This is the part where I disclose my football alliance. I am a diehard Green Bay Packers fan. Always have been, always will be. And while I typically don’t advertise this to employers or colleagues out of fear of relationships ending, I feel it’s time you know the truth. That said, Packers fans know how to eat! I distinctly remember an away game I went to in San Diego, walking around the tailgate and instantly identifying which fans were Packers fans based on their food selections. I passed one Chargers tailgate with a sushi platter and fish tacos, and then almost immediately passed a Packers tailgate with bratwurst, cheese curds, and bacon wrapped venison. And while I love both food spreads equally and will gladly enjoy sushi and tacos any day of the year, my alliance remains with the cheeseheads.
When I was whipping up this appetizer before kickoff this week, I was under a lot of pressure. This recipe had to pass the taste test of some real football fans, who had lofty expectations of game day grub. I’m pretty sure when my dad saw me prepping cauliflower, he mumbled something along the lines of “rabbit food” under his breath. Much like Jordy Nelson, the pressure was definitely on to perform today.
Cauliflower is honestly the most versatile vegetable on the market. From cauliflower crusted pizza, to cauliflower tots, and now buffalo cauliflower bites, it can pretty much replace a potato, bread, or meat in almost any recipe. And while I love a good chicken wing from time and again, I do get pretty jazzed about challenging myself to try something new and innovative in the kitchen, like swapping the traditional chicken wing with a wholesome vegetable, like cauliflower.
These buffalo cauliflower bites taste shockingly similar to chicken wings. When I began developing this recipe, I thought it would be a stretch at best to make imitation wings. I couldn’t have been more wrong! These little guys are so delicious and juicy, I forgot that I was chomping on a cruciferous veg the whole time. And believe it or not, they passed the football fan taste test with flying colors! I got a nod of approval from my loyal taste testers, which is really all I needed to chalk it up to a win in my play book. *Insert touchdown dance here*
Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Ranch Dressing
Yield: 4 servings, 1 cup each
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup Frank’s RedHot Sauce
- fresh parsley leaves, minced
- 1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup nonfat milk
- 1 T parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon dill weed
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, milk, water, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Dip the cauliflower pieces into the bowl until completely coated.
- Spread cauliflower evenly on a coated baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, mix melted butter and hot sauce.
- Dip the cauliflower into the bowl until completely coated.
- Spread on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until crispy, flipping once.
- While the cauliflower is baking, in a separate bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the ranch. Adjust the amount of milk based on desired consistency.
- Remove cauliflower from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes to cool. Sprinkle with parsley, serve, and enjoy!
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