Buffalo "Chicken" Dip Recipe
You guys, this is way overdue but I assure you it's worth the wait. I originally wanted to publish this for the Superbowl, but it just didn't come together in time. Anyway, the inspiration for it was football snacks, I was thinking to myself: what game day snack does everyone love? So, I thought of buffalo chicken dip which is of course super indulgent, but I wondered if I could give it a little makeover.
So, let's get right to it - this "buffalo chicken dip" has no dairy, and no chicken LOL. That being said, you can absolutely make this with chicken instead, and it would be just as good! Everyone who has tried it so far has loved it, including my 17 year old brother who is pretty picky, and highly skeptical of my "healthy stuff" so I consider that a huge testament - he called it "very buffalo chicken-esque."
If there's no dairy, or chicken, what did I use instead? Well... veggies of course! My friend had recently discovered a recipe for queso dip on the Minimalist Baker's website that she proclaimed "life changing" (she really loves queso). I've yet to try this recipe, but in it the Minimalist Baker uses eggplant to create the creamy consistency, so I thought perhaps eggplant could work for my idea as well and... it does! For the chicken, which again you could totally just use chicken for, I chose to use cauliflower for no other reason than I love it, and I felt like I'd be able to create shreds of it to mimmic shredded chicken. I was able to make shreds of it, but it was a (tedious) labor of love that is also optional for this recipe.
Before you get too skeptical, let me say that I've never really eaten eggplant, it's seeds kind of creep me out, and as a child the only exposure I ever had to eggplant was from the Coneheads movie, so I assure you I wouldn't share this if I didn't think you'd love it. Let's get to it:
Buffalo "Chicken" Dip
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 15-20 min
Servings: Makes a large casserole dish, party-size!
1 Large or 2 Medium Eggplant(s)
1 Medium Head of Cauliflower
1 1/3 Cup Hot Sauce (I used Frank's)
2/3 Cup Milk of choice
(I've used almond, and pumpkin seed mylks)
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
7-9 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
(Find at grocery store, Amazon, or health food store)
2 tsp Corn Starch
Preheat oven to 425°.
Cut the eggplant into 1/8-1/4 inch discs, lay them out flat on paper towels, and lightly salt the tops, and let sit for a moment.
Rinse cauliflower, and cut off the stem and leaves from the bottom.
Place the whole head of cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl, and add 1/4 cup of water, then cover and microwave for 6 minutes.
Once water rises to the surface of the eggplant discs, wipe it off and place them all on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets, then into the oven for about 10-12 minutes.
When the cauliflower is done it should be just barely cooked, rinse it with cold water so you can safely handle it. Then begin either cutting it up into small pieces, or if you want to put in the effort you can pull it all apart into shreds by carefully pulling at the crowns. (I was able to make pretty good shred-like cuts without the peeling effort, one of the next times that I made it.)
Be sure to keep an eye on the eggplant, once the bottoms are browning, flip them over to brown the other side, about 6 more minutes.
Once the eggplant is nice and browned, remove from the oven and let cool briefly.
Put all the cauliflower pieces on a cookie sheet (they don't need to be spread out too much) and put them in the oven on 'broil' - keep an eye on it and take it out once a good amount of pieces are a little roasted (as pictured above), pour all the pieces in a large bowl.
Set oven back to 425°
Once the eggplant is cooled enough to handle, peel the skins off each disc, it should peel off pretty easily, and you should have about 5 cups of roasted eggplant after.
Put the eggplant, minced garlic, 7 Tbsp nutritional yeast, milk, hot sauce, and cornstarch into a food processor (you could probably also pull it off in a good blender), and pulse until creamy.
Taste the mixture, if it could use more "cheesyness" add the rest of the nutritional yeast, and pulse until mixed.
Fold the mixture into the cauliflower pieces until fully mixed.
Pour it all into a casserole dish (or split it into two loaf pans) and put them in the oven for 15 minutes or until it starts to bubble.
Switch the oven to broil, and let it brown the top a little.
Let it cool a bit, and then start dipping!
- To do it with chicken, just skip all the steps involving cauliflower - and fold some shredded chicken into the mixture.
- If you want to make it taste extra-close to the real deal (and you're not vegan or dairy-free), you could put some blue cheese crumbles over the top. I haven't tried this but I'm positive it would work well.
- If you want it to be less or more spicy just adjust the hot sauce:milk ratio. Hotter= more hot sauce, less milk, Milder=less hot sauce more milk.
Thank you so much for checking this out! If you try it - I need to know what you think so send me a message or leave me a comment!