I am in favor of the trend of making vegetables taste like Buffalo chicken wings. Who wouldn’t be intrigued? It’s hardly alchemy—it’s hot sauce and butter.

Some may think celery would the first vegetable to be brought over to the neon orange dark side, but let’s be honest, no one wants to eat a plate of celery nuggets, no matter how much wing sauce is added. A proliferation of Buffalo cauliflower recipes lead the charge: steamed, roasted, even batter-dipped and fried—ostensibly so the cauliflower is just as equally unhealthy as a real chicken wing. Rightfully so. Cauliflower is a chameleon but you need to fully cook it to unleash its potential.

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But now we have cucumbers. Their mellow coolness hints at celery’s role in the Buffalo wing consumption ritual, but minus the fibrousness. The best part is that cucumber is the quickest path to Buffalo wing flavored veg. They are downright addictive—the crunch, the salt, the taste of a buffalo chicken wing, all without the grease and the guilt.

To prepare each cucumber for maximum sauce absorption, I smack it with a rolling pin up and down its length, then break it into bite-sized chunks with my hands. (Seriously, this is a thing!) Tossed with salt for 15 minutes, placed in a colander and drained, the cucumbers emerge crisp and perfectly salted. Drizzled with hot sauce and butter, sprinkled with blue cheese, you may demolish an entire plate of these cucumbers before you realize you no longer are craving chicken wings.

Buffalo cucumbers are best served immediately, as the butter will begin to solidify on the cool cucumbers, looking waxy instead of glossy.


Cucumbers a la Buffalo Wings

Serves 4

  • 6 small firm Persian cucumbers, or 2 English cucumbers
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 5 Tbsp. Louisiana-style hot sauce, just as Frank’s Red Hot or Crystal
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Place the cucumbers on a cutting board. Using a rolling pin or wine bottle, tap forcefully up and down each cucumber. It’s okay if they crack apart—it’s those jagged edges you want to catch sauce. Break apart each smashed cucumber into bite-sized chunks.

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Toss the smashed cucumbers evenly with the salt, and allow to sit in a colander for 15 minutes over the sink or a paper towel. Then rinse the cucumbers and pat dry.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pot, then add the hot sauce. Add the garlic powder, and stir it all together until smooth and shiny. Allow to cool.

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Arrange the cucumbers on a serving plate. Whisk the sauce again if it has separated a bit, then drizzle generously over the cucumbers. Top with crumbled blue cheese, and serve.