Fire Life

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower with Shortcut Yogurt Ranch Dip

By A.J. Fusco

Buffalo wings are magical. They possess all that we seek in food. Spice, acidity, texture, and savoriness make them irresistible; but, unfortunately, they also pack in the fat and calories along with it.

Cauliflower is in the middle of a “renaissance” right now with everything from cauliflower “rice” to pizza “crust.” And with the blank canvas they offer in the flavor department, they are the perfect vehicle for buffalo sauce. Cauliflower is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol but is packed with dietary fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. It is also in season right now, which not only brings the cost down but also makes it taste that much better. A light coating of cornstarch helps add texture to the dish by absorbing excess moisture that releases during the cooking process. Cornstarch is a “flour” made from corn kernels and is also gluten-free.

Let’s not forget about the dip! No Buffalo wing platter would be complete without blue cheese or Ranch, and where you stand on that is totally up to you. But for this recipe, I feel Ranch pairs much better with the milder flavor of cauliflower. Using Greek yogurt instead of the typical buttermilk and mayo Ranch also reduces the calorie count, not to mention it’s also delicious and packs way more protein. Although there will never be a substitute for a plate of wings, this recipe certainly helps keep those cravings at bay and the fat and calories down!

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower with Shortcut Yogurt Ranch Dip

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Head Cauliflower, cut into medium-size florets
  • 1 Tbsp. Corn Starch
  • Drizzle neutral oil or coconut oil; enough to coat the florets
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ Cup Buffalo Sauce
  • Garlic Powder, Chile Powder (Optional)

Shortcut Yogurt Ranch Dip:

  • 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Packet Ranch Seasoning, to taste; add a little at a time and adjust accordingly

 

PROCEDURE:

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Toss cauliflower florets in a bowl with the oil, salt, pepper, and any other spices
  • Spread out in a single layer on a sheet/roasting pan; Roast for 15 minutes, stir, and roast for another 15 minutes or until just tender.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning
  • Toss in a large bowl with the Buffalo sauce; Serve with the Shortcut Yogurt Ranch Dip.

 

A.J. Fusco started Fork and Hose Company in 2011 by as a way to share his passion for cooking with other firefighters. Over time, it grew to a community of firehouse chefs sharing meals and recipes from all over the world, with a focus on healthier cooking. In 2017, A.J.’s dedication to firehouse cooking landed him on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” twice, and on his first show he won the Salute to Firefighters episode! A.J.’s passion for cooking didn’t stop in the firehouse! He enrolled at the International Culinary Center in Manhattan in 2016 and graduated Top of the Class in the Professional Culinary Arts program. A.J. has worked in professional kitchens in Manhattan and Westchester since graduating and continues to do so on his days off from the firehouse.