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Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Add some delicious flavor to your lunch or dinner meal with a spicy plant-based chicken sandwich made from cauliflower topped with simple ingredients and a homemade herb aioli sauce.

Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

This Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich is just as good (if not better) than the real thing. In true Southern fashion, this sandwich offers a great kick of spicy flavor, crispy "meat", simple toppings, but loads of intense umami. The perfect crowd-pleasing sandwich for weeknights or entertaining or just a savory lunch.

Nashville-Style Hot Cauliflower Sandwich

There's something so satisfying about a good sandwich, ya'll. I don't know if it's the Southerner in me, but I'm such a sucker for sandwiches, pastas, chicken, and most things that include cheese-----although I'm intentional about reducing dairy. Haha.

Oh and then there's pizza too. Ugh----I'm just all about big flavors and bold combos. 

Of course, I’m not one to stick to the same-old classic sandwich or burger. I love to take my sandwiches over the top with flavor, toppings and texture without weighing you down and this recipe for Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich is just that:

  • Hearty meaty cauliflower bites flavored with intense homemade Nashville Hot sauce
  • Freshly shredded red cabbage for a soft crunch
  • Creamy, herby aioli sauce to infuse the sandwich with more flavor
  • Toasted buns and your favorite additional toppings to round things out

Nashville-Style Hot Cauliflower Sandwich

How to Make Vegan Nashville Hot Sandwiches

This recipe has a few different components. I recommend making things in the following order:

  1. Cauliflower bites made in the oven
  2. Nashville Hot sauce on the stove
  3. Finally, whip up the vegan herb aioli sauce

And serve!

Nashville-Style Hot Cauliflower Sandwich

Crispy, crunchy cauliflower florets coated in a spicy and sweet Southern Nashville Hot sauce. Everyone (vegetarian and not) will be eager to dig into these bites as a snack or in this sandwich.

Plus, this recipe isn’t just for this sandwich. These hot and sticky cauliflower bites are endlessly versatile! From grain bowls to pizzas, you can enjoy this flavorful roasted cauliflower in so many delicious ways. 

Tricks to The Crispiest Cauliflower Wings

To make sure your wings get as crispy as possible, follow these simple tips:

  • Make sure each wing has plenty of space on the baking sheet. The airflow helps things crisp up. 
  • Make sure you’re using fresh, not soggy or stale, breadcrumbs. 
  • Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Let the wings cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving them. 

Nashville-Style Hot Cauliflower Sandwich

Ingredients for Nashville Hot Cauliflower

Here’s what you need to make these baked cauliflower bites:

  • Cauliflower. Cut the head into evenly-sized medium florets. 
  • Bread crumbs. You can make your own seasoned breadcrumbs for the most crispiness. See the notes below the recipe for how-to. Store-bought organic panko also works. 
  • Flour. I use organic all-purpose from Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur's. 
  • Almond milk. Or another plant-based milk (unsweetened). 
  • Pure maple syrup. My favorite is from the Coomb's Family.
  • Spices. I use red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika. 

Nashville-Style Hot Cauliflower Sandwich

Dairy-Free Herb Aioli Sauce

To round out the sweet and spicy flavors in your Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches, don’t skip the creamy and savory herb aioli sauce. I keep it vegan because I’m avoiding too much dairy and of course, this recipe is all vegan.

You can use regular mayo if you’re not avoiding dairy. Otherwise, this sauce is quick and easy to make with fresh and powdered garlic, lemon juice, and a bit of dried dill, oregano, and cilantro. 

If you love this creamy herb aioli sauce as much as I do, try it on:

Nashville-Style Hot Cauliflower Sandwich

Topping Ideas 

Pile these flavorful Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches with your favorite toppings, including:

  • Tomato slices
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Pickles
  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Red onion
  • Slaw

More Must-Try Burger Recipes

Nashville-Style Hot Cauliflower Sandwich

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you make these Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich or any other recipe from us, be sure to tag us on Instagram at #Orchidsandsweettea so that we can share the love, rate, comment below, + share!

Nashville-Style Hot Cauliflower Sandwich

Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

4.50 from 2 votes
Add some delicious flavor to your lunch or dinner meal with a spicy plant-based chicken burger made from cauliflower topped with simple ingredients and a homemade herb aioli sauce.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Serves: 4 Burgers

Ingredients

CAULIFLOWER BITES:

  • 1 head of Cauliflower, chopped in medium chunks
  • 3 cups bread crumbs
  • ¾ cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Almond milk
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt + black pepper, each

NASHVILLE HOT SAUCE (VEGAN):

  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsps cayenne pepper (For less heat, reduce to 1 Tbsp!)
  • 2 Tbsps organic brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tsps garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce

HERB AIOLI:

  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weeds
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried cilantro

BURGER:

  • 4 organic burger buns, toasted
  • Shredded red cabbage
  • Dill pickles, organic

Instructions

TO MAKE THE CAULIFLOWER BITES:

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. NOTE: Doing this step is a MUST to prevent sticking.
  • In a medium bowl, add the milk, flour, maple syrup, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes, and whisk together until fully combined. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, add bread crumbs and set aside also. 
  • Now, dip each cauliflower into batter (shaking off any excess) and then toss into bread crumbs. Then lay each cauliflower side by side on the baking sheet (about an inch apart). Repeat until all cauliflower are coated.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and “crunchy” looking. NOTE: If not crispy enough, turn on broil and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

TO MAKE THE HERB AIOLI:

  • In a bowl, add together the vegan mayo, mince garlic, lemon juice, salt, dill, oregano, and cilantro and whisk until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.

TO MAKE THE NASHVILLE HOT SAUCE:

  • Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk together until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and let everything simmer for about 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Once thickened enough to desired consistency, remove from heat and let cool.
  • Once cauliflowers are crisp, remove from oven and toss them in the sauce until fully coated.

ASSEMBLY:

  • To assemble, prepare your burger buns, top with 3-4 cauliflower bites, shredded cabbage, dill pickles, and the herb aoili sauce. Serve with your favorite side----fries, sweet potato fries, salad, or whatever. 
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE (CAULIFLOWER BITES): Best if consumed within the same day. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in oven when ready to serve.
  • HOMEMADE BREADCRUMBS: To make your own breadcrumbs, simply grind 1-2 cups of cubed bread into a food processor until finely chopped. Place crumbs onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for 5-6 minutes in the oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally. Once brown + crisp, remove from oven and let cool. Continue recipe steps and store remaining breadcrumbs in a tightly sealed container. 
  • TOPPINGS: You can always add your favorite toppings such as greens, tomatoes, pineapple, etc. 

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich.

Shanika

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  1. Oh my goodness, these sandwiches are amazing! The breading is perfectly crispy and seasoned. I used a little less than half of the cayenne called for; I'm glad, because that was plenty spicy for me! For the aioli, I subbed vegan plain yogurt for the mayo, simply because I'm not a fan of mayo. I can't wait to make these sandwiches again!

    • Hi Coby! I'm so glad that you loved these! They are definitely my go-to! Adjusting the spice is one of the things that I recommend always when needed! Thanks so much for choosing to make my recipe! 🙂

  2. These sandwiches are amazing. I love the breading on the cauliflower. Cooked in the air fryer on 375 for 15 min or so. The sauce calls for 3T of cayenne and I used 2T….it’s still WAY too spicy for us. Really wishing I would have used 1T as the batter is also spicy with the pepper flakes.

    • Hi Brittney! I'm so happy to hear that you love these sandwiches! So sorry to hear that it was too spicy! I do hope that you get a chance to try it again with less cayenne pepper! 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches. I made a Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich recently and it was delicious.