Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

I am an impatient gardener; I almost never grow the same things year-to-year, and as soon as they’re in the ground I can’t wait for the first harvest. This year, I tried growing cauliflower for the first time, and somehow resisted checking on the heads until mid-June — and by the time I peeked over the leaves, they were somehow, miraculously (??) ready.

I knew exactly what I wanted to use them for: BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER. I’m not vegan, and I do love some classic chicken wings, but I’m also a sucker for veggies and have been wanting to adapt this recipe for what-feels-like-forever. This recipe calls for a rice flour batter that crisps up into a perfectly craggy crust and holds the sauce *just so.*

For the saucing, you can use whichever hot sauce you’d like (-though you know what I’m grabbing), but I will say — these buffalo bites get a good dose of hot sauce per piece, so don’t expect a hot hot sauce to get more tame. In other words — if you like a mild wing, pick a mild sauce. If you like it hot, by all means go wild.

All said, these buffalo bites turned out great, but I also felt like they needed a cooling dip for balance. Woe to me, there was not a ranch or blue cheese dressing to be found, so I worked up a creamy avocado-dill dip that did the trick.

Let me know what you think — and of course, I’d love to hear which hot sauce you used.

CAULIFLOWER BUFFALO BITES
Adapted from https://www.franksredhot.com/en-ca/recipes/buffalo-cauliflower-bites

1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 cup water
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup hot sauce *of your choice* – I recommend Goodlands’ Ghost Pepper, or Maple Chili Garlic
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter), melted

PREHEAT oven to 450°F (230°C). Whisk rice flour, garlic powder and salt in large bowl. Mix in water gradually until you get a thick, smooth slurry. Dip cauliflower pieces in batter to coat, then arrange in single layer on greased baking sheet.

BAKE 20 minutes, turning halfway through, until crispy and lightly browned.
MIX hot sauce and coconut oil in large bowl until well blended. Add cauliflower, tossing gently to coat. Return cauliflower to baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes longer or until crispy. Serve with your favorite creamy dipping sauce.

CREAMY AVOCADO-DILL DIP
Adapted from https://www.eatingbirdfood.com/vegan-avocado-ranch-dressing/

1 medium avocado
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dijon or stone-ground mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, basil or dill (pick your favorite)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and process until smooth and creamy, adding more almond milk if the dressing seems too thick. Once the texture is to your liking, taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Pour the dressing in to a container for serving, and dip away. Dressing should keep for 1-2 days in the fridge. Makes 3/4 cup.

Both the buffalo bites and the avocado-dill dip will go fast so, you know, plan ahead.

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