Chloe Davis Giraldi, MS, RD, LDN
Healthy Halftime Snacks
Just after the New Year dawns, football season comes to an end. With the post-season comes weekend games, social events galore and sooo so many snacks! I have to admit, when I first mentioned I was going to make this dish I was met with groans and faces ridden with upset that I was venturing from the usual "Buff-Chicken".
One strategy I wanted to introduce for Tailgate Time was adding more vegetables into the mix without sacrificing the "fan-favorites" we so often are accustomed to. Not going to lie, Buffalo Chicken may be one of my cherished comfort foods, so I was slightly nervous this Cauliflower alternative may not match up...but boy did it come in clutch!
This Vegetarian recipe was not only a touch-down at our New England Half-Time Snack-Time, but it was also so simple to make, had very few ingredients AND took less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Can you argue with that?
I adapted this recipe easily with successful results. It can be made Gluten Free, or Vegan as well-all equally delicious!
Don't forget the Dip! My high-protein alternative Bleu Cheese Dip adds some protein for those seeking it, as well as added flavor from real bleu cheese crumbles.
Better For You Buffalo Cauliflower
1 head of Cauliflower (approx. 4 cups of florets)
1 cup Milk (for Vegan: use almond, soy, or cashew milk, or water)
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour (can sub: Gluten-Free rice flour or almond flour)
1 cup Whole Wheat or Panko Breadcrumbs (can sub: Gluten Free bread crumbs)
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce (or Make Your Own: 4 tbsp White Vinegar, ½ tsp Celery Salt, ⅔ cup Hot Pepper Sauce, ¼ cup Water, ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce, ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper, ¼ tsp Crushed Garlic)
Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or use a well-seasoned baking stone (this is what I did for perfectly crispy-cauli.
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Wash and cut cauliflower head into bite sized pieces/florets. Make sure to dry the florets very well, pat between two dish-towels until dry.
Mix the milk/water/flour and spices in a medium sized mixing bowl.
Mix until the batter is thick and is able to coat the cauliflower without dripping.
Dip the cauliflower florets in the batter, either one by one or in batches.
Shake off excess batter.
Place bread crumbs in a separate medium sized bowl
Placing battered cauliflower into bread crumbs to coat lightly.
Place onto baking stone and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown, flipping the florets over half-way through to make sure all sides are crispy and golden.
While the cauliflower is baking, prepare or warm buffalo sauce in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
Once the cauliflower is done its first bake in the batter, remove from the oven.
You can either put all the baked florets into a mixing bowl with the wing sauce and toss to coat evenly. OR use tongs to coat each individually (I did this to make sure everything was evenly coated and stayed in its form).
Return cauliflower to baking sheet and bake in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Serve with ranch, blue cheese, or your favorite dipping sauce + celery. (My high-protein bleu-cheese dressing dip is below)- Enjoy!
Better for You Bleu Cheese Dressing Dip:
½ cup Siggi's Plain or Plain Greek Yogurt 1 head of Cauliflower (approx. 4 cups of florets)
1 tsp Lemon Juice
2 tbsp Saga Creamy Bleu Cheese-crumbles
3 tbsp diced Green Onions
Salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste
Unsweetened almond milk to thin if needed
1. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, serve with celery and anything Buffalo!
*Buffalo Cauliflower recipe adapted from realhousemoms.com
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