Who said buffalo sauce is just for wings? This buffalo cauliflower salad is loaded with cauliflower, crispy chickpeas and topped with a creamy vegan ranch dressing made from cashews.
Okay before we get into this buffalo cauliflower salad recipe I have to share a little story about where my love for salads began.
I was on a spring break trip to Colorado with my roommates. We were having a blast — spending our days exploring the national parks and going out in Denver at night. During the trip we spent a few nights in Boulder, visiting a friend. It was one afternoon in Boulder where we decided to grab a salad for lunch. The spot our friend took us to was a little hole-in-the-wall place that had a hippy vibe. It was only open for lunch and sold nothing but salad bowls, a soup of the day and a few locally made treats for dessert.
I honestly don’t even know if the shop still exists. I tried googling to find it and none of the current salad shops in Boulder look like this spot.
Anyhow, it was after visiting that shop that I immediately decided I wanted to open a salad shop of my own. I don’t know what it was about the place — I honestly think it was the awesome toppings they offered (way beyond any salad bar I’d ever visited) and the idea of making simple, veggie-packed meals in one bowl… way before bowl meals or salad shops were a thing.
I wrote a business plan (which is now super outdated and collecting dust in our attic). Of course, I don’t know that I’ll ever open a salad shop/restaurant now, but it’s interesting to see my love for salad manifesting here on Eating Bird Food in such a big way over the past couple years.
I feel like I’ve found a niche that I’m so passionate about.
At this point I have done several free #saladeveryday challenges and launched my brand new program focused on habits called the Salad Slim Down. And just this week I announced a limited batch of #saladeveryday tanks. PS: I only made a few of the tanks so if you want one, go grab it now!
With all this salad action, I’ve decided it’s time to do a series on EBF called Salad Sunday. With this series I’ll be sharing something salad related every Sunday — either on the blog and/or my social channels. I’m super excited about it and hope you’ll find yourself joining in on the Salad Sunday action.
For the very first Salad Sunday I’m sharing this epic little gem of a salad that’s absoutely perfect for fall.
Inspired by my cauliflower buffalo wings and the creamy cashew ranch dressing I made to go with them I decided to create a buffalo cauilflower salad.
For this salad we’re keeping the buffalo cauliflower super simple and a littler lighter with no almond flour coating and adding chickpeas for some plant-based protein. The romaine, celery and red onion add a nice crunch and the vegan cashew ranch is so rich and creamy you’ll want to put it on everything!
Trust me, you might want to double the recipe!
Buffalo Cauilfower Salad with Creamy Cashew Ranch Dressing
- 3-4 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
- 4 cups fresh romaine, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing
- 1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked 3-4 hours or overnight)
- 1/2 cup fresh water
- 2 teaspoons dried dill
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- pinch of black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Add cauliflower, chickpeas, oil, pepper and salt to large bowl and toss to coat.
- Pour mixture on to a baking sheet or stone. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from the oven, pour sauce over the mixture and toss to coat. Roast for another 10-15 minutes or until chickpeas are crispy and cauliflower is roasted to your liking. Remove from oven.
- While cauliflower is roasting, make your dressing. Add soaked and drained cashews into a high powered blender or food processor with 1/2 cup water, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
- Prep salads by grabbing two bowls. Adding 2 cups of chopped romaine, 1/4 cup celery and 1/8 cup of onion to each bowl. Top with roasted buffalo cauliflower and chickpeas. Drizzle on dressing and enjoy!
* For the wing sauce, I used Steve's Paleogoods Paleo Chef Wing Sauce, which is gluten-free and refined sugar free and definitely my first choice if you can find it. Tesssemae's Hot Buffalo Sauce is another brand I would recommend. If you want to try a homemade version, this one is vegan and looks great. If you're in a pinch, Frank's Red Hot Wing Sauce also works and is still vegan.
If you make this buffalo cauliflower salad let me know how it turns out in the comment section or share a photo on social media. Just be sure to tag me (@eatingbirdfood + #eatingbirdfood) so that I see it!