Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

November 30, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten Prop Stylist: Molly Fitzsimons Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

I often have to remind myself that loving buffalo sauce doesn't count as a personality. What can I say? I really do want to put that stuff on everything. As much as I love a crispy chicken wing, I am also just as excited to make a dish that puts a hearty vegetable front and center. As long as it’s doused in some spicy buffalo sauce, it’s all good with me.

When I want to maximize the crispiness-potential of roasted veggies, I like to dredge them through a spiced, wet batter. This way, the veggies form a crunchy coating without any deep-frying. Now, I have nothing against deep-frying, but roasting is as straightforward as it gets; plus, it's much easier to clean up afterward. Of course, if you wanted to deep-fry these vegan buffalo wings, I’m certainly not going to stop you.

If you want to keep these bites gluten-free, you can swap in your preferred 1:1 gluten-free flour in lieu of all-purpose. Just don’t skip the cornstarch, which helps the coating to get extra-crispy after it’s baked. While you could make a wet batter by solely adding water, I prefer to opt for a vegan buttermilk mixture (any unsweetened, plant-based milk—I use almond—and a splash of something acidic, like vinegar or lemon juice) because it adds a subtle pop of tangy flavor, and it helps to gently tenderize the cauliflower as it cooks.

Whether you’re whipping these up for a veg-forward weeknight dinner or a fun, game day appetizer, you must serve them with celery sticks and a dipping sauce of your choosing. Seriously, they’re not complete without these accoutrements. Keep the whole dish vegan and make a vegan ranch or add a little bit of cheese to the party and opt for blue cheese dressing. Regardless, it’s going to be drenched in buffalo sauce, so you know it’s going to be a winner. —saratane

What You'll Need
  • For the Cauliflower:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large (or 2 small) heads of cauliflower, cut into florets (about 6 cups florets)
  • Celery sticks and vegan ranch or dipping sauce of your choice, for serving
  • For the Buffalo Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup cayenne pepper hot sauce (such as Frank’s RedHot)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Line 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper and heat the oven to 450ºF. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper until smooth. Add the milk and vinegar and whisk until smooth. Add the cauliflower and toss until evenly coated.
  2. Divide the cauliflower between the prepared sheet pans. Wipe the large bowl clean. Bake the cauliflower, rotating the pans halfway through, for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
  3. Meanwhile, make the buffalo sauce. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the hot sauce, butter, and syrup until the butter is melted and emulsified.
  4. Let the cauliflower cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, return the cauliflower to the same large bowl. Reserve the sheet pans; reserve ¼ cup of the buffalo sauce. Add the remaining buffalo sauce to the bowl and toss to evenly coat. Divide the cauliflower between the same sheet pans and continue to bake for about 10 minutes, until warmed and very crispy.
  5. Arrange the cauliflower on a large platter. Drizzle with the reserved buffalo sauce. Serve with the celery and dipping sauce on the side.

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Recipe by: saratane

Food writer, recipe developer, and private chef

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