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Cauliflower magic

Published 9:48am Thursday, July 31, 2014

A couple weeks ago, a good friend and fellow vegan posted a photo of a salad topped with buffalo cauliflower on her Instragram feed. A huge fan of spicy food, and of vegetables (obviously), I was intrigued. I’ve seen and even had buffalo cauliflower before, but I’d sort of forgotten about wanting to try to make it at home.

I really love the idea of buffalo vegetables over seitan or tofu. I mean, why not incorporate more plants into your diet by covering them with a delicious spicy sauce? Seitan leaves me feeling heavy, and I use tofu as a staple in so many recipes, that hearty vegetables seem perfect for this appetizer or side dish.

I sent my friend Jen a text right away asking about the recipe. I was familiar with how to make vegan buffalo sauce from working at The Chicago Diner. In fact, the recipe for their award-winning wings sauce is in the cookbook I co-authored for them. I knew the sauce was simple, but I was intrigued about the cauliflower cooking process.

As it turns out, Jen received the florets cut and breaded with the portioned ingredients for the sauce from an organic meal service here in Chicago. She answered a few questions about the cooking steps, and I was ready to get going on my own version. I knew it would not be difficult to make from scratch. There’s about three steps, that’s it.

I did originally make the sauce about five days before the cauliflower dish, which saved me some time when I added the step of breading.

The first night I made the sauce, I just poured it over mixed veggies and baked them in the oven. It wasn’t my original intention, but the head of cauliflower I planned to use that night had gone bad and had to be tossed. The mixed veggie option was delicious as well, especially when mixed with black beans and cooked millet or quinoa. It’s very spicy on its own, so without the breading to cut it, you need to add some fillers.

The sauce recipe easily makes enough for several batches of veggies. I used 3/4 cup sauce for about 2 1/2 cups vegetables. Just store extra sauce in the fridge for a week or so.

Kat Barry, a St. Joseph, Michigan native, is owner of Kat’s Hot Cakes vegan catering, and co author of “The New Chicago Diner Cookbook: Meat Free Recipes from America’s Veggie Diner.” She also develops recipes for, where you can find over 30 of her vegan instructional cooking videos. She is also a certified yoga instructor. Kat currently resides in Chicago, and in her free time she enjoys practicing yoga, sampling local spirits, listening to live music, and getting outdoors. Follow @katshotcakes on twitter. Kat can be reached via email at:

Cornmeal Breaded Buffalo Cauliflower

Yield: 2 servings

2 ½ cups local cauliflower florets ¾ cup buffalo sauce

2 cups cornmeal Ener g egg replacer


1. Place cornmeal in a small mixing bowl.

2. In a small prep bowl, whisk together about ½ tablespoon Ener g egg replacer with enough water to make about ½ – ¾ cup slurry to dip your florets in. You might want to check the box for proportions.

3. Dip one floret in the slurry, then roll it in the cornmeal and place in a large mixing bowl. Repeat until all the florets are breaded.

4. Meanwhile, reheat ¾ cup sauce in a small sauce pan. Pour over the florets, and use a rubber spoon-achula to toss well. Be sure all the florets are coated thoroughly. I used 1 medium size head organic cauliflower, and ¾ cup sauce coated it perfectly.

5. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice to ensure even baking.

6. Serve with a side of vegan ranch and salad.


Vegan Buffalo Sauce

Yield: about 2 cups sauce

2/3 cup Frank’s hot sauce 1 teaspoon paprika

1 cup coconut oil 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

4 cloves fresh garlic, lightly chopped 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 habanero pepper, sliced

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal “S” blade and process until you have a smooth liquid. You’re going to want to scrape the sides a couple times throughout the blending process.

2. Pour sauce into a saucepan, and heat over medium high heat, whisking constantly until sauce starts to simmer and thicken. This should only take about five minutes.

3. Toss with vegetables immediately. Store extra sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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