I love how this recipe works as a vegetarian substitute for what usually is a crispy battered meat. It incorporates a vegetable whilst still being super tasty. It’s healthy in two ways, we’re getting nutrients from the vegetable thanks to the cauliflower bites and they’re made crispy through baking rather than deep frying.
The buffalo cauliflower bites are little crispy balls of spicy, smoky flavour which when dunked in some chili mayo, make for the best movie snack or side dish.
The vegetarian star of the show.
Adds an extra layer of flavour and heat to the buffalo cauliflower bites. It also adds the most vibrant colour to give the batter that deep fried look.
For the batter.
Soy Milk (Unsweetened)
I like the use of soy milk here, but feel free to use any unsweetened milk of your choosing.
Adds sweetness and helps to crisp up the cauliflower bites when they’re being baked in the oven.
Balances the smoky spicy buffalo bites nicely whilst still having a slight kick from the hot sauce that we add to the mayo. I, of course, opt for hellmans.
This activates the batter and causes it to rise slightly which helps to add crispiness in the oven.
I go for a blend of cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin, onion salt and garlic granules.
Perfect for the high heat we want to cook at. It’s also a great neutral oil to use here as we don’t want the oil to add any flavour, just to help achieve the crispy cauliflower bites.
Preheat oven to 180°C FAN/ 200°C
Start by combining the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, onion salt, garlic granules and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
Slowly stir the soy milk into the bowl and mix together to achieve a smooth thick batter, similar to the consistency of American pancake batter.
Now pour the cauliflower florets into the batter and use a spatula to ensure all the pieces are evenly coated.
Using up any left over batter, throw in the cauliflower leaves and ensure evenly coated.
On a 2 separate greased and lined baking sheets, drizzle around half of the rapeseed oil onto the foil (approx 1.5 tbsp on each of the trays) and spread evenly across the trays. Then add the florets one by one to one of the trays and evenly distribute them so they aren’t touching each other. On a separate tray, place the coated caulflower leaves and distribute evenly.After around 12 minutes, the caulflower florets should be golden brown but not starting to crisp. Remove both trays from the oven.
Drizzle with your favourite hot sauce and honey over the florets and leaves, moving the pieces around with the spatula to evenly coat.
Now pop back in the oven for around 5 minutes, keeping your eye on the florets and leaves. Remove when the cauliflower bites and leaves are crispy and golden brown. Season generously with flaky salt straight after removing the trays from the oven, as this will allow the salt to bind better.
Serve with your favourite hot sauce combined with mayo to make a chilli mayo.”
I use Frank’s buffalo wings sauce, as it’s usually used on fried chicken, which is the hot and saucy vibe that we’re trying to create with the buffalo cauliflower bites.
Any hot sauce that allows you to use a higher volume without it being too spicy would work here. For example, we don’t want to use a dripping hot sauce like regular franks or tabasco, as we’d have to use a whole bottle to coat our cauliflower and it would be far too spicy/tangy.
You could use sriracha to coat the bites, but bear in mind that you’ll get more of a sweet/ asian flavoured undertone, rather than American/buffalo vibes.
If you want to make this side recipe into a main meal, you could serve the cauliflower bites with a protein such as:
Other foods you could pair it with:
Are these freezable?
No sadly not. If you froze them they would lose their crispiness and be very soggy.
Can I make them ahead of time?
You could make the batter for the buffalo cauliflower bites ahead of time and prep the cauliflower ahead of time. That way, when you come to making the bites you can just combine everything and pop it in the oven. It’s best to eat them fresh out of the oven though, as to retain the crispiness, we don’t want to reheat them.
Is this recipe vegan?
Switch the honey for maple syrup and ensure your hot sauce is vegan, then it’s vegan-friendly.
Can I use an air fryer?
You can! If you preheat your air fryer to 190°C and then cook for 8 minutes, adding the hot sauce/honey and popping in for another 4 minutes or until golden and crispy.