I have often lamented that there is no great delivery pizza in the Mission, but I do like Pizzeria on Valencia just fine if I’m feeling too lazy to go out and get pizza from one of the truly extraordinary pizza joints in the neighborhood. This, however, is not a post about pizza. This is all about the best thing from Pizzeria — the chicken wings. So far, they are the only great ones I’ve had in this city.

Vegan Buffalo Wings

There are times I have been accused of being a food snob, but my accusers are obviously unaware of my love of all things hot wing-related. This recipe came about one night when I made smashed pan-fried tofu. For some reason, my husband said, “You should make hot wings out of these.” I filed it away for later, but later never came until last night.

After a failed attempt to veganize a local favorite baked good (not telling what it is, still working on it for next time), I was at a loss for what to make for my column this week. My husband practically begged for vegan hot wings, so I popped off to Bi-Rite for some Hodo Soy and some locally made hot sauce. After all, a happy husband makes a me a happy cook, and hopefully it makes you a happy reader.

Tofu for Vegan Buffalo Wings

Ingredients for Tofu

  • 1 package medium-firm tofu
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried mustard
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • grapeseed oil for frying

Ingredients for Wing Sauce

  • ¼ cup vegan butter
  • 5 oz hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon red vinegar
  • pinch of salt

InstructionsSpices for Vegan Buffalo Wings

  • Slice tofu into 1-inch cutlets and drain in colander lined with either paper towels or lint-free cotton towels. Place a heavy bowl on top of the tofu, but be careful not to break the slices. Allow to drain for at least 30 minutes.
  • Mix flour, corn starch, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
  • In a separate dish, mix smoked paprika, mustard, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, melt “butter.” Once melted, whisk in hot sauce slowly (1/4 of the 5-oz bottle at a time).
  • Whisk in molasses and vinegar and allow the mixture to come to a low boil. Lower heat and reduce mixture for at least 5 minutes or until it reaches the desired thickness, then remove from heat.
  • Press remaining moisture from tofu and cut into strips one and a half inches thick.
  • Coat tofu sticks in spices, shake off excess, then coat in cornstarch mixture.
  • Very gently press down with the heel of your hand to flatten the strips. Dredge once more in corn starch mixture.Vegan Buffalo Wings
  • Over a moderately high flame, heat enough grapeseed oil to cover the full surface area of a large sauté pan. Add tofu strips and cook for two to three minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy.
  • Top with wing sauce and serve with celery sticks and your favorite vegan ranch dressing.