Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Dip

This buffalo cauliflower recipe is essentially vegetarian buffalo chicken wings! Serve with blue cheese dip for a satisfying game day snack.

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Dip

In a culture of fast food, quick and empty calories, and mind-twisting marketing, it’s sometimes hard to decipher what’s true, real, and good. Before Alex and I started eating whole foods, I sometimes felt like life was empty and tasteless. Greasy takeout and TV dinners were unfulfilling, but I wasn’t quite sure why. Something like homemade roasted buffalo cauliflower “wings”: that was beyond even our wildest imagination.

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Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Dip

Eating real food

Discovering real foods and real people, the taste of fresh brewed drip coffee, and a salad with garden tomatoes off the vine opened up a whole new world to us. A world that tasted fresh and honest and REAL.

It would be easy to turn your back on everything from that other food culture. However, we’ve become passionate about tying the two together. Letting new and real emerge and meld with the old. Instead of swearing off buffalo chicken wings with a game of football, we wanted to try to make something satisfying and real in its place. And that, was the birth of this buffalo cauliflower recipe with blue cheese dip.

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Dip

How to make buffalo cauliflower

These days, buffalo cauliflower is pretty popular: in cookbooks and restaurants alike. What’s our take on it? We roast the cauliflower using our favorite method until it’s tender and blackened. Then we toss it with homemade buffalo sauce: tangy and just the right amount of spicy. Some buffalo cauliflower recipes have breading on the cauliflower so that it’s crunchy. But here, we’ve kept it sans breading to be super simple and healthy. (If you prefer crunchy, try this Crispy Breaded Cauliflower.)

What’s great about eating whole foods is that they’re drop dead delicious. This buffalo cauliflower doesn’t taste like a sacrifice in the least! This recipe is a great healthy alternative to buffalo cauliflower dip or buffalo chicken dip, which are tasty but can be high calorie. Simply roast up your cauliflower and slather it in blue cheese dip: it’s a healthy snack that tastes seriously indulgent.

Here are the general steps for make buffalo cauliflower (for quantities, see the full recipe below):

  • Chop a cauliflower head into florets. Want a trick on how to chop florets quickly? See How to Cut Cauliflower.
  • Mix the florets with olive oil and kosher salt, and roast at 450 degrees for about 30 to 35 minutes, until tender.
  • Meanwhile, mix up the buffalo sauce: mince 1 garlic clove. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the garlic and Frank’s Hot Sauce.
  • Once the cauliflower is roasted, remove it from the oven and mix with the buffalo sauce to taste.
Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Dip

What is buffalo sauce and why is it called that?

Buffalo sauce is a spicy sauce made with hot sauce and butter served with chicken wings or buffalo wings. Why is it called buffalo sauce? There is contention around the exact origin of the name, but consensus is that the wings were invented in Buffalo, New York somewhere in the 1950’s or 60’s. They became popular in the 70’s and 80’s, which is around the time several large chains began to specialize in them (which will go unnamed)!

Now that there’s an interest in plant-based eating, buffalo cauliflower wings are having quite the moment for vegetarian and vegan eaters. They can be found on lots of restaurant menus: including the restaurant right around the corner from where Alex and I live here in Indianapolis! Most restaurants serve buffalo cauliflower breaded and fried to simulate a meaty texture. We leave that to the restaurants and make this healthy non-breaded version when we have a craving at home.

Is buffalo sauce vegan?

No, buffalo sauce contains butter so it is not vegan. If you eat vegan or plant-based, you can substitute non-dairy butter or try coconut oil (though it will have a bit of a coconut-y undertone). Let us know if you try a vegan version in the comments below.

How to make blue cheese dip

To accessorize with our buffalo cauliflower, we also happened to have some yogurt and blue cheese on hand. We stirred this together to create into an impromptu healthy blue cheese dip. For a healthy spin, we like to use plain whole milk or Greek yogurt in place of where you’d typically use sour cream. You can also try a ranch version of our blue cheese dip in our Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich.

Here are the basic ingredients for a healthy blue cheese dip:

  • Plain whole milk yogurt (or Greek yogurt)
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt & black pepper

It all comes together into a creamy, tangy and savory dip that’s perfect for dipping this buffalo cauliflower: or any veggies! You can absolutely serve this with a crudite patter, sans cauliflower.

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Dip

Looking for game day recipes?

This buffalo cauliflower with blue cheese dip is perfect for game day, or a party table full of easy finger food recipes for a crowd. A few of our top game day finger food recipes:

This buffalo cauliflower recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based and dairy-free, use vegan butter or coconut oil for the cauliflower and omit the dip.

Print
Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Dip

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Dip


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 appetizer servings 1x

Description

This buffalo cauliflower recipe is essentially vegetarian buffalo chicken wings! Serve with blue cheese dip for a satisfying game day snack.


Scale

Ingredients

For the buffalo cauliflower*

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the buffalo sauce

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup Frank’s hot sauce

For the blue cheese sauce

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Celery (optional), to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Clean and chop the cauliflower into large florets (for easy dipping). In a bowl, combine the cauliflower with the olive oil and kosher salt. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until browned, turning once, until slightly blackened.
  3. When the cauliflower is almost done, make the buffalo sauce: Finely mince the garlic. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic, then stir in the hot sauce and stir until combined, about 1 minute. 
  4. If using, make the blue cheese dip: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, blue cheese crumbles, garlic powder, kosher salt (or to taste), and fresh ground pepper.
  5. When the cauliflower is done, remove from the oven and mix with the desired amount of buffalo sauce (to taste). Serve with blue cheese dip and celery sticks.

Notes

*For a party, double this recipe.

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Buffalo Cauliflower, Roasted Cauliflower, Blue Cheese Dip, Buffalo Cauliflower Dip

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

18 Comments

  • Reply
    Cara
    January 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    love this concept! hot sauce + blue cheese is essential for football snackin’ and I like the idea of a lighter way to do that :)

  • Reply
    Clem @ clementinecuisine
    January 20, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I love this post! And I totally identify with your vision of a double culture. I was never really drawn to buffalo chicken, but now I want to try your cauliflower version!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      January 24, 2013 at 9:54 am

      I agree – I was never a fan of the chicken version, but the sauce is delicious!

  • Reply
    Jacqueline
    January 20, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Oh now that looks rather exciting!

  • Reply
    Mary @ B&GJOURNALS
    January 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    so beautifully written and wonderful mantra

  • Reply
    Annie
    January 20, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    I have no interest in buffalo chicken, but this sounds amazing. Totally making it ASAP!

  • Reply
    Meg
    January 21, 2013 at 2:43 am

    I had buffalo cauliflower late one night after an art opening in LA. I tried to replicate it and failed. Maybe this will work!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      January 24, 2013 at 9:56 am

      We hope this does the trick! Some other recipes also call for breading the cauliflower prior to roasting, which could have been done with the cauliflower you tried. We decided to skip the extra effort and just roast the them plain :) Let us know if it works out!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    January 21, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Eating whole foods definitely has its advantages! Love this version of buffalo cauliflower!

  • Reply
    Courtney Jones
    January 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Awesome idea! I’ve never had buffalo wings before, but I have a feeling I would love this veggie version! Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe. xo

  • Reply
    Natasha
    January 21, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I really missed buffalo wings (more for the blue cheese than anything else) when I gave up meat, but this looks like a great substitute!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      January 24, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Yes, blue cheese with the spicy buffalo sauce is a perfect combination! I wonder if there are any other ways to feature that combo…!

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen
    January 23, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I’ve been looking for a way to incorporate buffalo sauce since going vegetarian and I can’t wait to try this!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies
    February 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    A little obsessed with buffalo sauce lately. Sounds like a must try!

  • Reply
    Angela
    February 3, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Soooo good. We used a whole tub of Greek yogurt for the blue cheese dip. It’s all the good things about greasy chicken wings, and you don’t want to die afterwards. Thanks for the idea and recipe!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      February 7, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      Haha, yes! So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Mary Thompson
    October 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I am fortunate enough to be on your email list and appreciate all of your great recipes. Is there a way to create a ‘cookbook’ file for me to save your recipes in from your website?

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks for reading! Sorry, I don’t know of any way to create a cookbook file…

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