General Tso’s Cauliflower is baked and battered crispy cauliflower tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce. Better than take out, it’s a healthier and meat free option!
General Tso Cauliflower
It’s no secret that I love giving healthy makeovers to take out classics. Some of our favorites include Burger King nuggets and Kung Pao Cauliflower. After a recent Chinese take out craving, I had to come up with my favorite dish ever- General Tso’s Chicken.
General Tso’s Chicken used to be my go-to Chinese takeout choice. There was something so delicious about it. I think the combination of crispy chicken covered in the most delicious sweet and spicy sauce got me every time!
Since I cut meat out of my diet, my trips to the Chinese restaurant became a thing of the past. However, I’ve found myself craving this Chinese takeout classic dish more and more, so had to come up with my own version!
I’ve since started making this dish at home and replacing the chicken with cauliflower. Covering the cauliflower in a batter and baking it BEFORE covering it in the sauce gives you all the crispiness and crunchiness that the dish is known for!
The best part? This is SO much healthier than traditional General Tso’s Cauliflower, as it is 100% baked and not deep fried or fried! I promise you won’t be able to tell- it is THAT good!
Ingredients to make this recipe
You’ll love the easy and simple ingredient list. Unlike many traditional takeout dishes, you’ll find no MSG or additives. It’s also completely vegan and easily made gluten free!
For the battered cauliflower
- Cauliflower– Chopped into bite sized pieces.
- Flour of choice– Either all purpose flour or gluten free flour. This is mixed with the milk to form a thick batter.
- Milk of choice– I used unsweetened almond milk, but you can use any unsweetened plant based milk of choice.
- Smoked paprika– Adds a slight, smoky flavor to the batter.
- Salt and pepper– Just a little bit to give the batter some extra flavor. Don’t go overboard with this, as the sauce is plenty salty and spicy.
For the general Tso’s sauce
- Oil of choice– Use a neutral flavored oil, like canola or vegetable oil.
- Vegetable broth– I opted for a vegetable broth, to keep it vegan and vegetarian. You can use any low sodium stock of choice.
- Hoisin sauce– A thick, sweet, and salty Asian inspired sauce. This gives the sauce that beautiful glaze.
- Brown sugar– Balances out the saltiness of the sauce. You can also use coconut sugar.
- Soy sauce– You can use gluten free soy sauce or even liquid aminos.
- Corn starch– Thickens the sauce, so it doesn’t slip off the cauliflower.
How to make General Tso’s Cauliflower
Start by preparing the cauliflower, by covering it in the batter and baking it until golden brown and crispy. While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the sauce. Once the cauliflower is cooked, toss it in the sauce mixture until completely covered. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with some basmati rice. Alternatively, keep it low carb and serve with some cauliflower rice.
Can I make the cauliflower in the air fryer?
If you own an air fryer, bake the cauliflower in there instead of the oven.
Once your cauliflower has been covered in the batter, place them in a single layer in the air fryer basket and air fry for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. You will likely need to air fry in two batches, to avoid overcrowding.
Tips for this cauliflower recipe
- You want the cauliflower to be chopped in even sized pieces. This ensures the batter covers the cauliflower nicely and that they all bake evenly.
- This dish is sweet and salty, as opposed to spicy. If you’d like to add extra spice, feel free to sprinkle some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper in the sauce.
- General Tso’s cauliflower is best served immediately, as the longer it sits, the sauce will soften the batter.
- I used cauliflower to keep this recipe plant based and vegetarian/vegan friendly. If you don’t follow a vegan or plant based diet, you can substitute the cauliflower for chicken breast pieces or chicken thighs.
- You can prepare the sauce in advance. However, you’ll need to thin it out with some water once you are ready to use it, as it will thicken considerably once it sits for a while.
Storing and Freezing Cauliflower
- To store: If you don’t plan on eating this dish straight away, keep the sauce and cauliflower separate. They can both be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week.
- To freeze: Place the cauliflower in a ziplock bag and the sauce in a shallow container. Store both in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- To reheat: Sauce can be heated up in the microwave. However, to keep the cauliflower crispy, reheat in the oven or air fryer.
More delicious vegetable recipes
- Cauliflower mac and cheese
- Broccoli Salad
- Buffalo Baked Cauliflower Bites
- Sweet Potato Tots
- Twice Cooked Brussels Sprouts
General Tso's Cauliflower
For the battered baked cauliflower
- 1 large cauliflower chopped into bite sized florets
- 1 cup milk of choice I used unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup all purpose flour gluten free, if needed
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the sauce
- 1 teaspoon oil of choice
- 3/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or liquid aminos
- 2 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the cauliflower
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine your milk, flour, and spices, and mix until combined. Dip each piece of cauliflower in the batter, until completely covered. Place the batter covered cauliflower on the lined baking dish. Repeat until all the cauliflower is covered in the batter.
- Bake the cauliflower for 40-45 minutes, flipping halfway through. While the cauliflower is baking, prepare the sauce.
- In a small saucepan, add the oil and heat on medium. When it is hot and the oil is sizzling, add the rest of the ingredients, except for the cornstarch. Heat up for 2-3 minutes, until warm. Add the cornstarch and whisk into the sauce mixture. Allow it to simmer for a further 5 minutes, to thicken.
- Once the cauliflower is golden brown remove from the oven. Place in a large mixing bowl, and pour the sauce all over it. Toss until all the cauliflower is covered in the sauce.
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Dee-am, this was delicious! I saw the recipe a week or so ago and finally made it. My whole family loved it. It is going in my “keeper” recipes. I made it with white whole wheat flour, which worked really well. I may try it with a medley of veggies next time. I image it would we tasty with the likes of sweet potatoes, onions, green beans, broccoli, etc. in addition to the cauliflower. YUM!