Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

I was never a big fan of buffalo sauce until I went on a date to

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro

. On a whim, my date ordered their version of battered and fried cauliflower smothered in buffalo sauce. Always willing to try anything at least once, I grabbed a cauliflower dripping in the vile red sauce and popped it into my mouth. To my surprise, I absolutely loved it. The tanginess of the sauce, the crispy shell around the soft cauliflower, and the cool vegan ranch mixed together to create this highly addictive and delicious appetizer.

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Since then, I've always tossed around the idea of making my own but never wanted to deal with frying them. Finally, today I had some free time to experiment with a frying-free recipe. The result? This ultra satisfying and health-ified version of Sage's tasty treat.

Plain cauliflower bites without sauce

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I used whole wheat flour (which can easily be subbed for gluten-free flour) and baked these babies for about 10 minutes. Next time, I think I'll let them bake a little more to get a more crunchy shell. Even though I had an exceptional experience with buffalo sauce on my dinner date, I'm still a bit weary of it. Instead of covering all of my cauliflower in the cayenne pepper sauce, I baked a smaller batch on a separate sheet. After 10 minutes in the oven, I removed them and poured a small amount of buffalo sauce on them and put them back in the oven for five more minutes. Turns out, I prefer the saucy ones! I'll be sure to smother my next batch in all that buffalo goodness. These were so easy to make, pretty darn healthy, and really filling!

Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

-1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces

-1/2 cup water

-1/2 cup flour (whole wheat or gluten-free)

-1 tsp onion powder

-1 tsp salt

-buffalo sauce, as desired (Frank's Red Hot is vegan, as is Albertson's store brand "Everyday Essentials")

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Chop cauliflower into bite sized pieces. In a medium bowl, combine water, flour, onion powder, and salt. Whisk until smooth and combined, adding a bit more water if necessary. Lightly spray canola oil on a baking sheet. Dip cauliflower into batter, covering all parts of it, and lay on baking sheet. Pop cauliflower bites into the oven and let bake for ten minutes. Remove from oven. If you are using buffalo sauce, cover your bites in the sauce and place back in the oven for 5-10 more minutes, or until crispy. Remove from oven. Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, and coolv egan ranch for the ultimate appetizer!