Cranberry Balsamic Glazed Cauliflower Bites

5 from 5 votes
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Cranberry Balsamic Cauliflower Wings are great gluten free appetizers for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or a tasty veggie side dish any time. They are also a way to use up leftover cranberries. Everyone from vegans to carnivores will adore this sweet, tangy, sticky glaze on these baked cauliflower bites.

Cranberry Balsamic Cauliflower Wings Recipe Image with Title

This post was originally published in November 2014. As I have updated many of my old recipes to take out my long rambling stories and replace it with more useful information about the recipe, occasionally I come across posts like this. The ones I can just delete. If you don’t want to read, just keep scrolling to move on to the food or click that Jump to Recipe button at the top.

In a way, the house kind of felt like a leftover. A leftover from his old, bachelor life. Before we were dating. Even before we met. He decided to buy a house, he set the criteria, he did the searching, he picked it out. I’d say he decorated it, but other than a new bed, some old couches from his grad school apartment, and the lamps and curtains the previous owners had left, “decor” was pretty much nonexistent.

Over the course of the few years that we were dating, I helped out with some projects here and there, but as our wedding was approaching, the house still felt like just a house to me. To be perfectly honest, it felt like his house, not even our house. So would it, could it ever feel like home? I was willing to stay for a year or so. It was the practical decision. It made sense financially. Just a year.

But you know, sometimes leftovers, when you put a little thought and love into them, add a few new ingredients to bring in some completely different flavors, can become even better than the original meal. So good that you want to savor this new dish and make it last as long as possible.

Now, eight years later, a little reluctantly, we are leaving that house. Our house. Our home. We are leaving it so much better than what it used to be. And I don’t just mean the style.

Just after our wedding, we tackled the kitchen. As we tore down walls together, we also broke down any little things that we may not have known about each other until we got married and starting living together. And as we rebuilt it, we formed not only the heart and soul of our home, but also the heart and soul of our marriage. The very foundation was laid as we sanded and painted, and even as we blended our distinct styles and tastes to pick out all the details from the wood of the cabinets to our orange walls.

Room by room, we’ve gone through that house and it no longer resembles its former self. Whether it was a major renovation, or simply repainting or moving around some furniture, each room became exactly what we needed it to be at a given moment in time. A den to watch football with our friends was eventually filled with toys. A small bedroom that had been empty became an office and eventually a nursery. The large, empty living room, while not used often, was just the place display some mementos of our travels, and to hang our stockings, put up our Christmas tree, and set up folding tables for large holiday dinners. These changes made it a prettier house. The events and thoughts and emotions that were behind these changes made it our home.

It’s no longer leftovers. It’s become it’s own special, unique recipe. We started with what was there, added a pinch of paint, a dash of details, and stirred it together with a whole lot of love.

Now we are leaving our “leftovers” for someone else. I hope that they recognize what is already there, but mix in whatever is special to them to make it even more amazing. I hope that we can do the same in the house that right now is just our new house, but that I want to soon call “home”.

Closeup of cranberry glazed cauliflower

Cranberry Balsamic Glazed Cauliflower Wings Recipe

Speaking of leftovers, what can you make with the last bit of leftover cranberry sauce that nobody wants? These sweet and savory, tangy and tender, and oh, so delicious little cauliflower bites. They may be called “wings”, but even though you might not fool the meat-eaters, you’ll certainly get them to eat a few more veggies if you serve these.

Based on the Balsamic Glazed Cauliflower Wings that everyone loves, but I just had to sneak a little of that cranberry flavor in there. I love how the cranberry flavor complements the balsamic vinegar.

Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!

Ingredients

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cranberry sauce – use your favorite canned or homemade cranberry sauce. My Orange Cranberry Sauce adds a delicious zingy flavor to these wings.
  • Dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cauliflower – cut into florets. The smaller they are, the faster they will cook and softer they will get.
  • Flour – brown rice flour is what I use both to get the best texture for the coating and to make them gluten free. But you can use regular all-purpose flour.
  • Milk – I usually use unsweetened almond milk, but any dairy or non-dairy milk will work.

Directions overview – scroll to the recipe card for the full set of instructions

  1. Whisk the balsamic vinegar, cranberry sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 450°F, and spray a baking sheet with oil or cooking spray.
  3. Whisk together the flour and milk in a bowl and toss the cauliflower in the batter.
  4. Arrange the cauliflower on the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and toss gently to coat.
  6. Return to oven for another 10-15 minutes, flipping every 5 minutes.
Cranberry Cauliflower Bites on a plate

FAQs

Are cauliflower wings vegan?

If you use almond milk or another non-dairy milk, then this recipe is vegan.

Are cauliflower wings gluten free?

If you use the brown rice flour as I recommend, then yes, this version is gluten free too.

Why are my cauliflower wings soggy?

Your batter may be too runny. Try adding a bit less milk or a bit more flour to thicken it a bit.

Also be sure to bake them long enough before adding the sauce so that they don’t get mushy. After they are coated, again you’ll need to bake them long enough to make the glaze thick and sticky. Flipping them every five minutes helps.

Can you make cauliflower wings in the air fryer?

I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but it has worked for air fryer buffalo cauliflower bites.

Can you make them in advance?

You can reheat them in the oven if you make them a little while in advance. However, if you have leftovers, once you’ve stored them in the refrigerator, they do lose their crispy coating. They still taste yummy if reheated, but they are definitely going to be softer. Reheating in the air fryer might help this.

A white plate with a pile of cranberry balsamic cauliflower bites

Make it a meal

These cranberry balsamic cauliflower bites make a great appetizer, but they also work as a veggie side dish.

Fall dinner

Holiday appetizer party

Day after Thanksgiving dinner

Overhead of a plate of baked cauliflower wings next to a bowl of cranberry sauce

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Overhead of a plate of baked cauliflower wings next to a bowl of cranberry sauce
5 from 5 votes

Cranberry Balsamic Glazed Cauliflower Wings

A sweet, savory, sticky appetizer or side dish that everyone from vegans to carnivores will love. Gluten free, too!

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a few grinds black pepper

For the cauliflower:

  • One large head cauliflower
  • ½ cup flour I used brown rice flour, but I have seen similar recipes where regular all purpose flour was used
  • ½ cup milk of choice I used almond milk

Instructions

For the sauce:

  • Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

For the cauliflower:

  • Preheat your oven to 450°F, and spray a baking sheet with oil or cooking spray.
  • Cut the cauliflower into florets. The smaller they are, the faster they will cook and softer they will get.
  • Whisk together the flour and milk in a bowl.
  • Toss the cauliflower in the batter until thoroughly coated.
  • Arrange the cauliflower on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly less done than you want them.
  • Remove from the oven and pour the sauce over the cauliflower. Toss gently.
  • Return to oven for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and gently flip and toss the cauliflower in the sauce on the sheet to coat.
  • Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, flipping again after 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

More Thanksgiving leftovers recipes

Main Dish:

Leftover Pie by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Stuffing Hash by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
Turkey & Caramelized Onion Risotto by kimchi MOM
Turkey with Creamy Mushroom Marsala Sauce by Casa de Crews
Moroccan Turkey Stew by What Smells So Good?
Peruvian Cilantro & Turkey Soup by The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Turkey & Butternut Squash Stew by Cooking Chat
Turkey Kreplach Soup by Panning the Globe
Turkey & Stuffing Crepes by Peaceful Cooking
Cranberry Apple Pecan Chicken Salad by NeighborFood
Herbed Turkey over Cornbread Waffles with Cranberry Sauce by All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Creamy Peanut Gochujang Pasta by Wallflour Girl
Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup by Take A Bite Out of Boca
Turkey Enchilada Pasta Bake by Curious Cuisiniere
Turkey Orzo Risotto by Family Foodie
Turkey Croquettes by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Side Dishes:

Cheesy Mashed Potato Croquettes by Noshing with the Nolands
Whipped Carrots with Sriracha Butter by Healthy Delicious
Cheesy Jalapeño Potato Cakes by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
Sweet Potato Casserole Muffins by Magnolia Days
Italian Mashed Potato Pancakes by The Weekend Gourme

Sandwiches:

Cranberry & Turkey Sandwich by The Redhead Baker
Monte Cristo Sandwich by Nik Snacks
Hot Brown Turkey Sandwiches by The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch
Sprouted Grain Turkey, Cranberry & Brie Panini by Amee’s Savory Dish
Turkey Cranberry Flatbread by Peanut Butter and Peppers

Condiments & Sauces:

Cranberry Vinaigrette by Nosh My Way
Leftover White Wine Syrup by Food Lust People Love

Dessert:

Banana Cheesecake with Pecan Graham Cracker Crust by Desserts Required
Gluten-Free Lemon Cake by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

41 Comments
  1. What a beautiful post! My husband and I will be leaving the apartment we’ve been calling home for the past 8 1/2 years this spring, and we’ve done a ton of work to it. It will be bittersweet. Your words really resonated with me.

    As an aside, you could probably get me to like cauliflower with this recipe! It looks delicious! (Liking cauliflower is one of my 2015 goals – I should start here!)

  2. 5 stars
    It’s so hard leaving a place with so many memories. I can relate, we have moved quite a bit and it’s always so hard. Good luck to you in your move and these “wings” sound delicious!!

  3. Awww, that was a sweet post :). And can I just say that you are the queen of cauliflower wings? These look amazing. One of these days I’ll get my bootie in gear and try making some (because I want to everytime I see some of yours).

  4. Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom)

    Lovely story Brianne! And now you are off to start a new chapter!

    We are big fans of cauliflower here so I need to try this recipe along with all your other cauliflower recipes!!

  5. Brianne, you are the queen of faux wings! These looks delectable! I love that you fixed up that bachelor house together and made it a family home, while getting to know each other. I wish you blessings in your new home and much joy. May you continue to learn about each other and to grow in love.

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