Move Over, Chicken Wings: Meet Buffalo Cauliflower

Friday, May 9, 2014

Buffalo Cauliflower and Blue Cheese DipNever heard of buffalo cauliflower?

Neither did I until a friend told me about a dish she had sampled in a favorite Port Washington hangout, Sullivan’s Quay. I, too, was a bit skeptical at first: how could cauliflower hold a candle to classic chicken wings? I no longer eat poultry, but back when I did I, like any American, adored sticky, meaty wings with their spicy sauce and drippy blue cheese dressing.

What’s not to like, after all? But when you think about it, isn’t anything drenched in hot sauce and blue cheese a party on your palate? Does it really need to be chicken?

These are the questions I contemplated for one or two seconds before getting on google for inspiration to create my own better-for-you-and-delicious-too—i.e., healthy hedonism-–recipe for buffalo cauliflower. Today’s post is the titillating result.

Buffalo Cauliflower


  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • Few dashes of Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Grind of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick baking spray. Break cauliflower into florets; save the leaves and stalk for another use, like cauliflower soup. Whisk to together buttermilk, flour, Tabasco, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Coat cauliflower with the batter, tossing to cover all the pieces, and set on the cookie tray. Let dry for 10 minutes or so.

Buffalo Cauliflower Batter

Cook cauliflower for 25 minutes, tossing about half-way through. The cauliflower should be browned and crispy in a few places, but not mushy.

Buffalo Cauliflower Roasted

While the cauliflower is roasting, whisk together the vegetable oil, hot sauce, and Sriracha together in a saucepan; quickly bring to a boil then set aside. If you like things super saucy, or are using a large head of cauliflower, double the recipe.

Buffalo Sauce

When the cauliflower is done cooking, pour the sauce over the florets, tossing to cover completely. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes to allow sauce to set.

Buffalo Cauliflower

For an elegant and less labor intensive dish, simply toss the cooked cauliflower with crumbled blue cheese. I went traditional this time around and served my buffalo cauliflower with blue cheese dipping sauce. (This version is also much higher in calories, obviously.)

Buffalo Cauliflower and Blue Cheese SauceNotes

You can find many a recipe online for Buffalo cauliflower that does not use a batter. Roasted cauliflower on its own is divine, so I have no doubt that simply throwing the hot sauce on that would be great. I felt the batter provided a way for the sauce to adhere to the florets, but give it a shot without the batter if you’d like. A batter-less variant tossed with crumbled blue cheese will shave off a lot of calories and would retain the character of the dish, I think. Finally, do note that this sauce packs quite a punch. Use more oil and less hot sauce or—better—find a less spicy hot sauce to enjoy the dish without the heat.

An insult to buffalo chicken wings? I think not. Just its heart- and planet-healthier cousin that certainly met this girl’s need for something hot and spicy drenched with creamy blue cheese goodness.

Make this recipe soon and let me know if you agree!


Dr. P.K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Healthy Hedonism (TM) is her philosophy: Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

Copyright © 2011-2020 P.K. Newby. All Rights Reserved.

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