Spicy Cauliflower Cheese Bites with Tahini Ranch.
Meet the healthier, better tasting, Super Bowl appetizer, Spicy Cauliflower Cheese Bites with Tahini Ranch.
It’s crazy that the Super Bowl is this Sunday. Most years I post a number of Super Bowl focused recipes, but this year it really just snuck up on me. I guess my focus has been much more on snowboarding, and the upcoming Olympics…and our big trip to Korea…than football.
The good news is, I am finally sharing some game day recipes.
Enter these spicy cauliflower bites with tahini ranch…better than chicken wings, and with a much healthier ranch…honest.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but back when I first started cooking, my family was obsessed with buffalo chicken, like homemade oven-baked buffalo chicken. I used to make it all the time. They still love it to this day, but you know, I needed to try something non-buffalo this year, and happily, I found these cauliflower bites to be just as good.
They’re spicy, cheesy, and paired with a non mayo based ranch.
Here’s how these go. Start out by roasting the cauliflower. I like to add a little spice to the cauliflower by adding on some hot sauce. Next comes the cheese! The cheese is what make these bites similar to fried mac and cheese bites, but minus the frying and the macaroni. So not really the same at all, but the flavors and textures are there. I used a mix of parmesan and cheddar to get some really nice flavor. As the cauliflower roasts, the cheese melts and gets a little crispy towards the end, SO delicious. Think roasted cauliflower, but instead of it being boring, it’s fun with hints of spice, smoked paprika, and generous amounts of cheese. If you thought you didn’t like cauliflower, you will after making these bites.
While the cauliflower is roasting in the oven, make the ranch. I’ve mentioned this before, but I really don’t like mayo or mayo based sauces. So most of the time I steer clear of ranch dressing. Over the last year or so, I have really loved swapping mayo for tahini, which is simply ground sesame seeds. It has the same creaminess, but better flavor. So that’s what I did with this ranch. The tahini replaces the mayo making this a dairy-free, gluten free ranch.
Put it all together and you have the best healthy Super Bowl snack, easy appetizer, or side dish to serve at your next gathering.
I love making these bites on Sunday and having them on hand to throw into big salads for easy lunches and dinners, or just to have around as an easy afternoon snack. They really are addicting.
When I made these bites last week, I wasn’t sure how my family would react to them, I mean they are technically a vegetable. But when I sent a batch up to my parent’s house for the real taste test, everyone said they loved them.
The great thing about these bites is that, contrary to the feeling you get after eating fried mac n’ cheese balls, or fried chicken wings, these bites are pretty much guiltless. I mean, sure there’s cheese, but you all know how I feel about cheese…everything in moderation.
My one recommendation? If you’re making these for the Super Bowl this weekend, double the recipe. Trust me, these bites go fast.
Spicy Cauliflower Cheese Bites with Tahini Ranch
Better than chicken wings, and with a healthier ranch, the perfect little bites!
- 2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce (I like Franks)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to your taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/3 cup grated cheddar
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. On a baking sheet, toss together the cauliflower, olive oil, hot sauce, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the parmesan and toss to coat. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes. Remove and add the cheddar. Return to the oven and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is golden and the cheese begins to crisp.
3. Meanwhile, make the ranch. Combine all ingredients in bowl. Add 1/4 cup water and whisk with a fork to combine, adding water if needed to thin. Taste and adjust seasonings.
4. Serve the warm cauliflower bites with the tahini ranch. Enjoy!
The perfect little bites.
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