Ranch Dip

Buffalo Tofu Wings with Creamy Ranch Dip

Tupelo Honey Cafe is one of Asheville’s more well-known restaurants, but until this summer, we haven’t had a chance to go there. But when we saw they had Buffalo tofu wings, we knew we had to stop there for lunch. The wings were completely worth it—they weren’t really wings, just tofu cut into sticks and most likely deep-fried. As soon as we finished eating, I starting dissecting the dish in my head, figuring out how I could make it at home.

Buffalo Tofu Wings
Deep-frying was out because I have deep-fryer-phobia, but I still wanted to get that chewy, crispy exterior, so I did a few different things to achieve that.

1) I froze the tofu. Freezing tofu changes its texture and makes it chewier.

2) I coated the tofu in cornstarch and pan-fried it in a little oil. Cornstarch is a great trick for making foods crisp without deep-frying. It works on sweet potato fries too!

3) The problem with the crispy cornstarch tofu is that once the tofu wings are tossed in the Buffalo sauce, the exterior gets soggy. The solution to this is to bake the wings until they crisp up again.

Buffalo sauce is typically made with a lot of butter. The butter helps cut the heat of the sauce a little bit. The thought of butter on tofu made me feel slightly queasy; I’ve read recipes using broth instead, but I opted to use melted coconut oil. Don’t worry—the wings don’t taste like coconut oil, but it makes these wings completely vegan.

Creamy Ranch Dip
The wings as I made them are spicy without being too spicy—I favor pleasantly spicy rather than painfully. You can toss the wings in additional sauce after they’ve baked or serve them with more sauce on the side if you prefer spicier wings. I whipped up a cashew-based ranch dressing to serve with the wings, but bottled works too if you want to save some time.

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Buffalo Tofu Wings with Creamy Ranch Dip

Buffalo Tofu Wings with Creamy Ranch Dip

A meatless version of Buffalo wings made with tofu. Ranch Dip recipe adapted from Salad Samurai‘s Back at the Ranch Dressing.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings as a main dish, 4 servings as an appetizer

Ingredients

Creamy Ranch Dip

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons white miso
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (I like parsley and dill, but whatever you have on hand works!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Buffalo Tofu Wings

  • 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, frozen and thawed, then pressed for at least 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

For serving

  • Celery sticks

Instructions

Make the ranch dip:

  1. Combine all ingredients through onion powder in the smallest bowl of a food processor or high speed blender. (Note that if you don’t have a high speed blender, you’ll want to soak the cashews for a few hours.) Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides, and add more hot water if needed, a tablespoon at a time. Stir in the herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until the wings are done.

Make the wings:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the tofu into 6 slices, then cut each slice in half lengthwise so you have 12 sticks. Place the tofu sticks in a shallow dish and sprinkle them with cornstarch, salt and pepper. Gently roll them to coat—they’ll break easily, so be careful!
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the tofu wings in the skillet and cook them on each side until lightly browned and crispy, 3-5 minutes on each side.
  4. Transfer the tofu to the baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot sauce and coconut oil until the oil is fully incorporated. Drizzle the sauce onto the tofu and gently toss to coat. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking time, until the tofu is crispy.
  5. Arrange the tofu wings on a plate with celery sticks. Serve with additional hot sauce, if desired, and ranch dressing.

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Millie | Add A Little
    August 27, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Yum! These look like an amazing alternative and I love tofu!

  • Reply
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    August 27, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Annnnd now I need to travel to Asheville, ASAP! I missed wings probably the most when I stopped eating meat, so this is perfect!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      August 27, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      You do! It’s the coolest city. I would totally move there for the restaurant scene alone.

  • Reply
    Christine @ Gotta Eat Green
    August 27, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Wow!! These ‘wings’ look incredible! I’m not one for spicy food but I think my husband would love this recipe.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      August 27, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      I think they would work with barbecue sauce too. Or even a teriyaki marinade type of sauce!

  • Reply
    Katie (The Muffin Myth)
    August 27, 2014 at 11:22 am

    These look amazing! Pinned, shared, and itching to make them already. Now I know what’s for dinner this weekend!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      August 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      I hope you like them! We have so much hot sauce to use up before moving, I might be making them again this weekend too.

  • Reply
    Andrea Vargas M
    August 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    OMG IM DEAD
    I was eating some of the baked BBQ tofu yesterday and I thought “I should try to make buffalo tofu, I wish OMV had a recipe”, AND HERE IT IS AH.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      August 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      In addition to being a food blogger, I’m also a mind-reading psychic in my spare time. 🙂

  • Reply
    Charity
    August 27, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    For me, these would DOMINATE in a competition with buffalo cauliflower. Need them in my life stat.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      August 27, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      I do love Buffalo cauliflower too though. Can we have both? 🙂

  • Reply
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
    August 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    I am super excited to try these! I have been looking for a fun new way to eat tofu and this sounds perfect. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Courtney @ The Fig Tree
    August 29, 2014 at 12:27 am

    I love going to restaurants, dissecting my favourite dishes and trying to re-create them at home. It drives me husband nuts, which makes it even more fun! *hehe* I will definitely try these tofu wings out! I’m slowly starting to like tofu after YEARS of hating it. I think this would be the perfect recipe to help push me over to the pro-tofu side.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      I hated tofu for a long time too, but recipes like this make me love it. It’s so versatile, you can do almost anything with it!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 30, 2014 at 10:10 am

    These look so delicious!! I love buffalo wings but with tofu!! My mouth is watering!

  • Reply
    Joanne
    August 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    My mouth is burning a little just THINKING about eating these. But in a really good way. I love that feeling.

  • Reply
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie
    September 2, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Love this! I am within driving distance to Asheville (in Knoxville) but we also have a Tupelo Honey Cafe here too! I have not noticed these on the menu but I must try. Or I’ll just make my own wish your recipe!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 4, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Maybe they just have it on the menu in Asheville! But if they have them, you need to order them because they are GOOD.

  • Reply
    Jordan Coeyman
    September 17, 2014 at 10:05 am

    These buffalo tofu wings look perfect for football season. I can’t wait to try this recipe for my next Eagles party. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Deryn @ Running on Real Food
    September 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Oh my gosh, I must make these asap! I love this flavour combo. I didn’t know about using cornstarch for crispiness! My tofu usually comes out pretty good, but these look so crispy and delicious! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Tallya
    November 10, 2014 at 1:34 am

    I dont eat soy if i can help it… can i leave out the miso in the ranch recipe?

  • Reply
    Marianela
    July 17, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Delicious recipe ! My husband and I loved it. We added a teaspoon of agave nectar to the hot sauce and coconut oil mixture and next time we will try doubling the coating to make the tofu wings more gooey .
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    December 29, 2015 at 10:30 am

    I’m excited to make this recipe! When you froze the tofu, did you do so after or before pressing it?

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 29, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      I freeze it before pressing.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 11, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    These are delicious! I made them for dinner tonight. They came out a little oily because my oil didn’t cover the pan I had and after 8 of them my oil was almost gone (I used the smallest pan I could find) and I had to keep adding it. Any suggestions on how to make them less oily? It’s my first time cooking tofu so any suggestions are welcome 🙂

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      April 12, 2016 at 9:07 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! I haven’t had that problem with the oil and I cook tofu like this frequently. The oil is really just for making sure the tofu doesn’t stick and giving it a crust, so you only need enough to coat the pan lightly. If it doesn’t cover it when you swirl it, you can use a basting brush to make sure it’s evenly-coated.

  • Reply
    Erin
    June 15, 2016 at 12:02 am

    This is such a great recipe! I didn’t freeze my tofu, but the texture was still perfect. Only other change I made was adding smoked paprika to the cornstarch. I served the wings with roasted broccoli and sweet potato fries. I’ll definitely make this again.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      June 20, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      Thank you for your comment – I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Reply
    Lacy
    July 2, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    I am the only one in my house who loves spicy food so this was so awesome to make buffalo for me and bbq for the rest. Thank you! Best recipe I have found thus far and so easy!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      July 5, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      Thank you for your comment – I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Reply
    Neli
    December 26, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    These were delicious. I drained extra firm tofu overnight. Then I froze it and cut it into strips while partially froze to speed up the process. I, floured them without any crumbling, fried them in a little bit of canola oil and baked them after brushing them with the hot sauce mixture. Not only were they delicious, they were beautiful. Must serve these to guests sometime. A winner.

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