This Buffalo Cauliflower Pasta Salad is packed with roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, and crunchy veggies for a creamy, slightly spicy, and yummy dish!
Step aside, plainly dressed pasta salads. This Buffalo Cauliflower Pasta Salad is taking over.
It’s got hearty noodles, chickpeas, roasted cauliflower, crunchy veggies, and a to-die-for 2-ingredient (!!!) buffalo dressing that’s going to blow your mind. Not to mention it’s easy to make – which means it’s perfect for lunch, dinner, or potlucks and parties!
INGREDIENTS FOR BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER PASTA SALAD
This pasta salad is made from only 9 simple ingredients, but each one packs a big punch. It’s also totally vegan & gluten-free optional! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Buffalo Wing Sauce: this vinegary and medium-spiced sauce is typically made from butter and traditional “red hot” sauce. There are a lot of vegan options on the market nowadays, including Frank’s and The New Primal. If you’re in a pinch, regular old red hot sauce will work as well.
- Pasta: I used a chickpea flour-based rotini here, but you can really use whatever you’d like. I recommend choosing a shorter shape that has some ridges in it to better hold the dressing!
- Cauliflower: roasted cauliflower adds a nice textural contrast and smokiness to this dish. Plus it’s roasted in extra buffalo sauce and garlic powder, so you know it’s going to be good.
- Chickpeas: add some heartiness, creaminess, and extra plant-based protein
- Celery & Carrots are (1) classic buffalo wing accompaniments, but also (2) add some nice crunch and color!
- Green Onions & Garlic Powder add a nice kick….and we all know garlic makes everything better 😉
- Tahini: this creamy nut-free spread takes our salad dressing to the next level! If you’re not a fan, you can also swap it out for dairy-free sour cream, a thick coconut yogurt, or even some Homemade Ranch – see the recipe notes for more options.
I have also included the option to add fresh herbs to this salad – I went with some dill for these recipe photos! Parsley or even cilantro would also be great. Fresh herbs help to cut the creaminess of the dish and add an extra pop of flavor, but I know they’r not for everyone. So you do you!
HOW TO MAKE BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER PASTA SALAD
While you do need to use the oven and the stovetop for this recipe, I promise it’s worth it. The steps here are very straightforward and efficient, leaving you with minimal kitchen time and maximum food-enjoyment time.
- Preheat the oven to 425F, coat the cauliflower florets in sauce, and roast them in the oven.
- In the meantime, prep all the veggies and cook your pasta according to the package instructions
- Whisk up the dressing for the salad
- Toss everything together, then serve and enjoy!
Because the dressing on this salad is relatively thick, it will actually keep well in the fridge for up to four days – you don’t have to worry about any of the veggies getting soggy, either! I would, however, recommend adding the green onion and fresh herbs (if using) just before serving.
This Buffalo Cauliflower Pasta Salad really does have it all: roasted veggies, carb-y pasta, and a killer dressing. I would happily dig into this recipe for lunch or dinner! It travels well too, which makes it an ideal candidate for your next picnic, potluck, party, or barbecue.
This Buffalo Cauliflower Pasta Salad is packed with roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, and crunchy veggies for a creamy, slightly spicy, and yummy dish! Vegan & Gluten-Free.
For the Roasted Cauliflower:
- 1/2 head cauliflower, finely chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons buffalo wing sauce*
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For the Pasta Salad:
- 8 ounces (225 g) pasta of choice, gluten-free if necessary
- 1 15.5 oz (440 g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (~1 1/4 cups cooked beans)
- 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 packed cup chopped dill, parsley, or cilantro (optional)
For the Dressing:
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- Roast the Cauliflower: add the chopped cauliflower to a large bowl, then add in the buffalo sauce and garlic powder. Use a spatula to toss everything around until the cauliflower is evenly coated. Transfer to the lined baking tray and spread evenly across it. Bake in the top rack of the oven for 25-27 minutes, until some of the edges are golden brown.
- Cook the Pasta: once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and carefully rinse with cold water, so it can come down to room temperature. Set aside.
- Make the Dressing: In the meantime, prep the remaining veggies and make the dressing. Whisk the tahini, buffalo sauce, water, and garlic powder together in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Some tahini brands are thicker than others, so if your dressing is too thin, add water in 1-tablespoon increments and whisk well, until the dressing reached your desired consistency
- Assemble: add the pasta and roasted cauliflower to a large bowl along with the chickpeas, celery, carrot, green onion, and fresh herbs (if using). Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well, until everything is evenly coated with dressing.
- Serve & Store: transfer to a serving dish and serve as desired; leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to four days before they begin to dry out.
- Buffalo Wing Sauce: most major brands of Buffalo Wing Sauce are vegan (including Frank’s), but double check the ingredient list to make sure they are dairy-free. If you can’t find wing sauce near you, you can use regular buffalo hot sauce as well!
- Tahini: if you’re not a fan of tahini you can replace it with equal parts vegan sour cream, thick coconut yogurt, cream cheese, or my nut-free Vegan Ranch. All of the store-bought products will be thicker than tahini, so you will need to add extra water to the dressing to thin it out to your liking.