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Buffalo cauliflower salad with chickpeas & tahini ranch (vegan) - The First Mess

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.
Cuisine American
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword avocado oil, Buffalo sauce, cauliflower, celery, chickpeas, chili, dill, garlic, green onions, greens, hot sauce, lettuce, nutritional yeast, paprika, quick, red onion, smoked paprika, tahini
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.)


  • 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!


  • 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.