Buffalo cauliflower dip is a creamy, spicy, and secretly healthy appetizer perfect for so many occasions! Inspired by Trader Joe's vegan buffalo dip, this copycat recipe is made with healthy ingredients like carrots, cauliflower, and pumpkin seeds... but it tastes so rich no one will know it's dairy-free and made with veggies!
All you need are a saute pan, food processor, and about 35 minutes. This buffalo cauliflower dip is vegan, gluten-free, and made without oil.
Why You'll Love It
Buffalo cauliflower dip is great for so many occasions, like watching a game with friends, summer cookouts, or just chilling at home with family.
And by using frozen cauliflower rice, we're keeping the recipe pantry-friendly and easy to prepare. Of course, if you have a head of cauliflower on hand, you can use that instead.
So what makes this buffalo dip different? Well, it's vegan, for one thing. It's also made with healthier, whole-food ingredients - which means there's no oil or processed products like vegan cream cheese, etc.
You can make the dip as spicy as you like and serve it cold like the Trader Joe's dip or baked and hot.
We also love that this dip is very flavorful but not heavy, making it an awesome snack or appetizer that won't ruin your appetite!
You might be surprised to see carrots, pumpkin seeds, and oat flour in this buffalo dip. But since I wanted to re-create the Trader Joe's vegan buffalo dip, I had to follow their lead!
After the first test batch I decided to add a few ingredients that aren't in the TJ's dip, because the flavor needed a boost.
- cauliflower - to save time I used one 12 oz. package of frozen cauliflower rice. Fresh cauliflower is fine, too. Simply cut into florets, and pulse it in the food processor until riced. You'll need about 3 cups of cauliflower rice.
- carrots - 2 small or 1 large; about ½ cup diced. Carrots add color, nutrition, and a subtle sweetness to the dip.
- hot sauce - Frank's Red Hot Original is the classic choice for buffalo flavor. If you don't have Frank's, other similar brands of cayenne pepper hot sauce are fine, too.
- pumpkin seeds - following Trader Joe's lead, this is the only fat added to the dip, unless you feel like adding oil, which you can definitely do!
- cilantro - adds a burst of fresh flavor.
- garlic - you'll need 2 medium cloves or about a teaspoon of garlic powder.
- oat flour - just 2 tablespoons; when heated, oats get creamy and thick, and the oat flour accomplishes the same thing here.
- nutritional yeast - not in the TJ's version, but I felt like the dip needed a little more depth and cheesiness.
- lime juice
- non-dairy yogurt - this softens and rounds out the spiciness and makes the dip creamier. You could also use sour cream if you don't have a plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt. Or try one of my non-dairy yogurt recipes:
See recipe card below for quantities and full recipe.
How to Make Buffalo Cauliflower Dip
- Preheat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the cauliflower rice, carrots, red onion, garlic, and hot sauce, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the veggies are tender. You'll also need to add a little water to help it along.
- Next, stir in the oat flour, and cook for a couple of minutes. The starch will thicken the veggie mixture.
- Remove from heat, and add the nutritional yeast, yogurt, lime juice, and dill, if using.
- Add ¼ cup water, and stir to incorporate. Set aside for a few minutes to cool.
- Process the pumpkin seeds until finely chopped.
- Spoon the dip into the food processor and blend until it's mostly creamy. There will still be some texture from the cauliflower and seeds. If it looks too thick add another ¼ cup water, and process again. Add the cilantro and pulse to incorporate.
Tip: the dip is meant to retain a bit of texture from the veggies and seeds. So don't worry that it's not completely smooth.
- cauliflower rice - since you'll have the food processor out anyway, it's easy to break down whole cauliflower if needed. Cut half of a large head into florets. Then process until it's riced. You'll need 12 ounces, or about 3 cups.
- nutritional yeast - adds a subtle cheesy flavor. If you're not a fan of "nooch," feel free to omit it.
- pumpkin seeds - raw sunflower seeds are another option.
- cilantro - we really love the layer of fresh flavor this adds to the dip, but if you're not a fan of cilantro, either skip it or use fresh parsley instead.
How to Serve Buffalo Cauliflower Dip
First, you might be wondering whether the dip is served hot or cold. The answer is, either! Since the recipe was inspired by the cold Trader Joe's buffalo dip, I've written it with cold as the default.
For hot buffalo dip, transfer the mixture from the food processor to a small baking dish, top with shredded cheese or homemade liquid vegan mozzarella, and bake at 375 degrees until heated through.
- tortilla chips and crackers
- carrot and celery sticks
- crumbled vegan feta or blue cheese on top
- and plenty of fresh cilantro
The dip holds up well for several days, so feel free to prepare it in advance. I like to remove the dip from the fridge 20 minutes before serving so it's not quite as cold.
Store buffalo cauliflower dip in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy it cold as a dip or spread. It's also great on salads. Freezing not recommended.
More Party Food
I hope you love this buffalo cauliflower dip! If you try the recipe be sure to leave a star rating and comment below to let us know!
Buffalo Cauliflower Dip
- 12 ounces cauliflower rice, frozen or fresh - or ½ large head of cauliflower, processed into riced texture; about 3 cups
- 2 small carrots, peeled and diced - about ½ cup
- ½ cup chopped red onion - about ½ of a medium onion
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup Frank's Red Hot Original Hot Sauce, or more to taste - for extra spicy dip use up to ¾ cup!
- 2 tablespoons oat flour
- ½ cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (tap for recipe) - or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- heaping ¼ teaspoon dried dill, optional
- up to ½ cup water
- ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, optional
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro - plus more for serving
- In a large saute pan combine the riced cauliflower, carrot, onion, garlic, and hot sauce. Bring to a simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 15 minutes or until the veggies are softened. If it starts to look dry add a splash of water.
- Add the oat flour, stir well, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and stir in the yogurt, nutritional yeast, lime juice, dill, and ¼ cup water. Set aside for a few minutes to cool.
- In a large food processor with an S blade (I use a 14-cup Cuisinart), process the pumpkin seeds for about 10 seconds or until finely chopped.
- Spoon the warm cauliflower mixture into the food processor. Let it run for about 15 seconds, then check the consistency. Taste and decide whether to add the rice vinegar and/or more hot sauce. (We like it with ½ cup + 2 Tbsp hot sauce.)
- Add more water (about ¼ cup) and process again until the dip is creamy. Feel free to add 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil or a neutral-tasting oil like avocado if you prefer a richer dip. Note: the dip is meant to have some texture from the veggies and seeds. We're not trying to get it completely smooth.
- Add the cilantro to the food processor and pulse to incorporate.
- Transfer to a serving bowl or storage container, and refrigerate until cool, 1 to 2 hours. Garnish as desired and serve with tortilla chips and raw veggies for dipping. See Notes for baked option.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.