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Healthy Buffalo Cauliflower with Ranch Dip

Sharon Palmer

Are you in love with this plant-powered dish as much as I am? I still remember the first time I tasted Buffalo Cauliflower in a cool, trendy restaurant in Silver Lake a few years ago. And ever since then it’s been popping up on restaurant menus all over the place. Unfortunately, many of those Buffalo Cauliflower dishes at restaurants (as well as the Internet) are hardly healthy. I did some research on how to make this divine, spicy dish, and discovered that many classic recipes are loaded down with butter and oils. So, I created a lighter, oven-baked version in this Healthy Buffalo Cauliflower with Ranch Dip recipe, that’s still rich in flavor, I promise! Make a batch and watch these babies disappear!

This recipe is completely plant-based (vegan) and gluten-free (if you use gluten-free flour), and includes my own home-made, trademark vegan ranch dressing. It’s super easy, too. You just mix together a spicy batter using flour, water, spices, vinegar, EVOO, and hot sauce; roll the cauliflower florets into the batter, and bake them on a baking sheet in a hot oven. Mix up the vegan ranch dip while you’re waiting for them to come out of the oven. Serve the piping hot Buffalo Cauliflower with the Vegan Ranch and celery sticks. Yum! This is a great party food (Super Bowl for example!), holiday appetizer or side dish, or just plain comfort food to jazz up your menu any day of the week.

I always grow cauliflower in my garden each year. I’m pictured with one of these beauties below (which was used in this very same recipe!). I also grow the celery for the garnish and herbs for the Ranch in my garden. The humble cauliflower is in the cruciferous family; thus, it’s packed with cancer-fighting compounds. Try growing it yourself, or put it on your weekly shopping list. The colored cauliflower are especially gorgeous.

My pretty head of cauliflower, fresh from my garden, that I tested for this recipe.

Step-By-Step Guide:

Mix up the batter for your fresh cauliflower.
Dip cauliflower florets into the batter and arrange onto a baking sheet.

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Healthy Buffalo Cauliflower with Ranch Dip

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  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 14 minute
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


If you’re looking for a healthier take on Buffalo Cauliflower, try out this completely vegan, lower-calorie and lower-fat recipe, which is still heavy on flavor and appeal.



Buffalo Cauliflower:

  • 2 medium heads cauliflower, split into florets
  • 1 cup flour (use gluten-free flour, such as sorghum or rice to make this recipe gluten-free)
  • ¾ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 24 tablespoons hot sauce (based on your preference for spiciness)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce or ketchup

Vegan Ranch Dip:


  • Celery sticks


  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, garlic powder, paprika, and salt (optional). Stir in water, vinegar, olive oil, hot sauce, and chili sauce or ketchup until smooth to make a batter.
  4. Dip the cauliflower florets into the batter and arrange evenly on the baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining batter over the cauliflower florets.
  5. Place in top shelf of oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and tender.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the vegan ranch dip by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth.
  7. Place the ranch dip in a serving bowl, arrange hot cauliflower on a platter and serve with celery sticks on the side.


*Learn how to make vegan mayonnaise here.

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 serving (cauliflower + ranch)
  • Calories: 262
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 319 mg
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: healthy, buffalo cauliflower, appetizer

For more plant-powered recipes featuring cauliflower, try these favorites:

Purple Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Curried Lentil Cauliflower Salad
Spicy Cauliflower Cilantro Salad

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