Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Cashew Ranch Dressing take snack time to the next level. These spicy vegan wings are perfect for parties, and they’re an excellent appetizer or snack. This easy recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
I know, I know. Just about every vegan blogger has a recipe for Cauliflower Buffalo Bites at this point, so this is nothing new. I have been faced with the task of creating five different canapés for a Rouxbe project, and I wanted to try my hand at these spicy snacks, since I’ve never made them before. They were so good that I had to stop myself from eating them all before I took photos. What’s one or two (or twenty) missing from the batch in photography, right? I can just add a few more in with Photoshop, can’t I?
I like to make these Buffalo Cauliflower Bites for movie night snacking. They’re great on salads, and the Cashew Ranch makes a great dressing. I also like to stuff them into tacos along with coleslaw.
What are Buffalo Wings?
Buffalo sauce has nothing to do with flying wild oxen. Buffalo wings are actually a spicy chicken wing appetizer that originated in Buffalo, New York. The story as to exactly where in that city is sometimes disputed, with different people taking credit for their creation.
The sauce is usually made with cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and melted butter. Franks’ RedHot is often the hot sauce of choice, but I prefer Cholula.
Buffalo wings are frequently served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing, which helps cut back the heat. Ranch dressing has slowly become a more popular dipping sauce for buffalo wing dipping. (And if you’re from Buffalo and are appalled that I’m serving my cauliflower wings with ranch dressing, I’ve already been told that I’m committing heresy with this recipe. There’s no need to send more emails.)
Vegan Buffalo Wings
It’s super easy to veganize buffalo wings, using cauliflower. I’ve also made them with Brussels sprouts. Tofu and tempeh can be used, too. Cauliflower remains my favorite “wing” of choice, though. Instead of using butter, I’ve used a little oil. I like to use avocado oil.
For the ranch dip, I’ve used a cashew base. If you’re allergic to nuts, you can use 1 cup of silken tofu and omit the non-dairy milk.
Buffalo sauce is spicy – tears running down your face, I think I need a napkin spicy. But if you’re sensitive to heat and still want some cauliflower wings, you can cut back on the hot sauce. Or even try making the recipe with 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce instead.
When chopping your cauliflower for this recipe, you’ll want to cut off the steam and leaves and then carefully cut the florets from the center. Then you should cut each floret into small, bite-sized pieces. The size is really up to you.
How to make Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower
This recipe is so easy to make!
- First you mix together the chickpea flour, non-dairy milk, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.
- Then you toss the cauliflower in the mixture.
- Next you bake the cauliflower for about 20 minutes, flipping the pieces after 10.
- While the cauliflower is baking, you mix together the ranch ingredients in a high-speed blender.
- Then you allow the cauliflower to cool for minute or two while you mix together the hot sauce and oil.
- Finally, you place the cauliflower in a bowl and coat it with the hot sauce mixture. You place the cauliflower back on the baking sheet and bake it for another 10 minutes.
If you prefer your wings to be saucier – and messier – you can bake your cauliflower for about 30 minutes (flipping the pieces after about 15). Then pour the hot sauce mixture over them right out of oven and serve them right away.
Your buffalo cauliflower bites will taste best fresh from the oven. They don’t really travel well, so I don’t suggest taking them to potlucks unless you’re able to reheat them in the oven at the host’s home.
Chickpea flour is made from ground chickpeas, of course! It’s sometimes called garbanzo bean flour, besan, or gram flour. Bob’s Red Mill makes a garbanzo and fava combo flour that will also work in this recipe, if you can’t find garbanzo flour on its own. You can make your own by processing dried chickpeas in your food processor or a high power blender on high until a flour forms.
Chickpea flour is tenser than wheat flour, and it becomes sticky when mixed with liquids, so I like using it to make batter, as I did here in this recipe. If you’re absolutely opposed to using it, you can use whole wheat flour, but you may need to cut back on the amount of nondairy milk you use. Keep in mind it won’t stick to the cauliflower as well as chickpea flour does.
Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Cashew Ranch Dressing
For the Buffalo Bites:
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets
- 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
- ½ cup hot sauce such as Frank’s or Cholula
For the Cashew Ranch Dressing:
- ½ cup raw cashews soaked for at least 2 hours, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons fresh chives or dill
- 1½ tablespoon fresh parsley
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Preheat your oven to 450° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix together the flour, non-dairy milk, garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt in a large bowl. Toss the cauliflower in the mixture. Allow any excess batter to drip off into the bowl, if neccessary, and then lay the pices out of the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, flipping them once at about the halfway point. They’re ready when they start to brown and the batter isn’t doughy.
Remove the cauliflower from the oven and let the pieces cool for a few minutes. Whisk together the oil and hot sauce. Toss the cauliflower pieces in the hot sauce, and then place them back on the baking sheet.
Bake for another 10 minutes.
While the cauliflower is baking, mix together the dressing ingredients in a high speed blender.
Serve the cauliflower bites hot from the oven with celery and the ranch dressing.
More cauliflower recipes you might enjoy include:
- Sesame Cauliflower
- Cauliflower Tabbouleh
- Crispy Cauliflower Tacos
- Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce
- Curried Cauliflower Soup
More buffalo recipes you might enjoy include:
- Buffalo Tempeh Salad
- Epic Vegan Buffalo Chicken Lasagna
- Buffalo Chickpea Tacos
- Vegan Buffalo Potato Nuggets
- Buffalo Chickpea Dip
- Spicy Buffalo Soy Curl Wraps