Recipe: Buffalo Chickpea & Cauliflower Pitas w/ Ranch Slaw
I absolutely love the taste of buffalo sauce, but as a vegetarian I definitely don’t get to consume it as often as those of you who eat chicken wings. I mean, melted butter and hot sauce…what evil genius invented this magic combo??
Cauliflower is often used as a chicken wing substitute for vegetarians, and for good reason—it’s essentially flavorless and acts as the perfect conduit for saucy goodness. Plus, it crisps up like nobody’s business. Why not use this as the “meat” in a Buffalo wing-inspired pita sandwich? Pure gold.
Buffalo wings are usually served with celery and/or carrots, bleu cheese and ranch for dipping, so I wanted to make sure those elements were present in this pita. For the crunchiness that you’d find with celery and carrots, I chose a basic bagged slaw and tossed it in a Greek yogurt-based “ranch” sauce. Simple bleu cheese crumbles and roasted chickpeas topped off this super tasty and easy meal!
Whole wheat pita pockets
1 cauliflower head, cut into small florets
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. water
2 t. garlic powder
1/4 c. melted butter
2/3 c. Frank’s RedHot Original Sauce
1 can chickpeas, drained
Bibb leaf lettuce, chopped
Bleu cheese crumbles
1 bag slaw mix
1 T. Italian seasoning
1 T. dry dill
1 t. onion powder
1 t. dry minced onions
Splash of white wine vinegar
5.3 oz. non-fat, unflavored Greek yogurt
3-4 T. lite mayonnaise
Salt & pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, add the flour, water, 1 t. garlic powder and season with salt and pepper. Whisk well so there are no flour chunks. Add the cauliflower florets to the bowl and toss thoroughly to coat.
2) Drain the chickpeas and toss in a bag with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper.
3) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Dump the cauliflower mixture onto one sheet and the chickpeas onto the other. Spread out the contents of both so that the cauliflower and chickpeas are in one layer. Bake for 20 minutes on the top rack.
4) While the cauliflower and chickpeas are baking, rinse out your flour bowl and use it to melt the butter. When the butter is melted, pour in the hot sauce and stir to combine.
5) After 20 minutes, remove the cauliflower and chickpeas from the oven. Drop each cauliflower floret into the bowl with the butter/hot sauce mixture and stir to coat. Remove each floret, shake off any excess sauce, and place back onto the baking sheet.
6) There should be enough sauce remaining to do the same with the chickpeas. Toss well and add back to the second baking sheet. Cook for another 10 minutes on the top rack.
7) While the cauliflower and chickpeas are cooking for the second time, combine the Greek yogurt, mayo, Italian seasoning, onion powder, dry minced onion and 1 t. garlic powder in a large bowl. Season with salt & pepper and stir thoroughly to combine. Pour the bag of slaw mix into the bowl and add a splash of white wine vinegar. Stir until the slaw is fully coated with the Greek yogurt sauce.
8) After the 10 minutes are up, set the chickpeas aside. They should be fairly crispy at this point, but if you think they need more time then feel free to add them back to the oven. Toss the cauliflower and add them back to the oven’s top rack for another 15 minutes. You want the cauliflower to be crispy but not burnt; depending on your oven, you may need to cook it a bit longer.
9) Open up the pitas and microwave them for 20-30 seconds each. Assemble the pitas with the chopped lettuce, cauliflower and slaw mix. Top with the chickpeas and bleu cheese crumbles. I highly recommend serving with a bit of Trader Joe’s Bleu Cheese Mustard if desired/available!