Hot & Wholesome
This modern family recipe is trendy, tasty and a great way of getting an extra side of a seemingly ‘boring’ vegetable into a family favourite.
The hot sauce recipe is one I developed a few years ago for some turkey meatballs ( which by the way are epic too ). There is an assumption that you just pour hot sauce on top of your food and go. For me, it is too spicy, it needs to be tamed a little, softened up around the edges. This is where a little expert knowledge comes in handy. By adding a little butter and maple we can balance and round out that ‘raw’ heat and have something that is almost silky. Still spicy and exciting but.. well… just better.
Begin by preparing the cauliflower. Trim off the leaves and cut into florets about 4cm each. One of the trickiest things about great buffalo cauliflower bites is the crunch. As they cook in the oven, the natural water begins to evaporate out and the can end up soggy. I have found a solution. Dust them with some cornflour first and add some base aromatics like garlic and onion powder and this will help to keep them crispier.
Then roll them in the buttery hot sauce and prepare then for the oven. A really great tip here is to get a pastry brush, silicone ones work great for this task, and paint the sauce on. You want to get in to all the cracks and crevices and make sure the sauce is all over before roasting in the oven.
Line a tray with parchment paper. Trust me this is the only way to go. They don’t stick, lift right off and there is no major scrubbing of a tin after. Win Win!
Remember to spread them out well with lots of space in between as this helps the air to circulate and keep them as crisp as possible
Before we go any further I have to tell you about this ranch dip. Traditionally buffalo wings are served with celery and blue cheese. I am not going to lie I feel like it is the only way I can even tolerate or pretend to like celery. How in ever, the moral of this story is I love ranch. It is most favourite creamy dressing and dip. But… you knew there was a but coming right ! But, I wanted to try and make a better for you version of it. And let me tell you. I did just that. This is higher in protein, lower in fat and just stunningly delicious! You will not regret making this and for the record I don’t think you should even bother making these buffalo bites unless you are making the ranch dip too.
So there you have it, all my top tips and musing for these delicious cauliflower bites with ranch dip. This recipe is a favourite of mine as it aligns wholeheartedly with my food philosophy of local, seasonal, flexitarian and delicious ! I hope you love it too.
- I head cauliflower
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- Spray olive oil
- 50 g Franks Hot Sauce
- 30 g butter
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Whipped Ranch Dressing:
250g cottage cheese
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 heaped tsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp dried / fresh chives
- 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp milk optional
- Garnish: celery sticks carrots, radish
- Buffalo Hot Sauce: In a small saucepan or a microwave melt together the butter, hot sauce onion and garlic powder and maple syrup. Set aside until needed.
- Buffalo Cauliflower Bites: Pre-heat the oven to 190℃. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower. Trim off some of the stalk. Cut it into 3-4cm florets. Place in a bowl and toss with corn flour, onion and garlic powder and oregano. Spritz with a spray of olive oil. Scatter onto the baking tray and roast for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Buffalo Cauliflower Bites: Toss the cauliflower bites and most of the buffalo hot sauce in a bowl together. Using a silicone pastry brush paint the buffalo hot sauce all over the cauliflower. Return to the oven for 25-30 minutes.
- Whipped ranch dressing: As the cauliflower roasts prepare the dip. Place all the ingredients in the food processor and blitz until super smooth & creamy. Use a spatula, spoon into a bowl, cover and chill.
- Serving: Serve the hot buffalo cauliflower bites on the tray. Pour the remaining hot sauce and the ranch dip into a little dish and serve on the side for dipping. Garnish with some carrots, cucumber, celery sticks and radish. Enjoy.