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Eat Well Sep. 17. 2013

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites and Ranch Dip

Sep. 17. 2013
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN


A healthier, non-dairy version of buffalo chicken bites.

If you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or just a vegetable lover like me, you’re not going to miss out on a thing when others are enjoying buffalo chicken bites or wings. You’ll get the same flavor and a similar texture with these Buffalo Cauliflower Bites without as many calories and not to mention more fiber and room for more! It’s football season (woot…go Bucks!) and what a perfect way to contribute to your next tailgating party or football party with a healthier version of buffalo chicken bites, Buffalo Cauliflower Bites & Ranch Dip (non-dairy friendly).

Yes, I know these have nothing to do with chicken so it may be hard to see the comparison, but let’s break it down into flavors and textures. These Buffalo Cauliflower Bites will give a greasy calorie loaded chicken wing a run for their money both nutritionally and with their flavor profile. You all are familiar with several of my cauliflower recipes (especially the Cauliflower Pizza Crust) because I love cauliflower and it’s amazing health benefits (click here to read). These bites are also a perfect way to get picky eaters and the little ones to eat their vegetables in disguise!

Ways to Serve

  • Your favorite raw vegetables, the classic raw celery sticks are my favorite!
  • A cooling dip such as ranch, blue cheese, yogurt, non-dairy versions such as this Ranch Dip below
  • Gluten free crackers and hummus, etc.


Dairy Free Ranch Dip
Recipe Type: dip, sauce, dressing
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Total time:
A non-dairy, vegan friendly ranch dip perfect for any dish that uses ranch dressing.
  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (may thin out to desired consistency)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  1. Blend all ingredients into a Vitamix or high speed blender until smooth.
  2. If using for a dip, use less water.
  3. If using for a dressing, use more water.
  4. Keep chilled until used.
  5. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite bar food, tailgating food, or party food that you would like to see made over into a healthier dish? Share below and your idea could be the next Readers Pick recipe!

Happy and healthy snacking,

xo McKel

The Recipe




  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (may thin out to desired consistency)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste


  1. Blend all ingredients into a Vitamix or high speed blender until smooth.
  2. If using for a dip, use less water.
  3. If using for a dressing, use more water.
  4. Keep chilled until used.
  5. Enjoy!

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Did you try it out?

Share Your Thoughts & Images

  • I looove this idea! Cauliflower is amazing roasted with either nutritional yeast or cheese…but as someone who doesn’t eat wings, this sounds like a great replacement!

    • Yes! I love nutritional yeast with cauliflower, so delicious. I hope you enjoy these and thanks for stopping by, hope you come back soon and feel free to share the recipe πŸ™‚

      • Joan

        My husband makes these once every week or two and we love them. He usually bakes them a day ahead. We think this makes them chewier and denser in texture which we really enjoy. These are low in fat and calories and with cauliflower being a nutritional powerhouse why would anyone ever eat a chicken wing? Wonderful recipe.

        • I couldn’t agree with you more! Who needs chicken wings when you have these? Thanks for trying and for the feedback πŸ™‚

  • Spotted these on Instagram and knew I had to bookmark the recipe. ‘Tis the season…

  • X

    Not to be weird…but you used the wrong “your” and I’m super strange about grammar so I thought I’d let you know. It’s in the line “You’re favorite raw vegetables, the classic…”

    • Haha you’re not being weird at all I have a pet peeve about grammar! Thank you for catching that, writing within the blog post is notorious for autocorrecting content. Thank you!

  • That looks delicious!

  • This is my perfect meal. I can’t remember the last day I didn’t eat cauliflower, and I’m always looking for a new way to enjoy it. Especially a spicy way! I’ll have to try this soon!

    • Wonderful! I’m glad you enjoy this one, I think if you love cauliflower already you’ll love this one too! Thanks for stopping by and come back soon πŸ™‚

  • I made your divine recipe & it was superb,…really tasty & apart too!

    I am a big fan of your tasty & creative recipes! Many Greetings from a Foodie from Belgium!

  • Tracy

    This sounds yummy, I’ll have to try it! I love the non-dairy ranch dressing, It much healthier than what you buy in the store. How long can you save the Ranch dressing in the fridge for?

    • Thanks Tracy! I’d say about a week or so. Thanks for stopping by and come back soon πŸ™‚

  • NC

    Just stumbled on to your site, loving all the great recipes. Thank I will be visiting more often.

    • Hi there! I’m glad you’ve found your way here, thank you for the kind comment πŸ™‚

  • Sky

    Wow! Looks so good! Will be making this soon, like tomorrow!Thank you for it.

  • Caitlin

    Would this work with regular all purpose flour?

    • Sure! I choose gluten free flours since I have a gluten free lifestyle, but regular will work!

  • Davina

    I think I’m in love with this recipe!!! Very delicious. Taste like actual buffalo wings. Thank you.

  • Kathryn stuart

    Could i use this recipe with chicken wings? Cauliflower has too intence of a flavor for me. Is there a spice i can add that takes away flavor? I havent been able to find one.

  • Lauren

    This looks great! I want to make it, but I don’t have GF all purpose flour. I do have other kinds of GF flours though – tapioca, potato, brown rice, and sweet sorghum. Can you recommend any of these as a substitute for the all purpose, or perhaps some mixture of them? Thank you!!

    • Hi Lauren,
      I’ve only used AP flour, but brown rice flour would work well! Hope you enjoy these πŸ™‚

  • Hi! I made these tonight. I substituted a half cup of almond meal for the flour because I an gluten sensitive. Let me just say, this was one of the most delicious surprises in a long time. This is going down as the recipe of the year! We are always looking for more vegetarian/vegan recipes and this was a home run!

    • Hi Kimberly!
      All my recipes are gluten-free- the flour used is gluten free flour! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Wow…I think I have to try this recipe! I love spicy crispy food with fresh vegetable and dip. Without deep frying is even better. I will try it with sweet chili or sweet plum sauce, maybe.

    • Hi Nicha! Thank you so much, I hope you love it as much as I do- thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Stephanie

    Made this for my family tonight and it was a big hit! I will be making it for our New Years Eve party, great recipe!

  • Angela

    What did you soaked Β½ cup cashews in? The unsweetened Almond Milk or water.

    • Hi Angela,
      Just water will due! You discard the water after soaking. Hope you love the recipe!

  • Lauren

    Don’t forget to grease the baking sheet or foil! I didn’t grease my sheet and all the cauliflower stuck to it, leaving all the yummy crunchiness left on the foil! πŸ™ Boooo! I’m sad.

  • Abbie

    I misread the instructions (I really need to resist the urge to become overly anxious when I run across a recipe that blows me away lol) and I mixed all of the ingredients together and coated my cauliflower with it and placed it in the oven…however I still fell that they came out well. Thanks for sharing!

  • diana

    These are amazing! Thank you for this fabulous vegan recipe.

  • Rachael

    I have preground cashews – How much of that would you suggest using instead of whole cashews?

  • Kelley

    I just made these and they are so good. Mine were a little soggy though so next time I will cook them on the rack instead of directly on the baking sheet.

  • Stacey

    This is the first time I’ve run across this recipe and it makes me so happy, haha! 1) I LOVE cauliflower and miss buffalo wings, 2) My sister works for a restaurant/cafe called LOFO in Upstate NY that just recently participated in a “Wing Walk” using cauliflower instead of chicken. It caused quite the uproar at first with some negative feedback, which we all found a good chuckle out of to be honest, but the complaints caused so much attention that it actually turned around to be positive. Paul McCartney caught wind of it and his daughters are now going to feature the story on their blog/site! Such a funny situation. You may find the blurb a little entertaining if you have a minute: http://search.syracuse.com/Lofo+wing+walk/

    Thanks for making this recipe available to us all! πŸ™‚

  • ?

    I’m eating this right now and it is so good! Nothing satisfies the wing craving, not even baked chicken in buffalo sauce. The texture of this is amazing, so on point. This is a godsend for dieters thank you so much for this recipe.

    • You’re SO welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed them- I’d love if you’d share this with your friends, family, fellow dieters πŸ˜‰

  • Summer

    Could I use like brown rice flour or whole wheat flour?

  • would Almond flour work instead?

  • Joanna

    Will definitely try this one at some stage! Not sure if you have already done this but I miss that yummy baked spinach artichoke cheese dip w/ cornchips that was ridiculously calorific but sooo good.

  • Steph

    I’ve made these from you last year and they were great! Can we make them ahead of time a day or two and re-bake them just before the game? Thanks! <3

    • Hm, I’m not sure how well the coating would hold up if you made this ahead of time. They really are best eaten right after you make them so they’re nice and crunchy/hot. PLUS they take no time to make πŸ˜‰

  • Angela

    I am excited to say that I made these Buffalo Cauliflower Bites for the Super Bowl party I attended tonight. They were Ahmazing! The best part was hearing the ladies tell their guys, ” You have to try these, they are delicious!” Many folks were asking me about the recipe and I of course had to spread the word about Nutrition Stripped. Thank you, McKel for this tasty treat.

  • Yalisa

    This was amamzing!!!! I made this for the super bowl and even my not vegan husband and brother in law loved them! Delicious!!!

  • Vivienne

    I made these as a side dish for dinner.. wonderful! I didn’t want the hot sauce or butter so I topped them with some crushed tomatoes and a spoon of extra batter. I used chickpea flour instead of plain flour. Tasted lovely and healthy!!
    Sauce was lovely too – lemon really finishes it off.
    If you soak the cashews for longer will the texture be less ‘grainy’?

    • That sounds wonderful, thank you for sharing! Yes, the longer you soak cashews the softer they become and if you use a high-speed blender (check my resources page for my favorites) it’ll be velvety smooth!

  • Danielle

    Just brought these to a party and got several recipe requests, they were a big hit! Thanks for the great recipe!

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