vegan (kind of) copy cat

It’s been almost a month since my experience in the desert for the Coachella Music Festival. I’m still thinking about amazing performances by Beck, Nas, Girl Talk and numerous others. I’m also still thinking  about the Buffalo-style cauliflower from the Mohawk Bend booth at Coachella. Because I don’t live in LA, and Coachella only happens once a year, I’m unable to drop in when I get a craving. Which means my copy cat mentality has set in. I do this a lot, you see. I will fall in love with a dish at a restaurant and become fixated on recreating it at home.

I have to say, this recreated version was pretty good. I was most impressed with the bleu cheese dressing. Maybe it’s the power of suggestion, but dipping a piece of buffalo-doused cauliflower into faux bleu cheese dressing tasted like the real thing. I’m not going to claim the cauliflower tasted like chicken, but that dressing, when eaten with the cauliflower, was amazingly deceptive. Even my meat and cheese loving husband liked it. And this was after he turned up his nose at the thought of a bleu cheese dressing that includes tofu.


My kitchen notes:

I used brown rice flour for the cauliflower batter because it doesn’t contain gluten and I figured it would be less gloppy. However, if you don’t want to purchase special flour, good ‘ole all purpose will work too.

I made the bleu cheese dressing a day in advance so the flavors had a chance to blend.

For the bleu cheese dressing I opted to use the gold standard of mayo, Best Foods, rather than veganaise. This was simply because I knew I wouldn’t use veganaise, so it felt like a waste to buy an entire jar for a recipe. However, if you want this to be a vegan recipe, go for veganaise.

Buffalo-Style Cauliflower with “Bleu Cheese” Dressing 

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce. I know, I know, it’s chock full of unnatural stuff. I suggest using Frank’s sauce because it has that distinct hot wings flavor.

Vegan Bleu Cheese Dressing
1/4 block of extra firm tofu, pressed between paper towels to remove moisture
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup vegenaise  – I ended up using regular mayo, but if you want to stick with the vegan variety of mayo
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400º and oil/butter a baking sheet. Mix the flour, water and a pinch of salt into a medium bowl to form a batter.

2. Thinly coat each cauliflower floret with the batter. It’s important to make sure it’s not too thickly coated so it crisps in the oven like fried batter on chicken wings.

3. Arrange battered florets on baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until cauliflower starts to turn golden.

4. To make the bleu cheese dressing, mix all ingredients except the tofu, into a small bowl.  After all ingredients are incorporated, crumble tofu to create a chunky bleu cheese texture. Stir tofu into dressing so it’s well mixed.

5. Add Frank’s hot sauce to a separate bowl. When the cauliflower florets are done, toss them in hot sauce so they’re well coated.

6. Serve hot cauliflower with bleu cheese dressing on the side.


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