Is Eat Smart buffalo cauliflower gluten-free?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to avoid gluten for medical reasons or simply as a lifestyle choice. For those following a gluten-free diet, it can be challenging to find tasty, convenient foods that fit their dietary needs. One popular product that is often questioned in terms of its gluten content is Eat Smart’s buffalo cauliflower.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, fatigue and more. About 1% of the population has celiac disease, while 6-7% is estimated to have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

What makes a food gluten-free?

For a food to be considered gluten-free, it must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This threshold was put in place to protect those with celiac disease from inadvertently consuming small amounts of gluten that could still cause issues. Any ingredients derived from gluten-containing grains must be processed to remove gluten in order to achieve that <20 ppm level.

Does buffalo cauliflower typically contain gluten?

Plain cauliflower does not naturally contain any gluten. However, traditional buffalo sauce recipes are made with wheat flour, which would make buffalo cauliflower coated in that sauce unsuitable for a gluten-free diet. Most bottled buffalo wing sauces also contain wheat flour as a thickening agent. So unless gluten is specifically removed from the preparation process, buffalo cauliflower will likely have some level of gluten content.

How is Eat Smart’s buffalo cauliflower made?

According to the ingredient list on Eat Smart’s buffalo cauliflower packaging, the main ingredients are cauliflower florets, canola oil, hot sauce (aged cayenne red peppers, distilled vinegar, water, salt, garlic powder), and blue cheese dressing (soybean oil, water, blue cheese [pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes], distilled vinegar, egg yolk, sugar, contains less than 2% of salt, spice, polysorbate 60, xanthan gum, calcium disodium EDTA).

Notable is the lack of wheat flour or other gluten-containing ingredients in Eat Smart’s buffalo cauliflower. The use of a vinegar-based hot sauce rather than traditional wheat flour-thickened buffalo sauce keeps this product gluten-free.

Does Eat Smart confirm their buffalo cauliflower is gluten-free?

Yes, Eat Smart clearly labels their buffalo cauliflower product as “gluten-free” on the front of the packaging. On the back panel under the ingredients, they also state “No gluten containing ingredients.”

Additionally, on their website, Eat Smart lists their buffalo cauliflower bites as one of their gluten-free products, confirming that it meets the <20ppm gluten threshold to be considered gluten-free.

Can you trust gluten-free claims on packaging?

In the United States, the FDA enforces proper use of the terms “gluten-free,” “free of gluten,” “without gluten,” and “no gluten” on food labels. Manufacturers using these claims must adhere to the federal definition of gluten-free, meaning the food contains less than 20 ppm of gluten. Companies found using these claims improperly can face regulatory action and penalties from the FDA.

However, it’s worth noting that other phrases like “made in a gluten-free facility” are not regulated, and the food may still contain gluten. When in doubt, checking with the manufacturer for confirmation is the best approach.

Are other Eat Smart products gluten-free?

Eat Smart offers a range of vegetables and sides, many of which are labeled gluten-free:

Gluten-free Eat Smart Products
Cauliflower pizza crusts
Riced cauliflower stir fry
Riced cauliflower
Organic riced cauliflower
Broccoli florets
Zucchini spirals
Butternut squash spirals
Original vegetable noodles
Organic vegetable noodles
Cauliflower gnocchi
Organic cauliflower gnocchi
Vegetable medley

However, some Eat Smart products do contain gluten, like their garden vegetable spirals and quinoa and kale riced cauliflower. As with any product, it’s important to carefully read labels and ingredient lists, even for brands that offer some gluten-free options.

Precautions when eating gluten-free products

When living gluten-free, strict precautions need to be taken to avoid cross-contact with gluten. This includes thorough cleaning of cooking tools and surfaces as even small crumbs can trigger a reaction. You’ll also want to watch out for contamination from shared fryers or processing equipment.

With packaged products like Eat Smart’s buffalo cauliflower, there is still a small chance of cross-contact during manufacturing in shared facilities. People with celiac disease or wheat allergies should use their best judgement on their comfort level with such products.

What about the blue cheese dressing?

The blue cheese dressing paired with Eat Smart’s buffalo cauliflower is also labeled gluten-free. The ingredients list does not show any gluten-containing ingredients. However, those with dairy sensitivities should note that the dressing does contain blue cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk.

Can I eat Eat Smart’s buffalo cauliflower on a Paleo diet?

The Paleo diet eliminates grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, and highly processed foods. Since Eat Smart’s buffalo cauliflower is grain-free and gluten-free, it would fit within a Paleo eating plan. However, the product does contain small amounts of sugar and cheese, so very strict Paleo followers may want to avoid it or find an alternative.

Is Eat Smart’s buffalo cauliflower Whole30 approved?

Whole30 is more restrictive than Paleo, eliminating added sugars, cheese, and food additives like polysorbate 60 and calcium disodium EDTA found in the buffalo cauliflower ingredients. So Eat Smart’s product would not be considered Whole30 compliant. Those doing a Whole30 would need to find a buffalo cauliflower made without dairy, additives or sugary hot sauce.

Can you eat buffalo cauliflower on keto or low carb diets?

Low carb and ketogenic diets limit total carbohydrate intake, but generally do allow low carb vegetables like cauliflower. At 5g net carbs per serving, Eat Smart’s buffalo cauliflower can easily fit into a keto meal plan in moderation. Just be mindful of the sugars and starches from the hot sauce and blue cheese dressing adding a few extra carbs.

Is buffalo cauliflower nutritious?

Plain cauliflower is packed with nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, manganese, and fiber. The buffalo-style coating adds new flavors while still preserving cauliflower’s nutritional value. One serving provides:

Buffalo Cauliflower Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup)
Calories: 80
Fat: 4g
Carbohydrates: 9g
Fiber: 2g
Protein: 3g
Vitamin C: 46% DV
Vitamin K: 11% DV
Folate: 10% DV

So buffalo cauliflower makes a tasty plant-based addition to your plate with substantial nutritional benefits.

Do you bake or air fry buffalo cauliflower?

Pre-made buffalo cauliflower like Eat Smart’s is already cooked, breaded and ready to enjoy straight from the package. Some people may prefer to bake or air fry it briefly to warm it up and crisp the coating. But extensive cooking is not required.

How do you make buffalo cauliflower from scratch?

To make homemade buffalo cauliflower, cut fresh cauliflower florets, toss with olive oil, and roast at 400°F for 15 minutes until tender.

For the coating, most recipes use a mixture of hot sauce, melted butter or olive oil, and optional garlic powder or cayenne seasoning. Toss the cooked cauliflower in the sauce until evenly coated. For a thicker coating, dip in egg then gluten-free breadcrumbs before the buffalo sauce.

Bake or air fry again for 5-10 minutes to finish. Top with ranch or blue cheese dressing and enjoy!

Where can I find Eat Smart buffalo cauliflower?

Eat Smart products are sold at major grocery chains in the refrigerated produce section, near other fresh vegetables. Stores carrying the brand include:

  • Kroger
  • Publix
  • Safeway
  • Stop & Shop
  • Giant
  • Harris Teeter
  • H-E-B
  • Meijer
  • Sprouts

Eat Smart’s store locator on their website can help find a seller near you. Their buffalo cauliflower is also available online through services like Instacart and Amazon Fresh.

Other gluten-free frozen buffalo cauliflower brands

In addition to Eat Smart, other brands offering gluten-free frozen buffalo cauliflower include:

  • Trader Joe’s
  • Green Giant
  • JG Orchards (sold at Aldi)
  • Jenesaisquoi (sold at Costco)
  • Jain’s (found in natural grocers like Whole Foods)

Check the ingredients and labeling just to be safe when selecting a product. And as always, confirm directly with the manufacturer if you have any concerns.


With cauliflower as the core ingredient and a sauce made without wheat, Eat Smart’s buffalo cauliflower is clearly labeled gluten-free, following FDA guidelines for that claim. The buffalo flavor gives the vegetable an exciting twist while preserving its nutritional benefits. So those on a gluten-free diet can enjoy this spicy, crunchy cauliflower without worry. Just be aware of potential cross-contact risks. When in doubt, reach out to manufacturers directly to confirm their products are safe for you to consume.

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