Chicken wings are the quintessential bar food — but an obvious off-limits appetizer for vegetarians and vegans. With a growing interest in veg options, eateries are using seitan and cauliflower to replace the poultry, making wings fair game for everyone. Here are ten vegan wings you'll want to fly in for right now.
Fire on the Mountain3801 West 32nd Avenue
The seitan used for wings at Fire on the Mountain is made fresh daily and designed to replicate the texture of traditional wings. Bite sized pieces are lightly fried and smothered in housemade sauces, ranging from a traditional extra-hot Buffalo to a cool lime-cilantro. Other finishes include spicy peanut, bourbon-chipotle, Jamaican jerk, raspberry-habanero, and the tongue-blistering El Jefe. Cool down the heat with a creamy (but dairy-free) vegan ranch.
The goal of ShaWING, a Denver-based food truck, was to make Buffalo-style bar food for Denver. For the veg substitute, owner Chris Rizzo fries cauliflower florets, without breading, in canola oil. The simple, crispy wings are tossed in butter-free buffalo sauce cranked up with cayenne. The cauliflower wings are served along crispy carrot sticks for more healthy crunch.
City, O’ City206 East 13th Avenue
Of course, Denver’s iconic vegetarian restaurant is going to come strong with its wing game. The faux flappers here are made from seitan and can be tossed in a traditional spicy Buffalo sauce or a slightly sweet barbecue sauce. Served as an appetizer, they come with vegan ranch and celery, but the wings also make another appearance in the eatery's Buffalo wrap, tossed in Caesar dressing and showered with greens.
Collision Brewing Company & Restaurant1436 Skyway Drive, Longmont
The majority of the massive menu at Collision Brewing can be made vegan by swapping in dairy-free queso, vegan sour cream or a plant-based protein, such as miso-ginger tofu or an Impossible burger patty. The brewpub offers both seitan and cauliflower for wing options, both tossed in a variety of housemade sauces: barbecue, Buffalo, maple-chipotle, mango jerk, sweet Thai chili, mustard glaze or the zingy Bangin’ sauce.
Watercourse Foods837 East 17th Avenue
The wings at Watercourse Foods fit right in with a completely vegan menu loaded with hearty comfort foods such as burgers, nachos, pasta and mac and cheese. Choose between gluten-free cauliflower wings or seitan wings, then get saucy with house Buffalo, Memphis-inspired barbecue or orange glaze. Vegan ranch dressing and celery come alongside.
Vital Root3915 Tennyson Street
Vital Root’s menu is all about healthy food that’s unexpected, fresh and unique. The Korean BBQ Veggie Wings start with broccoli and cauliflower that get smoked for a boost of flavor. After that, they're sauced and pelted with sesame seeds and "toga-ranch-i," a tangy take on Japanese togarashi seasoning.
Vegan Van serves fast food with a meatless twist, including cheeseburgers, bacon burgers, corn dogs, meatball heroes and tacos. Housemade seitan is turned into wing form and tossed in either Buffalo or barbecue sauce. As is customary, these bites are served with celery, carrots and ranch. Find the truck at Nooch Vegan Market, Alternation Brewing and Cerebral Brewing; follow @denverveganvan on Instagram for other locations.
Native Foods Cafe680 South Colorado Boulevard, Glendale
Native Foods serves only plant-based foods in a casual setting. The restaurant’s take on chicken comes as wings or in sandwiches, wraps and salads. The wings, made from a proprietary plant-based blend (that's not gluten-free) can either be grilled or crispy and are served with a choice of Buffalo, spicy Korean or Thai chili-cilantro sauce. The wings are served on a bed of shredded cabbage, carrots and green onion with a side of ranch.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Support Our Journalism
The Migration Taco truck creates tasty tacos minus meat, dairy and eggs. The Buffalo tacos are a customer favorite, filled with seitan Buffalo wings, crisp red cabbage, radishes, creamy blue-cheese dressing and green onions. Find out where Migration is dishing up wings at @migrationtaco on Instagram.
The Veggie Yeti food truck was created with the goal of providing tasty plant-based food for both vegans and carnivores. Sample the wings in the Buffalo cauliflower tacos at Belmar in Lakewood, the Golden Farmers' Market and Alternation Brewing, among other locations. You can track down the Yeti on Instagram at @theveggieyeti5280.