Buffalo Cauliflower Salad with Healthy Ranch Dressing

Author: Sarah Cobacho

Published: April 29, 2024

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Full view of buffalo cauliflower salad with avocado and a tangy, herb-infused ranch dressing with Sarah in the background holding the dressing.

This Buffalo Cauliflower Salad with Healthy Ranch Dressing packs so many flavors and is going to make you feel amazing! Ranch dressing is a beloved classic known for its creamy, tangy flavor, but often, it’s not the most nutritious option. Our version is just as creamy and indulgent but made with raw cashews and fresh herbs for a boost of micronutrients. Once combined with the deliciously roasted cauliflower and tofu chunks in (my take on) buffalo sauce, tangy pickled onions, and crispy lettuce, it turns into a fantastic high-protein salad (31 g per serving) that will make you feel full and satisfied for hours!

Creamy vegan ranch dressing being poured over a colorful buffalo cauliflower salad.

Why I Love this recipe

  • High-Protein Content: 31 g per serving, mostly from the tofu and nuts.
  • Fiber Progressive Overload: This recipe contains 9 g of fiber per serving, which is a good starting point for reaching the minimum recommended daily intake of 25 g for women and 35 g for men. It’s actually a low-ish amount for a fully plant-based dish, making this salad ideal if you’re new to incorporating plants into your plate, as too much fiber too quickly can lead to discomfort.
  • Flavorful and Satisfying: The spicy buffalo sauce, creamy ranch dressing and all the delicious veggies are so flavorful and satisfying.
Assorted vibrant ingredients prepped for creating a nutritious buffalo cauliflower salad.

Salad Ingredients

Fresh ingredients for buffalo cauliflower salad ranch dressing arranged on a white surface with labels.

Healthy Ranch Dressing Ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Extra Firm Tofu: High in protein and a perfect texture for baking. Substitute with tempeh for a nuttier flavor.
  • Cauliflower: Low in calories, high in vitamins, and a great source of fiber. Can be replaced with broccoli for a similar nutritional profile.
  • Raw Cashews: Used for the base of the ranch dressing, soaked to create a smooth, creamy texture. Packed with minerals and healthy fats.
  • Hot Sauce: Opt for Valentina’s for a moderate kick, or switch to a hotter variety if preferred.
  • Maple Syrup: Adds a slight sweetness to balance the heat, can be substituted with honey or agave syrup.
Handcrafted ranch dressing with fresh herbs, ready to complement the buffalo cauliflower salad.

How to Make This Recipe (Summary)

Start by soaking your cashews for the ranch. Blend the ranch ingredients until smooth and chill until thickened. Prep the buffalo sauce mix and coat the tofu and cauliflower. Bake until crispy and golden. Combine all salad components and drizzle with the ranch dressing. Enjoy this perfect blend of heat and creaminess. View recipe card below for detailed instructions.

Baked golden-brown buffalo cauliflower florets and tofu on a parchment-lined baking tray.

Variations and Tips

  • Add Pita: Serve with warm pita bread for dipping into the extra ranch.
  • Spice Variations: Adjust the amount of hot sauce based on your spice preference.
  • Nut-Free Ranch: Use sunflower seeds instead of cashews for those with nut allergies.
  • Storage Tip: Keep the ranch dressing refrigerated and consume within 5 days.
  • Prep Ahead: Make the ranch dressing a day in advance to enhance its flavor, and give it a thicker consistency.
Overhead shot of a fresh, vibrant buffalo cauliflower salad with creamy ranch dressing on the side.

Why You’ll Love This Buffalo Cauliflower Salad with Healthy Ranch Dressing TLDR

  • Protein-packed
  • Rich in calcium
  • Full of flavor
  • Easy to prep
Full view of buffalo cauliflower salad with avocado and a tangy, herb-infused ranch dressing with Sarah in the background holding the dressing.

Buffalo Cauliflower Salad with Healthy Ranch Dressing

5 from 8 votes
This nutritious and delicious salad combines spicy buffalo cauliflower with a creamy, homemade ranch dressing, perfect for a high-protein, satisfying meal.
Sarah Cobacho (plantbaes.com)
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time55 minutes

Video

Servings 2

Ingredients

Healthy Ranch Dressing

  • ¼ cup cashews
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 dash freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 dash sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional, adds a touch of sweetness)
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp dry chives

Buffalo Sauce

  • 2 tbsp hot sauce (I used Valentina's)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 pinch sea salt flakes

Salad

  • 10.5 oz extra firm tofu
  • ½ cauliflower (chopped into florets)
  • 1 baby gem lettuce (roughly chopped)
  • 4 mini sweet bell peppers (or sub for ½ red bell pepper, diced)
  • ½ cup pickled onions
  • ½ avocado (diced)
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans

Instructions

  • Prepare the Healthy Ranch Dressing: Soak the cashews in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  • Add the soaked cashews, garlic, lemon juice, onion powder, black pepper, salt, maple syrup, and soy milk to a small blender. Blend until perfectly smooth. Transfer to a jar.
  • Stir in the dill, parsley, and chives. If you prefer a thicker texture, let it set in the fridge. The longer it sets, the thicker the dressing will be.
  • Prepare the salad: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare the buffalo coating by combining the hot sauce, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, paprika, garlic powder, maple syrup, and sea salt flakes.
  • Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Using your hands, break the tofu into small chunks. Spread the tofu and cauliflower onto the baking tray, and coat with the buffalo sauce. Bake for 25 minutes, on the middle rack of the oven.
  • In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, baked buffalo cauliflower, tofu, bell peppers, pickled onions, avocado, and pecans. Drizzle with the healthy ranch dressing, et voila!

Per Serving

Calories 524kcalCarbohydrates 33gProtein 31gFat 35gSodium 446mgFiber 9gVitamin A 334IUVitamin C 82mgCalcium 711mgIron 7mg
COURSE Salad
CUISINE American-Inspired
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FAQ

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, but always check the labels on your food if you need certified gluten-free ingredients.

Is this recipe suitable for a vegan diet?

Yes, all ingredients are plant-based.

Can the buffalo sauce be made less spicy?

Yes, simply reduce the amount of hot sauce.

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15 Comments

  1. You’re going to love this easy and beautiful grilled broccolini and pomegranate salad, packed with fiber, protein, and fresh flavors! Make sure to rate it 5 stars if you enjoyed it!5 stars

    1. I’m not usually the biggest fan of raw cauliflower but if you like it, go for it 🙂, can probably skip the coating and just add a bit of hot sauce 🙂

  2. Wow – I made this for dinner this evening and it was delicious! I’ve made enough for my son and I to have again tomorrow. Thank you Sara for another delicious and healthy recipe 🫠5 stars

      1. Absolutely, you could replace the buffalo sauce coating by just olive oil, paprika and garlic powder, it would still be delicious 🙂

5 from 8 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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