Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls with Vegan Ranch

Post-holiday winter in New England means one thing: sports. And whether or not you actually watch the Super Bowl, most of us can agree that there's something cozy and festive about getting together with family and friends on game day. Because - for those of us who don't care which teams wins - we have the commercials. And - most importantly - we have the food (and wine). Though most Super Bowl food gets a bad rap (health-wise, anyway), game day food doesn't have to be bad for you. Enter these Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls with Vegan Ranch... a hearty dish that even wing-eatin' nacho lovers (no judgement, I'm talking to myself here) will enjoy.

 Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls with Vegan Ranch Dressing | Vegan and gluten free. | Loveleaf Co. | www.loveleafco.com
 Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls with Vegan Ranch Dressing | Vegan and gluten free. | Loveleaf Co. | www.loveleafco.com
 Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls with Vegan Ranch Dressing | Vegan and gluten free. | Loveleaf Co. | www.loveleafco.com

These Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls with Vegan Ranch are downright addicting and easy enough to make any day of the week (no need to hold out for the Super Bowl!). Full of veggies and healthy fats, these bowls are vegan, gluten-free, and - if you use almond flour and omit the quinoa - paleo too. A healthy, balanced meal without sacrificing those comforting flavors you love. Because even game-day is upgradable in a real food way (hello simple ingredients). It's not about giving up your favorite party foods. It's about upgrading to the quality stuff.  Yes, tortilla chips (organic corn, oil, salt), this can even mean you. And hey, red wine! You're real too. So enjoy these buffalo cauliflower bowls ... and then maybe some chips and wine if that's your thing (can you tell it's ours?) Happy Super Bowl weekend!

 Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls with Vegan Ranch Dressing | Vegan and gluten free. | Loveleaf Co. | www.loveleafco.com

Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls with Vegan Ranch

INGREDIENTS

BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Frank's hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or grass-fed butter, melted

VEGAN RANCH

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked and drained (see notes)
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

BOWLS

  • 2/3 cups dry quinoa
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

INSTRUCTIONS

MAKE THE CAULIFLOWER

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet pan with foil and lightly grease.
  2. Make the cauliflower batter by combing gluten-free flour, water, garlic powder, and a bit of salt and pepper in a medium bowl and mix until well combined.
  3. In batches, dip the cauliflower in the batter allowing the excess to drip off before placing the cauliflower, in a single layer, on the baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

PREPARE THE HOT SAUCE AND THE QUINOA

  1. Prepare the hot sauce: In a large bowl, whisk together the hot sauce and melted oil or butter. You will wait to add the cauliflower to the sauce until right before serving.
  2. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly with cool water for about 2 minutes and drain. Add quinoa to a saucepan with 1 1/3 cups of water or broth and a pinch of salt. Bring to a rolling boil, then lower heat to lowest setting and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and let stand for 5 more minutes, covered.

MAKE THE VEGAN RANCH AND ASSEMBLE

  1. Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Divide the quinoa between four bowls. Right before serving, add the baked cauliflower and toss it in the sauce until all pieces are covered. Then, divide the prepared cauliflower between the four bowls. Top with avocado slices, sliced tomatoes, a generous drizzle of the vegan ranch, and sliced scallions.

NOTES

FLOUR
Any all-purpose gluten-free flour should work well here. To make it paleo, use almond flour (not almond meal) and omit the quinoa.

CASHEWS
Soak the cashews overnight and drain the liquid before blending. To quick-soak the cashews, cover with water in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Drain and proceed with recipe.

VEGAN RANCH
This Vegan Ranch recipe will make more than you need for the buffalo cauliflower bowls. But it's delicious on everything; we especially like it on shredded kale salads or on this barbecue chickpea socca pizza.