I was not a big fan of cauliflower growing up, or even up until a few years ago. I think the problem was that the majority of my exposure to cauliflower made it seem like a mushy, colorless, flavorless version of broccoli. I also think a lot of people had the same experience with this misunderstood veggie since there are memes about cauliflower's glow up over the past few years. The secret to making cauliflower delicious is preparing it in ways that showcase its deliciousness (i.e., don't boil it), like roasting it or cooking it in a curry like aloo gobi (an Indian dish with potatoes and cauliflower). One of my favorite ways to prepare cauliflower is making Buffalo cauliflower. Roasting the cauliflower with spices and Buffalo sauce gives it a crispy exterior, and brings out the flavor. Change the mind of a cauliflower hater (possibly yourself) by making these baked Buffalo cauliflower bites.
If you're not familiar with Buffalo cauliflower, it's basically a meatless alternative to Buffalo wings or hot wings (Jessica Simpson would be proud). But I wouldn't say they are meant to "replace" Buffalo wings. They're delicious in their own right. My Buffalo cauliflower is tossed in garlic, onion, and Buffalo sauce and baked until crispy. Then it's dunked into warm Buffalo sauce with a little agave nectar and vegan butter. It's a simple recipe to make, and I highly recommend doubling or tripling it since you will be eating them off the tray before you sit down to dinner. The cauliflower also shrinks a little as it bakes.
To bread or not to bread your cauliflower?
Some Buffalo cauliflower recipes involve breading the cauliflower, but I like to keep my recipe nice and simple. Baking the cauliflower until the edges are crispy gives it such a great texture that you won't even miss breading and frying. As a bonus, this recipe is gluten free.
How to make Buffalo cauliflower less spicy
Buffalo sauce is cayenne pepper sauce—it's spicy! If you like the flavor of Buffalo sauce, but don't like it too hot, you can replace some of the hot sauce with ketchup or tomato sauce. In the recipe, I noted that you can replace up to half of the Buffalo sauce with ketchup. I would use as much Buffalo sauce as your taste buds can tolerate because it starts to taste a little ketchup-y at the halfway point. Another way to take the heat down a notch is to dip the Buffalo cauliflower in ranch dressing or a vegan bleu cheese dressing.
Ways to eat your Buffalo cauliflower bites
I like to eat them like you would eat Buffalo wings—with a side of ranch dipping sauce, more Buffalo sauce, and some carrot sticks and celery to snack on. Besides eating them as an appetizer, they're great on top of salads or rice, or even as a pizza topping (check out my Buffalo cauliflower pizza recipe!).
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup Buffalo sauce, divided; replace up to half with ketchup if too spicy
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or agave nectar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegan ranch
- Carrot and celery sticks
- Preheat oven 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl and toss with garlic powder, onion powder, and ½ cup of the Buffalo sauce.
- Spread out on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until tender, flipping halfway through.
- Meanwhile, place the remaining half of the Buffalo sauce in a small saucepan and add the vegan butter, brown sugar or agave nectar, and salt and pepper. Keep warm.
- When the cauliflower is done baking, immediately transfer the cauliflower to the saucepan and stir to coat. If there is not enough sauce, add more hot sauce.
- Serve with vegan ranch and a side of carrot and celery sticks.
- If Buffalo sauce (cayenne pepper sauce) is too spicy, you can replace up to half of it with ketchup. You'll still get the Buffalo flavor without too much heat.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: ¼ recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 55Unsaturated Fat: 0g