Buffalo Cauliflower

How do you make cauliflower taste the way you want it to taste? Smother it in buffalo sauce and blue cheese. Then it tastes like a chicken wing. That’s how this Buffalo cauliflower recipe came about.–Sarah Zorn

LC Virtuous Noshing Note

All the flavor of wings. All the virtuousness of cauliflower. In retrospect, we’re surprised it took someone this long to come up with it. When you read this ridiculously short and simple recipe for Buffalo cauliflower, you may notice that the recipe instructs you to roast the entire head of cauliflower until coaxed to caramelization, chop the cauliflower into florets, toss them with the sauce, and then sauté them before piling them on a platter. Does it sound to you like there may be an extra step or two in there? Sometimes we find the most precise prescription for putting things together doesn’t exactly make for the most practical experience in the kitchen. Though we’re confident the cauliflower tastes a touch better with this final sauté, which is going to slick every square centimeter of cauliflower with sauce, we gotta admit, it’d be faster to just whack the roasted cauliflower into florets, plunk them on a plate, and slather them with the hot sauce, especially if you’re distracted by the idea of precious seconds of a very important football game taking place without you. Either way, one taste of this cauliflower and you’re not going to remember anything that came before it, anyway.

Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients

  • 1 head (about 1 1/2 pounds) cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot Sauce (substitute a different brand at your own peril)
  • 1/2 cup Sriracha
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into smallish dice
  • Blue cheese, crumbled, to taste, and/or Blue Cheese Dip

Directions

  • 1. Crank up the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • 2. Trim the stem end from the cauliflower and leave the rest whole. Coat the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons canola oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast until tender and somewhat browned, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of your cauliflower.
  • 3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the Frank’s RedHot Sauce and Sriracha to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, then slowly whisk in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until everything is melted and incorporated and bubbly. Remove from the heat.
  • 4. Cut the cauliflower head into florets. (You don’t want the florets to be too teensy or dainty; rather, you want them to be the proper size to enable you to easily snatch one up from a platter. You know, the size of a chicken wing. Just don’t pop the entire floret in your mouth at once, you heathen.)
  • 5. Heat a sauté pan on medium-high heat until hot, add the remaining teaspoon canola oil, then add the cauliflower and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté the cauliflower until warmed through, then add the sauce. Sauté for a minute until everything is hot and the cauliflower is completely coated. Plunk the Buffalo cauliflower on a plate and finish with a sprinkling of blue cheese and/or the Blue Cheese Dip on the side.
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Kate H. Knapp

Jan 30, 2014

Hmmmm. Buttery, spicy, Buffalo sauce slathered over sinfully delicious...cauliflower? Yup, cauliflower. Move over chicken wings, there's a new game-day snack in town, and it's a guaranteed winner. This crunchy and curiously shaped vegetable is first roasted to bring out its sweeter side, then sautéed and drenched in Buffalo sauce with a special sriracha kick before being topped with cool, creamy blue cheese. Watch out, things are about to get saucy. I found that 30 minutes wasn't long enough to get the cauliflower very brown or tender, so I roasted it for another 15 minutes. Perfection. I tasted the Buffalo cauliflower without the sauce after roasting. It was sooo good, I might just make it like this in the future. I made the sauce in a sauté pan, and then when I took the cauliflower out the oven, I added the florets directly to that pan. (I'm always looking for ways to reduce the number of dishes I have to wash.) I cut the cauliflower into florets before adding them to the sauté pan, and the sauce seemed to coat them pretty well. One suggestion is to keep the florets big, since you can pick them up and eat them like you would a chicken wing that way. I made the mistake of cutting them small and it was a little awkward eating them. This is key for a party. Serving size is a little tricky. I shared this with my husband and we were able to eat most of it between the 2 of us, so I think 4 might be a bit generous. If, however, this is served with other snacks, it might be perfect. I'll definitely make this again, especially for my vegetarian friends.

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Natalie Reebel

Jan 30, 2014

This is quite possibly one of the best ways to prepare cauliflower. It's quick, simple, healthful, and beautiful. The proportions for the sauce are perfect. I thought it was going to be way too spicy, but it was fantastic. The blue cheese is a nice touch but not necessary. The recipe reads it could feed 4, but I used a 1 1/2 pound head of cauliflower and I could have eaten the entire dish myself. It was that good. I roasted my head of cauliflower about 45 minutes to cook it through. When it cooled, I broke it into florets and sautéed them in oil. The one warning I would give is to be careful when adding the hot sauce to the sauté pan. When the sauce hits the pan, it gives off a very spicy aroma—I could feel it in the back of my throat. I'll hold my breath for that part next time. This was really everyone’s favorite at the last party we had. I can imagine cooking up a head of it just for me.

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Lori Widmeyer

Jan 30, 2014

I should start by saying I love cauliflower but my family hates it. I've attempted to convert them several times, but failed. I decided I had to try one more time—plus, who can resist seeing if baking an entire head of cauliflower really works? Well, it works fabulously! When removing the leaves from my cauliflower head, I cut a small cone shape from the core to remove all the leaves and their stems, and this made it very easy to break the head apart into florets once cooked. I used my new oven feature—convection set at 375°F— understanding that it could cook faster than normal. After 30 minutes, it was really starting to brown on the outside. I decided to keep a close eye on it and let it go the full 45 minutes, and I'm so glad I did. I really hated to break it up at this point because it looked so pretty. (It also tasted great just like this—I couldn't help myself.) But wanting to convert my family, I made the sauce and followed the remainder of the recipe. I understand now why you don't want to make the florets too small, as the sauce is hot enough that if you do, the florets are a little too spicy, in my opinion. I had to do a little coaxing to get my family to try this, knowing there was a high chance they would take one tiny bite and stop. To my surprise, they all gave it a thumbs up. "It doesn't even taste like cauliflower!" was the consensus. Only problem is, I really wanted to eat the entire head myself. And I'm now afraid I'll have to share in the future.

Testers Choice
Elsa M. Jacobson

Jan 30, 2014

To give you a little context, I love cauliflower. And I think this is a winner for cruciferous veggie lovers and consummate wing-eaters alike. This Buffalo Cauliflower recipe is easy, and could be streamlined even further. My cauliflower needed about 40 minutes in the oven to become a combination of tender inside and browned outside. While the cauliflower was resting from the oven, I made the sauce. The blue cheese looked pretty atop the now-red cauliflower, although my suggestion would be to add the Blue Cheese Dip and an abundant supply of celery sticks to complete the presentation. One more note on ingredients: Buy a wedge of blue cheese and crumble it yourself. Pre-crumbled blue cheese will never taste as good as a cheese crumbled just before serving. Also, definitely use unsalted butter, as there are two opportunities for seasoning this dish as you prepare it, so there's no need to begin with salted butter. Does this serve 4? Much depends on the size of your cauliflower and the portion size of your diners, but sure, it could.

Testers Choice
Sita Krishnaswamy

Jan 30, 2014

I love baked cauliflower, so I was excited to make this Buffalo Cauliflower recipe. My head of cauliflower weighed 1 pound, 11 ounces. I baked it for 50 minutes. Though it was brown, it was not very tender. It was a bit crunchy, but I like my vegetables a bit crunchy, so it was fine for me. For those who like their cauliflower more tender, you may have to bake it longer. The sauce came together quickly. The flavor of the sauce was excellent; however, I wonder if we need to add so much butter. I cut the cauliflower into florets and sautéed them in a saucepan, then I added 1/2 cup sauce and sautéed it for a few minutes more. I crumbled blue cheese on top and served it as a side to a main meal. I certainly enjoyed this spicy dish.

Testers Choice
Joel Jenkins

Jan 30, 2014

Always looking for healthy yet tasty alternatives to comfort food, I thought this Buffalo Cauliflower recipe would be a good option for this Sunday's Super Bowl. It does taste like a chicken wing–-well, actually, it tastes like chicken wing seasoning. You wouldn't fool anyone in a blind taste test, but the sauce is very good. I'll be using the same sauce on my chicken wings this Sunday for Super Bowl. I baked the cauliflower for 30 minutes and it was starting to color, but it wasn't brown. I didn't want it to lose its texture, so I removed it from the oven and let it cool, and it softened a bit. I cut the head into bite-sized florets, which I then sautéed for about 3 minutes to rewarm. I suggest using 1/4 to 1/2 cup crumbled cheese, depending on your love of blue cheese. I dumped the wings, er, cauliflower in a bowl and served them with plenty napkins. I also left my florets large enough to pick up without needing to fish around in the sauce that inevitably pooled in the bottom of the bowl. It would serve 4 as indicated, but only if this was part of a lot of other foods being snacked on. It will NOT feed 4 people for the duration of the snackfest called Super Bowl. I could probably eat the entire thing myself in that case.

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Robert Castagna

Jan 30, 2014

The Buffalo sauce worked well with the cauliflower and was a pleasant surprise given my previous food memories of Buffalo Sauce. I sliced the whole head of cauliflower into 4 sections, sautéed each section on both sides till brown, then place everything in an oven preheated to 400°F till tender, abouut 12 minutes. The cauliflower was tender inside and brown outside.


Comments
Comments
  1. Andrea Calhoun says:

    Being vegetarian and surrounded by wings this weekend, I was excited about the Buffalo Cauliflower recipe. It was awesome. I used 3 tablespoons of Earth Balance and 1 tablespoon of butter just to health it up a wee bit. Thumbs up!

    Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe

    • David Leite says:

      Andrea, I gotta say, you’re picture looks great. And I’m delighted that in the midst of all those carnivores, you found your Zen.

  2. Marsha says:

    Is it possible to make this entire dish in advance and re-heat just before serving. I’m bringing it to a party. Alternatively , could I cook up the cauliflower, cook the hot sauces and then heat and combine later on at the party? Could it be reheated in a microwave ?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Marsha, I’d be inclined to roast the cauliflower ahead of time then toss it a sauté pan with oil and Frank’s hot sauce just before serving.

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