Looking for the perfect game day appetizer that delivers on flavor AND nutrition? How about a last minute dish for a group bible study or book club? Or maybe, your family is like mine and does a finger food pot luck? No matter the case, my buffalo cauliflower are the answer! Keep reading for the secret to this delicious dish!
I feel like in recent years, cauliflower has emerged as some sort of all purpose health food. Want pizza? Use cauliflower as the crust. Want rice? Use cauliflower instead. Need to thicken a smoothie? Cauliflower. In the mood for Alfredo but want to make it lighter? Use cauliflower puree. Heck, I am even guilty of using cauliflower to lighten the caloric load of the mashed sweet potatoes in my Turkey Sweet Potato Cauliflower Sheppard’s Pie.
Cauliflower’s mild flavor, low calorie content, and high nutrient content make it a very versatile and delicious food.
Benefits of Cauliflower
- Cauliflower has an impressive content of vitamins and minerals. It contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral your body needs.
- It is high fiber. Fiber is a very important nutrient. It improves heart health by lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. Fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut. This property makes it beneficial for people who struggle with constipation, IBD, and other gastrointestinal disorders. Fiber can also play a role in the prevention of obesity because it promotes fullness and satiety.
- It contains antioxidants which protect your body from damaging free radicals and inflammation. They are cruciferous vegetables, so they contain glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which have both been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells; especially colon, breast, lung, and prostate cancers. Cauliflower also contains carotenoid and flavonoid antioxidants which have anti-cancer effects and can reduce the risk of certain disease states, like heart disease. It also contains vitamin C, which has it’s own antioxidant effects and promotes immunity and reduces inflammation.
- Cauliflower is rich in choline. This is an essential nutrient that many people are deficient in. Choline plays a major role in the body in metabolism and DNA synthesis. It also plays a role in brain development and production of neurotransmitters. Choline also has a role in preventing the accumulation of cholesterol in the liver. People who do not get enough choline have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, liver, and heart disease.
- Cauliflower is rich is sulforaphane, a plant compound with many beneficial effects, such as reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
You know what I hate about appetizers?
They’re too heavy. Appetizers are usually my favorite part of a meal. But that is exactly my problem. They are always so delicious that I eat way too much of them and end up being too full to enjoy my entree. Does anyone else have this problem!? But that’s where this dish shines. It’s so much lighter than the typical buffalo wings. In fact my dish is 132 Calories a serving whereas a serving of buffalo chicken wings are 416 Calories per serving. This dish is the perfect appetizer because you get all the flavor, for a fraction of the calorie load. So now, you are able to enjoy your entree without needing to over stuff yourself. You’re welcome ♥.
So my first experience with buffalo cauliflower was a Pinterest recipe I found. It included dredging in cornstarch, dipping in egg, and rolling in bread crumbs before frying in an oil-filled pan. Let me tell you, it was a headache. And the cauliflower ended up being soggy. My guess is from the water released by the cauliflower during the cooking process. And obviously, after you bread it, fry it, and cover it in buffalo sauce, the calorie content starts to get up there.
I set out to improve this process. How can I do less work and get a better product(my life motto, haha)? Because, lets be honest. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I decided to skip the whole breading process. I have made some roasted cauliflower before that has a great crispy texture. So I wanted to go that route. I melted some Earth Balance butter substitute. It’s a vegan spread made from heart healthy oils that will provide a great buttery flavor without all the saturated fat. Once that was melted, I tossed my raw cauliflower florets in it until they were well coated.
I then roasted them on a silicon baking mat designed to allow the grease to drain and the cauliflower to be raised out of the grease. You can find the mat I used here. You can also use a wire baking rack on the baking sheet. This is to prevent the cauliflower from sitting in the water and oil that are produced during cooking. It allows for the cauliflower to get extra crispy. Then I took them out of the oven and tossed them in my favorite buffalo sauce. If you don’t have buffalo sauce, you can make some by melting butter or Earth Balance buttery spread and adding hot sauce and garlic powder.
Once they were well coated in the sauce, I broiled them on high to allow the sauce to caramelize a bit and really stick to the cauliflower. Ya’ll I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but…. toot toot. These came out so well.
Recipe as follows
- January 4, 2020
- 45 min
- 132 Cals/Serving
- Print this
- 2 heads of Cauliflower, florets separated (or 2 bags of cauliflower florets)
- 3 tbsp Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread
- 1/3 cup Buffalo sauce
- Step 1
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Step 2
- Next, melt Earth Balance spread in a small bowl in microwave in 30 second increments
- Step 3
- Then, toss melted Earth Balance with cauliflower Florets in a large bowl until well coated
- Step 4
- Line baking sheet with wire rack or silicon baking mat to drain grease
- Step 5
- Arrange cauliflower on baking rack in a single layer, do not let pieces overlap
- Step 6
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until edges start to brown and cauliflower can be pierced with fork
- Step 7
- Remove from oven
- Step 8
- Pour cauliflower back into the large bowl and pour over the buffalo cause
- Step 9
- Toss to evenly coat the florets
- Step 10
- Finally, Put back on lined baking sheet and broil in oven on high for about 5 minutes or until edges start to brown
- Step 11
- Serve hot with ranch or blue cheese dressing
Nutrition Facts for Buffalo Cauliflower:
- 132 Calories
- 5 Grams Total Fat (1 gm saturated)
- 466 mg Sodium
- 18 Grams Total Carbohydrate
- 7 Grams Fiber
- 6 Grams Sugar
- 6 Grams Protein
What event do you have coming up that these would be perfect for??
Looking for something sweet to bring to your even instead? Check out my recipe for reindeer chow granola here.