BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER SALAD WITH TAHINI RANCH

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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.

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!

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BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER SALAD WITH CHICKPEAS & TAHINI RANCH RECIPE
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 2 as a main, 4-5 as a side
NOTES: 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.

TAHINI RANCH INGREDIENTS:
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, finely minced
1 sprig of fresh dill, minced
sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste

BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER 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.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees 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!

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