I know quite a few people on the forum use ESP8266 devices flashed with ESPeasy (e.g Wemos D1 Mini) to interact with Node-RED.
Just to let you know - there was a new release of ESPeasy firmware on 2023/April/09.
It was released today (Sun, 9th April, 2023) and seems a lot better than the previous release.
I've flashed it onto one of my Wemos D1 Mini devices and it certainly seems a lot faster at booting-up approx 5 to 6 secs. That was one of the niggles I had with the previous release - very slow boot-up.