Crock Pot Vegetarian Buffalo Cauliflower Chili

I really want to have a cute little anecdote to share or some sort of spin to take on this story, but so far I have found myself typing about 1) Our trip to the zoo yesterday and how my daughter was most excited to see the spiders and how I am borderline arachnophobe and 2) The fact that we cancelled DISH Network last year, and what with the Seahawks and the Golden Globes this past weekend, well, no live TV kind of sucked. But otherwise we are a happy Roku family.

Neither subject, clearly, is particularly scintillating, so … backspace, backspace, backspace, chili. I’ll just talk about this Crock Pot Buffalo Cauliflower Chili, because I’m just plain out of any other good ideas. Writer’s block: it’s a real thing.

Crock Pot Vegetarian Buffalo Chili - Veggie chili, red-hot buffalo style! This easy meatless slow-cooker chili recipe hits the spot whether it's game day or any day.

Note: this is not buffalo chili. It’s buffalo chili. See the difference? I have definitely not changed my ways; it is definitely not buffalo of the American Bison variety.

It is buffalo of the wing variety. But it’s not buffalo wings, either, because that’s still meat. And that would be weird. It’s just the sauce. And cauliflower. And a bunch of other stuff to make it into chili.

(See how I am not kidding about my writer’s block?!)

Crock Pot Vegetarian Buffalo Chili - Veggie chili, red-hot buffalo style! This easy meatless slow-cooker chili recipe hits the spot whether it's game day or any day.

I actually bought the Frank’s Red Hot sauce for another recipe idea I have up my sleeve, but on a whim, I threw this together too. And WE LOVED IT. Because the cauliflower cooks for a good long time, it just sort of melds with the beans, tomatoes, onions, and sauce and creates this wonderful thick chili texture. The Frank’s Red Hot, chili powder, and cayenne lend a nice wallop of heat, but it’s a nice sort of heat. No pain. And it’s mellowed a bit by the brown sugar and the cheese you throw on top. Blue cheese is a must. Unless you hate it, then cheddar is a must. Unless you’re a vegan, in that case, I think you’ll still like it without the cheese.

Print Recipe

Crock Pot Vegetarian Buffalo Cauliflower Chili

Vegetarian chili, red-hot buffalo style! This easy chili hits the spot whether it's game day or any day. This is a super easy one-pot slow cooker meal - no prep other than cutting the veggies and opening some cans! Pour it all into the slow cooker and come back in a few hours. Dinner's ready.

Yield: 4-6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes



  • 1/2 medium head cauliflower (about 4 cups florets)
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cups cooked cannellini beans (or 2 15-oz. cans, drained)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (4-ounce) can fire-roasted diced green chilies
  • 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (plus more to taste if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste if desired)
  • Assorted toppings such as blue cheese, diced celery, diced red onion, sliced scallions, sour cream, or shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Add all ingredients to a 3-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir.
  2. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Taste and add additional salt, if desired.
  3. Serve with assorted toppings.
  4. Chili keeps refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days, or freeze in zipper bags for up to 3 months.

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18 Responses to “Crock Pot Vegetarian Buffalo Cauliflower Chili”

  1. Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl posted on January 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    This sounds amazing!! I SO cannot wait to try it :). I have a bit of a cauliflower obsession…

  2. Gina posted on January 15, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    I am loving cauliflower lately! It’s so versatile :)

    Okay I just had an idea… what if you roasted the cauliflower when it’s in chunks, and then added it to the recipe? Imagine the depth, oh god. I am definitely trying that!

  3. Chris Caldwell @ World Cup of Food posted on January 15, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    This is awesome! We have been getting more into cauliflower at the Caldwell house, and I think this recipe represents the logical end of the cauliflower extreme flavor spectrum.

  4. Kathy @ Olives & Garlic posted on January 15, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Looking forward to trying this recipe. It sounds great

  5. Joel A. posted on January 15, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Yummy kick of cayenne. I’m starting to love spicy food.

  6. Lisa Cohen posted on January 19, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Drool. This is making me want a crockpot!! Buffalo cauliflower sounds amazing. I was just doing a pantry cleanup (I have way too much urad dal, fenugreek seeds, and mung dal from an Indian cooking streak that didn’t last look enough. Note to self: must resurrect that again and blog about it).

    I found a small can of green chiles that I need to use up and I adore cauliflower so almost always have a head in the fridge. After looking over the recipe again I realized that I have EVERYTHING (minus the slow cooker) so I’m SO going to make this as soon as I can borrow one from a friend. YaY! Thank you!

  7. annie @ chase that I love posted on January 19, 2014 at 11:22 am

    The texture of this sounds wonderful. Perfect for winter. I need to dig my crock pot out from it’s grave of tupperware lids.

  8. cindy posted on January 27, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Just made this last night and OMG is it goooood. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    • Karen Troughton posted on January 30, 2014 at 6:55 am

      Hi Cindy, so glad you liked it! We really loved it here, too. The cauliflower just does something sort of magical in there! And the toppings help. ;)

  9. Pingback: Slow Cooker Buffalo Cauliflower Chili | Happy Yellow House

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  11. Megan posted on February 4, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Made this today and it is AMAZING. Going on my rotation of “super easy to make yet super tasty” list.

  12. Michelle Robertson posted on February 16, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    I made this tonight and it was indeed very, very delicious. Nice and hearty without feeling weighed down afterwards. I would die to have it with blue cheese crumbles but after having dairy I would literally die, well maybe not die but not feel very well. Although mine didn’t taste very buffaloey (but the blue cheese probably would have helped). It was awesome and I can’t wait to taste it the day after.

    • Karen Troughton posted on February 18, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      So glad you liked it! Definitely it’s not quite as buffalo-y without the blue cheese but yes – please leave it off! :)

  13. Laura posted on July 23, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I am not joking when I say that I am online shopping right now for a crockpot because I saw this recipe. This looks like pure buffalo heaven!!

  14. Amanda posted on September 18, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Oh my goodness! I made this tonight and it was SO GOOD. I swear it was better than the usual chili I make with ground beef. I am a convert, man something about those cauliflower just make this rock. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Sloane posted on October 2, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Made this for dinner and it was great! As others have said, even my meat eating husband enjoyed it. We will definitely make it again. Thanks for the super recipe!

  16. Melanie posted on October 15, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Would this recipe still work with frozen cauliflower? Would cook time need to be increased?

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