This vegan buffalo mac and cheese is loaded with roasted cauliflower smothered in buffalo sauce, then tossed in cheesy vegan sauce and topped with finely chopped flavorful chives. It is an easy weeknight meal that can be made and enjoyed within 40 minutes and is made with simple-to-find ingredients.
I absolutely love buffalo sauce. I love the spicy smell of it, and my mouth will actually water when the scent is in the air. So, it is no doubt that I love buffalo cauliflower. I love it on top of my salads, I love it in tacos, I pretty much just love it.
I saw someone make a buffalo chicken mac and cheese and though - genius, I can veganize that with buffalo cauliflower and vegan cheese. Fast forward to a month later, and I have perfected this delicious vegan buffalo mac and cheese dish.
This recipe is great for any occasion - weeknight dinners, cozy winter lunches, game day treat, heck, it is even great for the holidays or a BBQ! You can seriously eat it whenever you want, and in my house - that's for lunch (we love big lunches!).
Being a lazy vegan myself, I hate making recipes that are super complicated or take forever to cook. In fact, half the time I step in the kitchen, I am so hungry, I cannot wait for food to cook. So do not fret, this vegan buffalo cauliflower is the perfect lazy vegan recipe.
This vegan mac and cheese is spicy as can be due to the crispy vegan buffalo cauliflower it is paired with! But do not worry, the vegan cheese cools it down!
Unlike some other vegan mac and cheese, this vegan Buffalo Mac and Cheese is also nut free! It can be made gluten free as well.
In fact, it can be made many different ways, which I will give you tips for, but the classic way is the method I prefer!
Ingredients to Make Vegan Buffalo Mac and Cheese
Cauliflower - There is no sub for this, sorry!
Pasta- I used regular elbow pasta. Any pasta will do though!
Buffalo Sauce - I used Frank's Buffalo Sauce, as it is vegan. You can also make your own - here is my recipe for that!
Hot Sauce- Optional if you like some added heat!
Olive Oil- I used olive oil to help crisp up my cauliflower, but you can omit.
Scallions- You may also use white onion. This helps add a little more flavor to this dish! You may also omit.
Garlic- You may omit if you do not like garlic or cannot tolerate it.
Butter- I used Earth Balance vegan butter. You may use any you like (including real butter if you are not vegan) and may use coconut oil as well.
Vegan Cream Cheese- This helps make the dish creamier! You may use regular cream cheese if you are not vegan.
Vegan Cheese- I used vegan cheddar cheese shreds. You may also mix in some parmesan or vegan gruyere. You may also use real cheese if you are not vegan.
Plant Based Milk- I used plain almond milk, but you may use any plant based milk you like. Do not use any flavored with vanilla though! It will taste too sweet.
Salt and Pepper- You do not need to add salt and pepper, but I did! I actually used garlic salt because I love garlic.
Chives- The best thing to top your mac and cheese with.
Tips for Making This Spicy Vegan Mac and Cheese
As aforementioned, there are many ways to make this recipe. If you read my blog posts, you know I like easy, lazy vegan recipes, so that is the way I prefer (or as I call it, the classic way).
The classic way is pretty simple.
You cut the cauliflower into small, bite size pieces. Then, toss the cauliflower in buffalo sauce, hot sauce and a little bit of olive oil. I then air fry the cauliflower until it is crispy. You may also bake it though.
While the cauliflower is cooking, make the pasta according to the box and drain it. Using the same pan you used for your pasta, place vegan butter, scallions and garlic and heat over medium heat until fragrant. Lower the heat to low.
Toss the pasta into in the butter mixture. Then, add in your extra buffalo sauce, vegan cream cheese, vegan cheese, milk, and air-fried cauliflower. Toss until well covered and until the cheese melts! Sprinkle chives on top. Ta-da, you have a delicious buffalo vegan mac and cheese ready to go.
That is it. It is so simple and pretty effortless.
Fancy Cauliflower Way
Another way to do it is what I call the fancy cauliflower way.
In this method, you batter up the cauliflower with flax egg, corn starch and flour then bake it up so each piece of cauliflower is crispy!
Then, smother them with hot sauce. To do this method, place 2 flax eggs in a large bowl then toss the cauliflower in them.
Sprinkle 1 tbsp of corn starch and 4 tbsp of flour onto the cauliflower and toss. Bake according to the classic ways directions below (in the recipe card).
Then toss in buffalo sauce! Add to the buffalo vegan mac and cheese mixture for the perfect, fancier dinner. Make sure you eat it with your pinky up.
Baked Mac and Cheese Way
Oh how I love baked mac and cheese. It is cozy and so much fun.
If you wish to make this vegan buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese baked, follow the steps in this blog post on how to make the base of the mac and cheese, as it is different than this. Simply omit the brussels sprouts and vegan patty and replace them with this buffalo cauliflower.
Of course, follow the directions below to ensure you cook the buffalo cauliflower correctly!
FAQ For This Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Storage - This dish is best served immediately! However, it will last for up to 3 days in fridge.
Reheating- if you need to heat it up later, that is no problem. Gently heat this up on a stove top or in the microwave. I also think a toaster oven would work well, although I have yet to try.
Freezing- I do not recommend freezing this! The noodles will get mushy.
Craving more pasta?
Other Fun Party Plates
Buffalo Cauliflower Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 1 Cauliflower head chopped into bite size pieces
- ½ cup vegan buffalo sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb pasta
- ½ cup planted based milk
- 2 tbsp vegan buffalo sauce
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 scallion diced
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 1 tbsp vegan cream cheese
- 1 ½ cup vegan cheddar cheese
- Chives optional
- Splash hot sauce optional
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- First, prepare the cauliflower. Place all ingredients into a bowl and toss until bite size cauliflower pieces are covered.
- Place onto greased baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.
- While cauliflower is cooking, begin making your mac and cheese. Cook your pasta according to the package in a large sauce pan.
- Once the pasta is done cooking, strain it and use the same large sauce pan to prepare your mac and cheese.
- Place butter in the sauce pan over medium heat.
- Then, add in your scallions and onions and cook until fragrant.
- Lower the temperature to low heat, add noodles to pan and toss.
- then, add in your extra buffalo sauce, vegan cream cheese, vegan cheese, plant based milk and air fried cauliflower. Toss until well covered and until the cheese melts!
- Remove from heat and plate. Option to sprinkle chives on top.
- This dish is best served immediately! However, it will last for up to 3 days in fridge in an air tight container.