Baked Buffalo Tempeh Wings
Baked Buffalo Tempeh Wings- easy to make and packed with flavor, these tempeh wings make for the perfect plant-based appetizer or lunch! (soy-free and gluten-free option)
The first time we ever visited Asheville, we ate at a local vegetarian restaurant there called Rosetta’s. They’ve been in business for a while and serve up plenty of fantastic options but their tempeh wings have always had my heart. They’re so good, I have to get them every time we go back to Asheville, which is usually about 1-2 times per year. In other words, not enough!
Once I developed the recipe for these crispy baked tempeh fingers, I knew they could easily be made into buffalo wings by slathering them in copious amounts of sauce. Because my tempeh wings are baked and Rosetta’s are fried, the texture is slightly different but honestly these are pretty darn close and so much better for you. Served with homemade cashew ranch (or blue cheese if that’s your thing) they make for one bangin’ game time appetizer.
BUFFALO TEMPEH WING INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Tempeh- While soy-based tempeh is usually the easiest to find, there are some great soy-free alternatives on the market. I like a brand called Hempe which is made from chickpeas and hemp seeds but I’ve tested this recipe with both soy and chickpea-based tempeh and they both turned out great. Regardless of what your tempeh is made of, you’ll want to make sure you have at least 8-ounces for the recipe. Lightlife is my favorite brand of soy tempeh and is sold in 8-ounce packages while Hempe is sold in 12-ounce packages. So anywhere between 8 and 12-ounces is ideal.
- Chickpea Flour- To make the breadcrumbs stick to the tempeh we’re using a mixture of chickpea flour and water to create a vegan egg-like batter.
- Tamari and Vegetable Broth- A simple blend of tamari and vegetable broth create a marinade to infuse the tempeh with flavor. We’ll use a few tablespoons in the chickpea flour mixture for even more flavor.
- Panko Breadcrumbs- Panko breadcrumbs give the fingers a nice crispy texture. I haven’t tested this recipe with regular breadcrumbs or gluten-free panko but my suspicion is that it would work the same.
- Dried Oregano, Smoked Paprika, Garlic Powder and Onion Powder- These three seasonings are mixed together with the panko to add more flavor to the coating. While they are not totally necessary, I recommend adding them for optimal results.
- Spray Oil- A light spritz of oil helps keep the panko from burning as they cook. If you want to make them oil-free you can just keep an eye on the fingers as they cook and remove them before they start to burn.
- Buffalo Sauce– Because many store-bought buffalo sauces include butter, I came close to developing a homemade version, but then I found Primal Kitchen’s Dairy-Free Buffalo Sauce and it turned out to be pretty amazing. Feel free to go whichever route you want but buying it already made saves a lot of time.
HOW TO MAKE baked buffalo tempeh wings
- While this step is optional, I like to steam the tempeh before marinating as this step opens the pores and allows all of the flavor from the sauce to seep in. For me, this is a necessary step but if you don’t mind the taste of plain tempeh then you can skip this part.
- Slice into strips then coat in marinade and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. If you’re marinating it for a while, be sure to stir every so often and refrigerate as needed.
- Preheat your oven and line a baking sheet. Coat each tempeh strip in chickpea flour mixture then dredge with breadcrumbs and seasonings.
- Bake for 10-minutes then remove from the oven and toss each wing in buffalo sauce. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10-minutes. Serve warm with ranch and enjoy!
My favorite way to eat these is dipped in this vegan cashew ranch although they would also be great with vegan blue cheese dressing. For cashew ranch, I followed Nora Cook’s recipe and it turned out fantastic. We usually serve these with some crisp veggies like celery, carrots or broccoli but have also used leftovers to make sandwiches with crisp romaine.
Leftovers hold up well when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and should keep for at least one week.
Craving MORE TEMPEH?
- Easy Peanut Tempeh (this is my toddler’s favorite way to eat tempeh)
- Sheet Pan Cabbage Tempeh with Mustard Tahini Vinaigrette (one of our go-to dinner recipes)
- Vegan Tempeh Egg Roll Bowls
- Smoky Maple Tempeh Hash with Brussels Sprouts
- How to Make Tempeh Bacon
- Peanut Sauce Tempeh Lettuce Wraps
Baked Buffalo Tempeh Wings
- 8-12 ounces tempeh, sliced in ½-inch strips
- ¼ cup tamari, or soy sauce
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- ¼ cup chickpea flour
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- spray oil
- 8 ounces buffalo sauce, make sure it's dairy-free if vegan!
- Cut block of tempeh in half then place in a steamer basket. Bring to a low boil and steam for 10 minutes.
- In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the tamari and vegetable broth as your marinade.
- Once tempeh is done steaming, set aside and allow to cool for a few minutes before handling. Slice each block in ½-inch strips. Transfer strips to the bowl and stir until each piece is evenly coated. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight (if refrigerated).
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour and water until smooth. Add the breadcrumbs and seasonings (oregano, smoked paprika, onion and garlic powder) to a separate bowl and stir to combine.
- Place each marinated tempeh strip into the chickpea flour mixture and toss until evenly coated. Transfer to the bowl with breadcrumbs and toss until covered on both sides. Arrange on the baking sheet. Repeat this process until all of the tempeh wings are dredged and coated with breadcrumbs.
- Lightly spray the tempeh strips with oil then bake in the oven for 10 minutes on each side. Remove from oven.
- Pour buffalo sauce into a shallow bowl then, using a fork or tongs, transfer each wing to the bowl and toss until evenly coated. Transfer back to baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm with cashew ranch and enjoy!