Before I was vegan, chicken was my favorite food and Buffalo wings were my obsession. Whenever I would go out to eat, I ordered Buffalo wings as an appetizer. Sometimes I would go out with friends after work to the local “wing joint” and we would order a platter of 40 or 60 wings. Did I not realize then that each wing came off a chicken and that the platter of 60 wings meant dozens of dead chickens? Of course I did but my ability to push that knowledge to the back of my mind was exceeded only by my ability to devour a disgusting amount of wings and blue cheese dressing.
When I was dieting, I made my own Buffalo wings – a lighter version by removing the skin and baking the wings. I got the Buffalo flavor I loved without a lot of the fat. So of course, when I became vegan, I quickly made my own versions of Buffalo dishes. After all, it’s the sauce we love, not necessarily what that sauce is covering. You could probably cover a shoe (man-made, of course) with Buffalo sauce and it would be delicious. So I made Buffalo Seitan Steak, Buffalo Lentil Burgers and my incredibly delicious Buffalo Tofu Fries. YUM! Those are sooo good!
What else can we cover with Buffalo sauce? It seems everyone has a recipe for Buffalo Cauliflower so I figured I would jump on that band wagon. I didn’t want to fry the cauliflower, I wanted to roast it. Whenever I bake or roast foods, I don’t want it breaded. The baked breading never tastes crunchy enough for me (except baked corn flake crumbs but I’ve developed a corn allergy lately 🙁 ) If I were frying these, I’d definitely make a batter (flour, baking powder, spices, water) but since I’m roasting these, no batter necessary.
The roasted cauliflower is firm, delicious and a bit blackened. I have to stop myself from just eating it straight. It should look like this:
Then it gets covered with V-Butter and Buffalo sauce which makes it incredible and then it gets baked again to caramelize the sauce. It gets the appearance of being fried without using an entire bottle of oil.
Serve the Buffalo Cauliflower with celery and carrot sticks and your favorite dipping sauce. I like the classic blue cheese dressing so I whip up a vegan version of it or you can buy a bottle of vegan blue cheese dressing in your market.
Whether for an appetizer, main dish or party food, my Buffalo Cauliflower Bites are so tasty, hot and tangy, you better make a few heads worth because once you pop one of these bites into your mouth, you won’t be able to stop. Enjoy!
Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
GF, SF if using soy-free butter
1 large head of cauliflower
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
A dash of cayenne pepper
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. vegan butter
¾ cup hot sauce
Vegan blue cheese dressing
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Core the cauliflower and cut it into bite-sized florets. Put the florets on a large baking sheet. Toss with the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, cayenne and oil. Arrange the florets in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes until firm and a bit blackened. Flip them once halfway through the time. I find that it’s better to make them as crispy as you can if you are adding a heated sauce on top. If they are not cooked enough, turn on the broiler for a few minutes. You want them to have some bite to them.
While the cauliflower is baking, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the hot sauce, mix well and heat through. When the cauliflower is ready, transfer it to a large bowl, add the Buffalo sauce and toss to coat.
Return the cauliflower to the baking sheet and bake for 10 more minutes. This will “seal” the hot sauce onto the cauliflower. Cut the celery and carrots into sticks. Serve the Buffalo cauliflower bites with the celery and carrot sticks and blue cheese dressing for dipping.
I wanted to make my Buffalo Cauliflower Bites but I had no butter and was very little hot sauce. After I roasted the cauliflower, I tossed the florets in a mixture of hot sauce and 2 Tbs. vegan mayo. Then I put them back on the baking sheet and roasted them for 10 more minutes. YUM! They tasted like Buffalo Bites that already had the dip inside them. Another great idea would be to mix the hot sauce with vegan blue cheese dressing, coat the roasted cauliflower and cook for 10 minutes. So delicious.
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.
Delish, Rhea! And I even forgot to put the cauliflower back into the oven after mixing with the sauce! I used Tony’s Creole Seasoning instead of the individual spices in step 1, and I cannot tell a lie, I used 3 T of vegan butter (homemade!) to 1/2 c. of Frank’s ☺️. We put the cauliflower in tacos along with avocado and shredded cabbage mixed with lemon juice and salt. Oh my goodness!!! Thank you. -Lisa
Hi Lisa, I usually put vegan butter in my hot sauce too. I’m so glad you loved them! xoxo
That was delicious. Just made it and could make a meal of just this. Thanks
Me too. But I would want my own whole head of cauliflower. No sharing! xoxo
Not bad I did mine with sirache and honey they were very good.
Hi. The cauliflower bites sound amazing. However I live in Australia and we don’t have Franks hot sauce. Can you please give me an idea of what the hot sauce is made of so I can find a similar sauce here?
Hi Bronwyn, Franks’s Hot Sauce is a cayenne pepper sauce. Any hot sauce will do. I like the cayenne pepper sauce more than Sriracha which has some sugar/sweetness to it.
Holy cauly! This looks and sounds fantastic, Rhea!
I highly appreciate this recipe. Not only am I vegan, but I have severe digestive issues that won’t allow me to eat a lot of different foods, including flour of just about any sort. This is the first recipe I have found that doesn’t have a lot of flour caked on it! I’m so excited to make it.
Thank you Christina. I used to be a big fan of dredging and frying but the more I come to appreciate the tastes of different foods, the more I don’t want to cover them up. The cauliflower tastes so much better with just sauce. I’m sorry you have digestive issues that keep you from eating flour. I’m surprised hot sauce is ok. If I can lead you to any other recipes, let me know. xo
Hi im wondering what is the hot sauce you are using? They look amazing!!!
Frank’s Hot Sauce is the best!
Oh my, made it to have for dinner but couldn’t wait. Even meat eater hubby loved it! Yummy!!!!! Thanks heaps!
Yay! Thanks Quinten!
Oh for heavens sake – it’s like you’re reading my mind!!!!! OK, so I was just about search for a buffalo sauce recipe and up this pops! I LOVE cauliflower but My Beloved can’t abide it, so I made some vegan ‘chicken’ for dinner tonight and am going to use your sauce on it. Maybe there’ll be some sauce leftover so I can make the buffalo cauliflower for myself tomorrow…in secret! 🙂
Thank you Amanda 🙂