The best vegan chicken and waffles start with a thick and chewy Belgian waffle that’s topped with the crispiest oven fried cauliflower chicken, and then drenched with warm maple syrup. This classic Southern dish is one of our favorite brunch recipes, although it’s pretty awesome for dinner, too. This friend, is the ultimate vegan comfort food.
There are lots of ways to make vegan fried chicken.
You can make our seitan chicken, or you can use tofu, or even mushrooms. Or, you can use cauliflower.
Our cauliflower chicken is what we chose for this vegan chicken and waffle recipe because it’s easy, healthy, and you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs to make it GF.
This recipe was inspired by the mouthwatering vegan chicken and waffles that we ordered at Watercourse in Denver, CO.
If you’ve had them, you know. If you haven’t, you should.
Because we live in Chicago and can’t just order up a plate of this delicious brunch food whenever we want, we had to figure out how to make our own.
We did, and it’s fabulous!
If you love savory breakfast food with a hint of sweet, you’re going to devour these!
Crispy Fried Vegan Cauliflower
To make our vegetarian chicken and waffles, you’ll want to start by making the oven fried cauliflower.
This is so easy, and it’s healthier than deep frying because we don’t use a lot of oil in the recipe.
How do you make cauliflower taste like chicken?
It’s all about the spices.
We use a chicken seasoning blend that gives the breading a chicken like flavor.
To start, you’ll want to remove the leaves and the core from the cauliflower, then break off the florets.
We like to use the biggest florets because they just look so great on top of the waffles. However; small florets will taste just as good, so make a lot.
Once you’ve broken down the cauliflower into florets, dip a floret in the vegan egg and milk bath.
Next, roll the floret in the flour mixture until it’s fully coated and then dip it back into the egg wash.
Now, roll the floret in the breadcrumbs until it’s fully coated and place it on the baking sheet.
Continue with the rest of the florets and then spray them with a light coat of vegetable oil and bake until they’re golden brown and crispy.
Vegan Buttermilk Waffles
While the cauliflower is baking, make the waffles.
We like to make Belgian waffles for this dish because they’re so big and fluffy, and they make the perfect base for the cauliflower chicken.
You can use a regular waffle iron, and they’ll be just as good, so don’t worry about a thing.
Preheat your waffle iron.
To make the waffles, start by whisking apple cider vinegar or lemon juice into your favorite plant-based milk.
This is how we make vegan buttermilk. The lemon gives the milk a sour flavor and it curdles it, which makes it thicker.
Let the milk sit while you whisk the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Once you’ve whisked the dry ingredients together, and the buttermilk, egg replacer, canola oil, and vanilla to the flour mixture and stir until the batter is completely combined.
Brush the waffle iron with a coat of vegetable oil to prevent the batter from sticking and add the batter to the iron.
Don’t overfill it or the batter will leak out of the sides.
Cook them according to the instructions on your iron, or until steam stops coming out of the sides.
Put the maple syrup in a small saucepan and heat it. This is the best way to enjoy maple syrup.
Now start building your chicken and waffles.
The waffle goes first, then top it with the vegan cauliflower chicken, and drench it with warm maple syrup.
If you like spicy food, add a bit of hot sauce or cayenne pepper.
Make it Ahead of Time
You can make the oven fried cauliflower ahead of time.
Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheat in the oven so the breading crisps up.
Freeze it in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat until the breading is crispy.
You can also freeze the waffles for up to 3 months, but we suggest making them just before serving for the best texture.
More Savory Vegan Brunch Recipes You’ll Love
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The Best Vegan Chicken & Waffles
- waffle iron
- For the Cauliflower Chicken
- 1 whole cauliflower
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp ground thyme
- ½ tsp ground oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp poultry seasoning we use Weber Grill’s mixture
- 3 tbsp Follow Your Heart Egg Vegan 4 oz ">vegan egg we use JUST egg (SEE NOTE)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plant-based milk anything but coconut milk will work
- Vegetable oil spray
- For the Waffles
- DRY INGREDIENTS
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp finely ground sea salt
- WET INGREDIENTS
- Egg replacer for the equivalent of 2 eggs SEE NOTE
- 1 tbsp canola oil + extra to brush on the waffle iron
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plant milk we don’t recommend coconut milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup maple syrup For best results, serve it warm.
- Make the cauliflower chicken first.
- For the Cauliflower Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F (204˚C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easier cleanup.
- Remove the core from the cauliflower and break or cut the individual florets from the head. If the florets are too large, cut them in half.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, thyme, oregano, and salt and pepper until fully combined.
- In another medium bowl, whisk the panko breadcrumbs and poultry seasoning until fully combined.
- In a third medium bowl, whisk the vegan egg and plant-based milk together until fully combined.
- Dip a cauliflower floret in the egg and milk, then roll in the flour mixture, then dip in the egg mixture again, and roll in the breadcrumbs until fully coated. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining florets. Give the florets enough space so they don’t touch. If they touch, they’ll likely steam and won’t get as crispy.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until golden and crispy, then turn them over and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until they’re evenly crispy and browned. The cauliflower should be fork tender.
- For the Waffles
- Whisk the 1 ½ cups of unsweetened plant milk and 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) together and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Whisk the 2 cups of flour, 2 tsp of baking powder, ¾ tsp of baking soda, 1 tbsp of sugar, and ¼ tsp salt (omit if you chose the applesauce egg replacer) together in a large bowl. Make sure the ingredients are completely combined.
- Stir the egg replacer, vegan buttermilk, 1 tbsp canola oil, and 1 tsp vanilla extract into the dry mixture until it’s combined.
- Don’t overdo it or the waffles will turn out tough.
- Heat the waffle iron and brush with a light layer of oil to prevent the waffles from sticking.
- Fill the iron with waffle batter (we use an ice cream scoop or a ladle to scoop out the batter, don’t over fill or the batter will spill down the sides) and close the lid. Follow the cooking time for your iron.
- Generally, when the waffles stop steaming, they’re done, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
- They should be a light golden brown and crispy on the outside.
- If you’re making waffles for a group, warm the oven at 200˚F (93˚C) and put the waffles in the oven to stay warm.
Use JUST egg or Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg and follow the directions on the box for 3 tbsp.
To make this recipe gluten-free, replace the flour with cornstarch or gluten-free all-purpose flour. Replace the breadcrumbs with gluten-free breadcrumbs.
To make this oil-free, omit the oil, just know that they won’t turn out as crispy and the color won’t be as golden. For the Buttermilk Waffles
EGG REPLACER OPTIONS
JUST egg and Follow Your Heart produce the fluffiest waffles, followed by the apple sauce.
Use 6 tbsp JUST egg.
Follow the instructions on the box if using Follow Your Heart vegan egg.
1 large mashed banana
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce whisked with 1 tsp baking powder.
2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp water, let sit for 15 minutes. The cauliflower chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheat in the oven so the breading crisps up. Storage Freeze it in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat until the breading is crispy. You can also freeze the waffles for up to 3 months, but we suggest making them just before serving for the best texture.