This easy buffalo cauliflower is a fantastic vegetarian substitution for buffalo chicken. This version of buffalo cauliflower is a healthy, lower carb alternative that can be vegan friendly without sacrificing any of the taste. Tangy buffalo sauce coats tender roasted cauliflower for a satisfying appetizer, snack, or addition to any meal.
Buffalo everything is really big in our house. My husband would probably eat cardboard if we put buffalo sauce on it. Not kidding.
I love a good buffalo-ized meal too, but we are greatly divided because I get super tired of chicken real fast. It’s a texture thing for me, particularly with actual wings. Plus, I’m more than happy to have a good meatless option available.
This recipe is super tasty. I like to add flavor directly to the cauliflower before it goes into the oven the same way I do when I make buffalo anything. Doing this gives you a much more complex taste than you’d get from just tossing the cauliflower into the buffalo sauce.
How do you season buffalo cauliflower?
Aside from the buffalo sauce itself, which we’ll get to in a second, I like to add other layers of spice to the cauliflower. I use salt and pepper, lemon juice, and pressed garlic. You could add any number of flavors to the actual cauliflower itself from ranch seasoning or you could bread and batter it. I also love using Parmesan cheese to flavor cauliflower, but I’m skipping it in this recipe to keep it a little healthier and also vegan friendly. If you want to use Parmesan cheese, just toss the cauliflower with a half a cup or so prior to baking it.
What is buffalo sauce? Isn’t it just hot sauce?
Nope! Buffalo sauce isn’t just hot sauce. Buffalo sauce is two parts hot sauce and one part fat. The fat is normally butter but here, again to keep this recipe vegan friendly and a bit healthier, we are using olive oil. I like adding other stuff to my buffalo sauce too for extra flavor. I’m a big fan of extra garlic in it because, for me, garlic is life.
Won’t this recipe taste like cauliflower?
Well… it is cauliflower after all, but this buffalo cauliflower has a mild cauliflower taste. Because you’ve seasoned the cauliflower itself and aren’t relying solely on the sauce for flavor, it’s not overpoweringly cauliflower like. Instead, it is just a background note. I won’t say it tastes exactly like chicken, but it is a really satisfying alternative to chicken. Even my skeptical, veggie hating husband liked this cauliflower and said it satisfied the buffalo chicken craving.
What can I serve with this buffalo cauliflower?
Anything you want! You could sub this recipe for buffalo chicken in my buffalo chicken cheesy rice bowls. You could serve it as is with celery and carrots as an appetizer or you could turn it into tacos with a tortilla and some crunchy slaw.
Is this recipe vegan?
Yes, accidentally. We started using olive oil as a substitute to butter when we just ran out of it once and wanted buffalo something. It works fantastically in the buffalo sauce. Of course if you are not vegan (which I am not), you can definitely use butter instead. This recipe is also gluten free.
Tips for making Easy Buffalo Cauliflower
- Make sure the cauliflower florets are pretty equal in size to make sure they cook evenly.
- If you don’t like things very spicy, skip the lemon juice and substitute lemon zest. It will give you the fresh taste that makes the cauliflower a bit less earthy without the acid.
- The garlic can also add a little spice without adding heat. Feel free to adjust to suit your preferences.
Tangy buffalo sauce coats tender roasted cauliflower for a satisfying appetizer, snack, or addition to any meal.
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 3 tbs olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1/4–1/2 tsp chili powder*
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
For the buffalo sauce
- 1/2 c olive oil
- 1 c Frank’s hot sauce**
- 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
- pinch of salt
- 1/4–1/2 tsp of black pepper*
Preheat the oven to 425.
While the oven is preheating, cut the cauliflower into small to medium sized florets, removing the big middle stem. Toss the florets with olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic, garlic powder, chili powder and salt and pepper until evenly coated. Spread the cauliflower out onto a cookie tray lined with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
While the cauliflower bakes, make the buffalo sauce. Heat a small pot over medium low heat. Add the hot sauce, pressed garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper and stir together. Cook for about 5 minutes or until warmed through.
After the cauliflower has cooked for 15 minutes in the oven, remove from the oven and toss with half of the buffalo sauce until evenly coated. Put back in the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with the extra buffalo sauce. Serve as an appetizer with your favorite dressing or use as part of a meal. Enjoy!
*For the chili powder and black pepper, the amount you add is a bit subjective. Both of these ingredients add some heat so feel free to omit or use more to suit your taste.
**You can use any brand of hot sauce you like but Frank’s is our favorite. Most brands of hot sauce have several spice levels available. We always use their Original Red Hot Sauce. However, if you like things more on the mild side, feel free to sub a milder sauce.
- Category: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack, Vegetarian, Vegan
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: buffalo cauliflower, roasted cauliflower, vegan buffalo cauliflower,