Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings [Whole30 compliant!]

 Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser

While I generally feel my best eating a mostly paleo diet, I don't have any intense sensitivities or allergies myself. I can indulge in a warm piece of bread alongside my soup or a few slices of cheese every once in awhile. When I eat the entire loaf of bread or block of cheese then yeah, I definitely have problems. Otherwise, I'm generally an omnivore and love learning about, cooking, and eating all kinds of foods (which is why you'll find everything from vegan to Whole30 to dairy-full recipes on this site!). 

That being said, after a few weeks of trial and error, I realized my nursing son was having issues when I ate wheat and dairy. To try to keep him feeling as good as possible, I'm back to cutting down on the bread and cheese. Unfortunately, that's just in time for the Super Bowl, then March Madness, and eventually baseball season in a couple months. Sporting events are not exactly the first place I look for wheat-free and dairy-free dishes. 

The more I learn, though, the more I'm able to find and create recipes for incredible game-day food that doesn't hijack my digestive system (and my son's). Wings have become a recent favorite. They're relatively easy to make, and you can create a million variations on the same theme. 

It's citrus season, so these wings get a sweet and sticky sauce made with fresh orange juice and naturally sweetened with dates. The sesame seeds may seem like a superfluous add-on, but trust me, they're not. They add the perfect amount of toasty flavor and crunchy texture. Don't skip them! 

Last night, I made the final test batch before posting this recipe. My husband and I stood in the kitchen and polished off every last bite. Our sauce-covered hands and faces were hardly picturesque, but I can confidently say these are literally finger-licking good. 

Enjoy!

 Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
 Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
 Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
 Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
 Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
 Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
 Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
 Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser

Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings
Yields about 4 servings

Wings

3/4 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 Tablespooons clarified butter (or regular, unsalted butter)
2 pounds chicken wings, split at joints and tips removed if necessary
2-3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
Orange sauce (see recipe below)
Green onions, chopped (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a shallow dish, mix together the almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and pepper.

Add the clarified butter to a rimmed baking sheet, and place the baking sheet in the oven until the butter melts. Remove from the oven.

Dip the chicken wings in the almond flour mixture, turning to coat thoroughly. Place on the butter-coated baking sheet. Repeat until all the wings are dredged and on the baking sheet, being careful not to crowd the pan. (Use two baking sheets if necessary.)

Bake for 40-50 minutes, flipping the wings halfway through. The wings are done when they’re browned, cooked through, and crisp (internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees).

While the wings cook, add the sesame seeds to a small sauté pan set over low to medium heat. Stir the seeds constantly until they’re browned and toasted. Remove from the heat and set aside. Make the orange sauce (see recipe below).

When the wings are done cooking, toss them together in a large bowl with ¾ of the orange sauce. Reserve ¼ of the sauce for serving.

Transfer the wings to a serving bowl or platter. Top with the toasted sesame seeds, and garnish with a few chopped green onions. Serve with the reserved sauce.

Dig in and enjoy!

Orange Sauce

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 4 oranges)
1/4 cup coconut aminos
2 dates, pits removed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne (plus more to taste)
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder

Add all the ingredients except the arrowroot powder together in a small bowl. Set aside, and allow the dates to soak for 5-10 minutes. This will hydrate the dates and make them easier to blend.

Using a food processor or blender, blend the ingredients together until smooth. Add to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly reduced.

Turn off the heat. Whisk in the teaspoon of arrowroot powder. Season with additional salt, pepper, or cayenne to taste. Set the sauce aside until the wings are done cooking.  

Note: If you are not avoiding grains or soy, you can try using all-purpose flour instead of almond flour and arrowroot powder, and sub in soy sauce for the coconut aminos. Soy sauce, in my opinion, tastes saltier than coconut aminos, so you may want to reduce the salt in the recipe.