Buffalo Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Ranch

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 4 votes

Super flavourful, satisfying and simple to make. This Buffalo cauliflower salad with naturally nut and dairy-free tahini ranch dressing will blow your mind! No messy breading necessary and ready in 30 minutes.

An overhead shot of a vegan Buffalo cauliflower salad on a matte black plate. A bowl of creamy dressing is nearby.
An overhead shot of a vegan Buffalo cauliflower salad on a matte black plate. A bowl of creamy dressing is nearby.
An overhead shot of red leaf lettuce growing in a vegetable garden.
Image shows a hand holding a head of red leaf lettuce and some sprigs of dill.
Image shows a hand spooning some hot sauce on top of some cut cauliflower florets.

This buffalo cauliflower salad is one of those non-recipes that I make and casually share on Instagram (within the context of it being our dinner) that prompts comments like “RECIPE!!!!!”

So today I’m caving in and posting a defined recipe for our almost weekly Buffalo cauliflower salad extravaganza. More Buffalo sauced goodness here: Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza, Spicy Vegan Buffalo Meatloaf Minis, Vegan 7 Layer Dip with Buffalo Refried Beans, and Vegan Ranch Slaw with Crunchy Baked Buffalo Tofu.

I always have this idea that I don’t need to seek outside guidance/any sort of reader feedback for blog content, but lately I can’t help but wonder if that’s still true. Food blogs, social media, and just the massive, highly varied web of content that’s available has shifted so much in the last year or so. I want this space to be useful and to bring even a tiny amount of joy/ease into people’s lives. Your constructive feedback is always so appreciated.

Onto this salad. I don’t regularly make Buffalo cauliflower in the style of the “wings” that are super popular (and delicious). I just roast florets in a Buffalo-style sauce and some smoked paprika. It’s lighter, easier, and cuts straight to the point. The florets crisp up all nice and spicy, and I roast some chickpeas alongside for even more texture (and for some protein).

The tahini ranch dressing is definitely the highlight here. In my omnivore days, I absolutely detested ranch anything. For some reason though, I’m all over plant-based versions of the dressing. Guess it was just the dairy throwing me off? I don’t know, but this ranch rules and you’ll want to eat it on everything. Summer of salads and love!

A head-on image of a vegetable garden with a wooden fence in the background.
Two images show the ingredients for a tahini ranch dressing and the mixed up bowl of the actual dressing.
A 3/4 angle image of roasted chickpeas and cauliflower florets on a baking sheet.
Image shows cut celery, red onions and lettuce on a wooden cutting board.
A 3/4 angle shot of a vegan Buffalo cauliflower salad on a matte black plate. A bowl of creamy dressing is nearby.

Buffalo Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Ranch

Super flavourful, satisfying and simple to make. This Buffalo cauliflower salad with naturally nut and dairy-free tahini ranch dressing will blow your mind! No messy breading necessary and ready in 30 minutes.
5 from 4 votes
Buffalo cauliflower salad with chickpeas & tahini ranch (vegan) - The First Mess
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings 2 -4


Tahini Ranch

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
  • ¼ cup filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1 sprig of fresh dill, minced
  • sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste

For the Salad

  • 3 heaped cups small cauliflower florets (from about ½ a large head)
  • 2 teaspoons avocado oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Buffalo-style hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, dried with a clean dishtowel
  • 2 stalks celery
  • ½ small red onion, peeled
  • 1 medium head of red leaf lettuce (or romaine, butter lettuce etc.)


  • It’s definitely crucial to get a Buffalo-style hot sauce here. I can’t totally explain the flavour nuances of sauces in the Buffalo-style, but there’s a heavy emphasis on salt and tanginess at work. I like Tessemae’s because it tastes good and the ingredient list is wholesome.
  • I know garlic powder is kind of a “Wha?!” ingredient here, but it adds that definitively ranch-y flavour–more so than fresh garlic, honestly.


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  • Make the tahini ranch: In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, mustard, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, green onion, dill, salt, and pepper. If the dressing seems too thick, whisk in more water by the teaspoon until pourable. Check the seasoning and set aside.
  • Place the cauliflower florets on the baking sheet. Pour 1 teaspoon of the oil and the Buffalo sauce on top. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss the cauliflower to coat. Push the cauliflower over to one side of the baking sheet and then slide it in the oven. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with remaining teaspoon of oil, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • At the 15 minute mark, remove the cauliflower from the oven and give it a light toss. Transfer the chickpeas to the empty half of the baking sheet. Slide the baking sheet back into the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower florets are browned and the chickpeas are slightly crisp.
  • While the cauliflower and chickpeas are roasting, thinly slice the celery stalks. Then, slice the red onion into thin half moons. Chop the lettuce.
  • To serve, heap the plates with lettuce, celery, and red onions. Carefully transfer the cauliflower and chickpeas to the tops of the salads. Drizzle salads with tahini ranch and serve!
26/07/2017 (Last Updated 21/02/2024)
Posted in: autumn, chickpeas, creamy, gluten free, grain-free, main course, nut free, quick, refined sugar-free, roasted, salad, salty, sauce, side dish, spicy, spring, summer, tahini, vegan, winter


5 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Recipe Rating

  • Daffydil

    5 stars
    My niece said she was going to make this recipe, but I beat her to it. Didn’t care for the dressing at first, because it seemed to have too much lemon juice, but once on the salad with everything else it was delicious. I did suggest she place the cauliflower in a bowl to drizzle, then place on the baking sheet, just easier I’d think and I left the cauliflower in the oven longer only because I like mine very brown, near blackened. Will make this again. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  • Shannon

    5 stars
    Huge fan of this salad! We make it regularly in my house. The tahini ranch is so good, we always make a double batch so we have leftovers :)

  • Hollie

    This dressing is incredible. I drizzled over roasted vegetables. Love it

  • Kim H.

    DELICIOUS! I added a dollop of vegan mayo to the dressing to give it a little more thickness & creaminess. I also added a small spoonful of farro that I had just cooked because I love carbs. What can I say.

    Thank you! Such a great dinner.

  • Cornelia

    Made it tonight and we loved it!!! Definitely gonna make it again (even my very diary and meat loving brother loved it!)
    I only used 1/2 the specified amount for the dressing and it was sour enough for our taste.

    Thank you for the recipe!

  • Brenna

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve been making it almost every week. Sometimes I even throw it all in a pita. So good!

  • Meredith

    I made this salad for my mother on her birthday and it was loved by all, thankyou!!!

  • Pamela

    This is yummy. And garlic powder is actually great to have on hand! If you buy the pure thing..just ground up dried garlic. Williams Sonoma has a wonderful Roasted Garlic powder!

  • Joanie

    Hi! My husband and I just got married about two months ago, and we also switched to an primarily plant-based diet. I was really struggling to find recipes that we both loved and could share with our friends and neighbors. We started with this one and now always consult your blog when starting the week. Thank you so much for all that you’ve shared.

  • Amy

    Made this for dinner last night and it was SO GOOD! So much flavour – which is what I look for in a recipe. And I love a big hearty filling salad for dinner that doesn’t have too many steps but is still a meal on its own. I’ll be making this again.

  • Nicole R

    My favorite blogs are those where the writer is true to their voice and shares just a bit of themselves, and that’s why I like yours. I don’t think it’s possible to follow the shifting tides of food trends with authenticity, and many writers get into a feedback loop with their readers. I like that this is the kind of place I can land and read about what is happening in your garden, your kitchen, and your mind – whether I have any interest in the recipe itself or not. Keep it up and I will keep reading.

  • Erin Schaub

    Love all your stuff! ❤️ I especially enjoy the Happy Hour posts. It would be helpful to see some meal prep posts too! Thank you !

  • Charlotte

    Hello Laura,

    I attribute my conversion to (a 95%) plant-based life nearly entirely to the discovery of your website and I imagine this is the case for many others too. I hope you are really proud of your work.

    I mostly can’t choose between the yummies that you post but if there was one thing that I would really like to see is your tips on how to make a really smooth pistachio sauce – is there a way to do it without adding loads of oil?? I also would love to hear if you have any wisdom on swapping traditional ingredients out for plant – based ingredients e.g. eggs for aquafaba.

    Mega – appreciation and love from Charlotte in rainy Devon, England.

  • Tricia

    Please and thank you!

  • Alison

    I’m sorry for the rudeness of my fellow ‘posters’. I really appreciate your creativity both in the recipes and the photos (they are lovely). Please know what a profound impact your recipes have had on my wellbeing. Can’t wait to see what you dish up next!

  • Andrea

    I’m new to plant based eating and I hate to cook. So I’m into any healthy plant based recipes that are delicious and EASY (not yelling – just emphasizing). I enjoy reading more complex ones but they are never gonna happen. Love the beautiful pictures as they make the plants more enticing. Any helpful hints, tips strategies etc are also appreciated

  • Julie

    I love seeing a blog post notice in my inbox! Especially midweek when I’m tired and it’s hot and I am tempted to reach for takeout. Your posts remind and inspire me to cook beautiful and delicious food – and I’m always so much more satisfied than eating too salty tasteless food-in-a-box. Rejuvenated. Thank you!

  • Abby

    I love your happy hour posts! They’re something I look forward to because they’re fun and informative. Keep doing what you do! Thank you!

  • Larissa

    Laura – thanks for this lovely recipe! I whipped this up quickly for dinner last night and it was a huge hit. Can’t wait to eat my leftovers for lunch (restraining myself from devouring it now).

    I love your happy hour posts, gives some good reads and also keeps me up to date on the latest additions to add to my smoothies and hot bevvie concoctions.

    The idea of meal prep posts sounds good too, always good to hear from the pros on that front. Really, I will read anything you post :)

    Sorry about all the demanding comments and negativity. People need to chill and realize that there is a person on the other side of the Instagram account/blog.

    Thanks for all the goodness!

  • Anna

    Dear Laura,
    I don’t even know where to start. I appreciate so much that you wrote about all those demandings that you get from your fans and followers. The simple politeness would seem as rather obvious thing from people who doesn’t even know you personally, right? It seems that in this social-media ruled global world we have just forgotten what politeness is. I’m sorry for that and apologise to you deep from my heart. Although I have never (so far) made any demanding torward any food blogger, who knows, the moment has been so much closer to come that I had thought. But now is time to take a deep breath and let you do the same. I love your blog, your posts, your openess, the courage to do what seems right to you and share that with others. There is actually NOTHING I would change in your blog.
    But, if I may ask, could you maybe consider making this type of “breath-taking”, more advanced recipes, that kind of dishes that would astonish even the most unwilling omnivores? One problem I have with many vegan recipes is that when I share them with my omnivore friends and (especially!) family (for example on Christmas, Eastern and such BIG occasions) I always hear: “Nice… But it could never make a dish in a restaurant”. So I was thinking, maybe – from time to time, not even regularly – you could make that kind of “chef-style” thing? I only ask for that, because, instead of many (healty or not) food bloggers you really ARE a chef, you have experience in working in reastaurant. And I would love to see you taking us for a moment to professional cook work, let us feel for a moment that we can also cook “restaurant-style”.
    Any decision that you’ll make will please me and all your readers. But when you asked for suggestions, I couldn’t resist not to write my opinion, as I had been thinking about that already for some time. And I bet many other struggling-with-their-family’s-disrespect people too.

    Much love,


    • Anna

      Ugh… Sorry for my English.
      I only ask for that, because, UNLIKE many (healty or not) food bloggers you really ARE a chef, you have experience in working in reastaurant.
      Hopefully I haven’t made more as big mistakes as that one.

  • Lori

    This salad was amazing! I used broccoli instead of cauliflower, otherwise no changes. Whole family lived it.

  • Karen

    This recipe looks great…right up my alley – a simple, not too exotic or demanding recipe with too many moving parts.

    re. your invitation for feedback, I absolutely loved all of your posts leading up to your cookbook introduction late winter. Then, there was this long lull when every post was sponsored or some promotion of another person’s cookbook. This pattern plus your happy hour and drink concoction posts don’t interest me personally.

  • Cassie Autumn Tran

    Love every single ingredient in this salad! Buffalo-style cauliflower is my favorite!

  • Deborah

    Aloha Laura–I agree, too much rude loud (and now we can add foul) language in the headlines, we need to be nice to each other at least with our food blogs.:)
    I’m new to your corner and love your writing and recipes–thank you for making it easier to deduct meat from my diet several days a week–I made my own tahini for another of your dressings and now I can use the rest for this–

  • Ashley

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I appreciate so much that you streamline the buffalo cauliflower process because I’m lazy/time crunched and I’ve only made goopy versions before that are just so, so sad. I also loath traditional ranch (I know, I’m weird) and am excited to try out tahini ranch because tahini = better.

    I really enjoy all of your recipes, but I find myself making your drinks (from happy hour or not) the most frequently. I do enjoy hearing others’ thoughts on meal prepping since I smash together bits and pieces of advice to figure out what works for me. And I’m always in need to some packed lunch inspiration! Keep on rocking and being your genuine, awesome self because we all love that.

  • The VegHog

    Can’t beat cauliflower and tahini combo! Very nice photos you have here :)

  • Meghan

    Laura, to echo what a lot of commenters have already mentioned, I love everything about your site. I love the happy hour posts, because I love the cozy, delicious & healthy concoctions that you post as well as the links. I feel like it is a friend who is sharing what they are reading/vibing to at the moment and I love that it gives me something to think about and reflect on. I also have to say that I really enjoy all the recipes you post regardless of their “category”. Everything I have tried has been delicious, not to mention you post beautiful pictures of the process.

    You deserve a break! Your cookbook is beautiful and clearly a lot of effort, thought, and love were part of its creation.

  • renee byrd

    that larry david gif aka you at the restaurant dealing with ranch requesters… haha i legit LOLed and watched it through a few times! that would by my face too! alsooooooo i hear you girl and i feel like that about content a lot. there’s just SO much of it out there. SO. MUCH. sometimes it feels like what we put out there is just a drop of water in the ocean. but i think summer is a down-time for blogging generally. people don’t read and comment as much. personally i love the way you post (more complex recipes balanced out by simple happy hour recipes). i think that makes your posting schedule realistic for you as a maker and keeps everyone happy — the folks who want only uber simple recipes and the folks (like me) who want the more detailed goodness. much love to you xoxox

  • Amber

    Hi Laura! I just stumbled across your blog and I want to tell you – it will be a consistent destination for me. Your photos are beautiful, your posts are so easy and fun to read, and your recipes – they all look DELISH!! I love food and eating healthy is a huge priority of mine (Check out my Peaches + Kale Summer Smoothie Recipe here –> https://healthyhabits.sendlane.com/view/healthyhabits) I am looking forward to having more time this evening to search through all the recipes!! Thank you!!
    xxo -Amber

  • Maria

    thanks for this recipe…. I am getting bored with my limited ability to make good tasting vegan or vegetarian foods. I also have your book which is an amazing resource.

  • Rachel Mauro

    Hi Laura,
    Thank you so much for sharing this fabulous recipe. I doubled it (and added some sun gold tomatoes) and fed two hungry guys tonight and myself. It was absolutely delicious and came together exactly as your recipe calls for. Super easy and fast. It’s officially on the rotation! Your prep photos, finished product photos and explanations of ingredients are always great and so useful. Having never tried buffalo sauce nor eaten a chicken wing, your explanation of what to aim for when choosing the right hot sauce was crucial info. I am always on the lookout for interesting main courses and am always excited to prepare your imaginative and deeply flavorful creations. Thank you for the continued inspiration.

  • Ann

    I love to hear what you are pulling from the garden and cooking now for dinner. The combinations of flavors from around the world that explode in the mouth are wonderful. For the first time I made the eggplant flatbread this week, fell asleep dreaming about it and had to make it again 2 days later. Thank you for your inspiration!

  • Kathryn

    This recipe is speakin’ my language. Can’t wait to try it.

    Laura – As so many comments have already said, thank you for not just your wonderful recipes and beautiful photos and life goals and amazing writing (honestly your writing is one of my favorite things about your cookbook and blog), but also thank you for your honesty and openness. Sometimes your IG pics inspire an internal, “AH HOW DO YOU MAKE,” so it’s nice to hear straight from you that to actually post that is a dick move and I totally respect that ;)

    To answer your inquiry, after many years, I’m still super happy with your content. I especially love Cleo pics, lol. Anyway, thanks again for all you are willing to share of your talents.

  • Jessica

    In all honestly, I love everything you make. I feel like you switch it up enough to give a good variety of meal, drink and snack options. I especially love your sauces though, and with summertime now I find I am in the kitchen less, but still love to have a good meal. So more dips, spreads and sauces would be something I would be a little more interested in to eat with all the fresh produce. But really, whatever you create that works for you, I’m sure will be amazing :)

  • Elizabeth

    Hi Laura,
    I am not a food blogger but I’m really glad you said what you did about how demanding people can be for recipes on social media. I love your blog for the beautiful photography, relaxing vibe, and unique-but-accessible recipes, but I also really appreciate your voice. You can be kind and generous, and also real and straightforward. It is very refreshing and I wish more people had the courage to do that.

    I also just want to say that I am loving your cookbook. I have been making the sunshine everything crackers on repeat this summer, to eat for dinner with some cashew cheese, veggies and fruit – they are great! Thank you for everything you do in this space!

  • Jessie Snyder

    I got the chills reading this post, like, “was she in my head last night?!” Because I have had the same feelings this year and they have been floating around my mind too this week especially. Thanks for sharing and be so candid laura <3. Love this salad too, you are the flavor combo queen to me always.

  • Denise Parsons

    You always inspire me! Keep on keepin’ on! ;)

  • kate s.

    I love all your posts and recipes but honestly I could come here and just look at the photos and swoon. Any content you post, even if it’s a recipe I’m probably not going to try, is interesting and beautiful. Thank you so much for this blog and the cookbook, which I sometimes just browse through to relax, even if I’m not cooking.

    I do like the idea someone mentioned of seeing your pantry/fridge/freezer and maybe what you buy weekly/monthly/daily. Sometimes i see recipes and wonder if I’m supposed to have these things just laying around the house because most of the time I don’t.

    Also, as a Midwestern girl living in California–I’m drooling over this salad with ranch! :)

  • Shelby

    Hi Laura,

    First, this salad sounds fantastic and I look forward to trying it this week. I’m definitely a huge fan of the happy hour posts. There tends always to be something new and interesting or inspirational. And I love your ideas for cozy beverage treats! You’re recipes are always fantastic so I feel like you could post about pretty much any part of a meal. Meal prep strategies would definitely be much appreciated! Sometimes I feel that’s the harder part to tackle.

    Thank you!

  • Heather

    I always look forward to your recipes. The photos are always beautiful and you always bring some unique element to the recipe even if it’s a simple concoction. I think in the overstimulus of social media it is natural to sometimes feel overwhelmed with how accessible everything is now and to keep yourself unique to yourself and objective your visions and goals when everything is so upfront. But you always manage to do that. And we love you for it. I completely agree with you on the CAPITALS issue. I work in customer service and sometimes people come to our online chat to ask for a simple thing in capitals and it immediately turns me off and a bit defensive, I know, isn’t it awful! Anyways, that being said I think this is just peoples way to tell you how urgently they hope you can take the time to post a recipe for your dinners. Keep trucking darling and enjoy the downtime. I can assure you we are always here to support! I’d like to definitly have more meal prep ideas and really how you plan to eat what you eat during the week. Like if you batch, make a meal plan, etc. This is really interesting to those of us crunched for time or even budget and it’s always nice to see it from someome who seems to always have it all together. Love and Light – Heather

  • McKenzie

    You deserve some down time. Take a month or more off from blogging and nobody would fault you for it! Your readers are dedicated (at least I am). I love all of your posts and beautiful photos, and I even “save” them for quiet moments in my day when I know I can fully absorb them. I love your more philosophical posts and seeing what you’re reading, and I also love breakfast ideas because I tend to fall on smoothies or oatmeal for plant-based breakfasts and sometimes that gets old.

  • Brittany Scully

    Laura, keep on rocking lady. Everything you do is stellar and the real appreciative fans are happy with any content you send our way. :) Continuing with hearty mains is a must in my opinion (because your meals are always amazing!) and I think the happy hour sets you apart from some of the other bloggers out there.

    I second recipes on snacks, savory breakfasts, and meal prep. Also, this may be a weird request, but I know you posted a picture of the inside of your fridge once or perhaps it was posted on a sponsor’s IG… Could you post a picture of your freezer? And/or talk about how and what you freeze, the types of storage you use, etc.

    All the pleases and thank yous!!! Enjoy your summer and the lovely outdoors.

    Brittany :)

  • Abby @ Heart of a Baker

    I basically love everything of yours, please don’t change a dang thing :) I was a ranch FIEND before I cut out most dairy, so this version makes me even happier!

  • deborah

    Yes Please for all of it! I love your website. Keep up the great work. It is so inspiring and the recipes and photography rock!

  • Shannon

    Always love your hearty mains! Would love to hear your meal prep strategies too. Some time ago you also posted some protein bars that were delicious and I would love to know what other kinds of stuff you eat after a workout.

  • Melissa

    Definitely need to make this soon!

    I find coming up with hearty, savory breakfast ideas challenging. I dislike sweet things for breakfast, and I used to rely heavily on eggs for substance, but now I find myself falling a bit short much of the time. More ideas for that would be great! And yes–snacks!

  • Karlie

    Thanks for sharing the recipe Laura! And enjoy your downtime, that’s what summer is for :) I love seeing your happy hour posts the most!

  • suzanne

    please don’t change a thing-love it all. thanks so much for all the inspiration

  • Lee

    Hi Laura! Thank you for sharing this recipe, that tahini ranch looks amazing :) Although I do love the happy hour and hearty recipes, I would like to see the meal prep component as I believe it helps with other plant based cooks (considering short life of produce and such). Ah! And as always, your garden photos are just a pleasure to look at :) I’ve planted a vegetable garden myself this year and there is nothing as just going there and grab my fresh dinner and watch things grow – makes me so happy!

  • Stine Schjellerup Olsen

    I love your recipes Laura, I always get very excited when I see you’ve posted a new recipe on your blog :-) I’m really into hearty, filling dinners, lunches and perhaps as a new feature; snacks! I always seem to get hungry between lunch and dinner and I eat the same ol’ boring snacks every day and would love it if you’d consider posting vegan and healthy snack recipes here on your blog. Just an idea :-) take care.