This vegan buffalo cauliflower salad is everything a salad should be: veggie-packed with a wide range of flavors + textures and generously doused in drizzles of cool cashew ranch.
Our big move from city to suburbs is upon us.
As we prepare for the movers' arrival on Friday, we're both scrambling to get everything in order and attempting to peacefully soak up our last week in the beautiful condo we've called home for six years.
Moving is (almost) always bittersweet, isn't it? The anticipation of forward movement and expansion into roomier spaces is exciting and inviting. And yet, there's that part of us that wonders if maybe this is enough. Just as it is.
As I look around our place, the eyes that once saw cramped spaces and minor flaws now see spaciousness and perfection.
And while I am completely, whole-heartedly at peace with (and thrilled about) our decision to make this move, I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm going to miss this place.
Here, in this home, is where...
We celebrated our first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and SIXTH wedding anniversaries.
I wrote my first cookbook.
Dan started his (now) blooming company, Odeza.
I made the shift from vegetarian to vegan.
We welcomed our sweet baby girl, Sloane, into the world.
Some big, wave-making milestones. Of course, there was plenty of boring and even straight-up bleh stuff mixed in there, too.
The walls that surrounded us during sunny, celebratory times also saw the depths of my postpartum anxiety and depression.
So much so that I wasn't sure I'd be able to return to this space after living in Milwaukee. I feared the darkness would find me again here.
It didn't, and I'm very grateful to have rounded out our experience here on a brighter, lighter note. (As I write this, my anxiety reminds me: "Be careful!! There's still time for things to unravel!" Always a glass-half-full kinda gal, she is.)
For a moment there, hindsight had shaded all of my memories here in blue when really it was only a tiny fraction of them that truly held that hue.
Funny how our minds can do that, isn't it? An interesting psychology deep-dive for another day. You know me, I'd be happy to geek-out on that. ☺️
For now, though, let's tuck into this salad...
Nourishing greens topped with crunchy red cabbage, refreshing cucumbers, crisp celery, and heaps of roasted buffalo cauliflower.
Of course, no salad would be complete without very generous drizzles of ranch dressing. And in this particular instance, we have what I like to call Cool Cashew Ranch Dressing. Because its creaminess cools in the face of all that fiery buffalo sauce.
Few things make me happier for lunch these days.
This is a salad that satisfies, fuels, and delights. A "triple threat", if you will.
Buffalo Cauliflower Salad
- 1 medium-large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1-inch florets
- ¼ to ½ cup vegan buffalo sauce (e.g., Franks Red Hot), to taste
- Red cabbage, shredded, to taste
- Celery, washed, trimmed, and thinly sliced
- Mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
- Baby kale, to taste
- Pepitas, to taste
Cool Cashew Ranch Dressing
- ½ cup raw cashews**
- ½ cup filtered water
- 2 scallions, ends trimmed and cut in half
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Add the cauliflower florets to a large baking sheet. Drizzle with the buffalo sauce, and toss to coat.
- Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway through, or until tender and beginning to turn golden brown.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.
- Make the dressing: Add all the dressing ingredients to a high-speed blender, and blend on high until completely smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Assemble the salads: In roomy bowls, layer the kale with cabbage, celery, cucumber, and pepitas. Top with the buffalo cauliflower and drizzle generously with the dressing.
- Serve immediately.
Sarah | Well and Full says
This salad looks absolutely amazing! And I completely understand where you're coming from. My fiancé and I were living in a tiny apartment in a not-so-safe neighborhood before we moved to the suburbs. I was very unhappy there! And yet, when it came time to move, I found myself experiencing many of the same emotions you described. It's hard to leave what you know and venture into the unknown. Especially when there are milestones you've celebrated there. But I hope that you love your new house and I can't wait to see what you create in your new kitchen :)
So well put, Sarah! You've just articulated my exact feelings about this move. We've been lucky to live in a very safe neighborhood (by Chicago's standards), but I've never felt truly at home here. Thank you for always being supportive and open. Happy to know the suburbs have been a welcomed change for you!
This salad looks great. Since I have everything for it I'm looking forward to making it for dinner this evening. I usually steer away from hot sauce and am wondering if there would be a non-spicey or mildly spiced alternative to Frank's.
Thanks very much.
Thank you! Good question about the hot sauce. There are brands that have "mild" buffalo sauce, although off-hand I'm not sure of specific types/names. The thing to be careful about with buffalo sauce (if you're planning to keep this vegan) is that some brands contain eggs. That's why I tend to rely on Frank's. If you use Frank's you could try cutting back to just a couple douses of the sauce (in terms of "hot sauce," it's actually quite mild). Hope this helps!
This is hands down the best ranch dressing I have ever made. Actually, all of your salad dressings are terrific! Thank you!
Well thank you, Heather! This is such wonderful feedback to receive, and I'm so grateful you took the time to come back and share it. :)
Celeste Jackson says
Many great memories, indeed! It’s wonderful having you closer but I’ll kind of miss that place too. On another note, I love the textures and flavors this recipe offers❤️ Can’t wait to try it.
This looks tasty! On the dressing, do you soak the cashews? It doesn’t look like it but typically that’s what I see so just checking. 😊
Hi, Kathleen! I don't soak them but you'll want to if you're not using a high-speed blender. Enjoy!
Hi can you tell me how many calories in this recipe please? This was delicious!
Hi, Rukshana! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! I don't calculate nutrition information for my recipes, but there are lots of wonderful calculators online that you can simply drop the post link into and the info will automatically populate for you.
Geoffrey @ Vegan Catering says
Mmmmm, can't beat a good spicy salad! I bet this would work well as a wrap too. I currently live in an interesting part of Baltimore and there's a bullet hole in my mailbox, so I look forward to moving away like you did someday.
Agree about the spicy salad, Geoffrey! I'm so sorry about the bullet hole—that sounds truly frightening. I hope you're able to move somewhere where you feel safer one day soon, too. Take good care and stay safe.