This sticky sesame cauliflower is crispy battered cauliflower and covered with a sticky Asian sauce! A takeout classic that is so easy to make at home, you’ll never order out again- This takes less than 40 minutes to make!
Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
Crispy sesame chicken was always one of my go-to Chinese takeout dishes. There was something so addictive about the crispy battered chicken and that ridiculously sticky sesame sauce. Since cutting meat out of my diet, I’ve been CRAVING this Chinese takeout staple so had to make my own homemade version.
Instead of using crispy chicken, I opted to use crispy cauliflower, but with a twist. Instead of deep frying the cauliflower, I baked it, to cut out the added oil and fats. Don’t fret though, the cauliflower will be just as crispy and crunchy as it’s fried counterpart. The sauce is so thick and sticky and coats the cauliflower perfectly, you seriously won’t be able to stop at one serving.
Perfect to serve as an appetizer or a main dish on its own, you won’t miss the meat at all. This makes a fabulous meatless and vegan dish, sure to impress even the biggest carnivores out there!
Ingredients to make Chinese cauliflower
For the cauliflower
- Cauliflower– Chopped cauliflower, in bite sized pieces. This dish doesn’t work well with frozen cauliflower.
- Milk of choice– Any plant based milk can be used. Avoid using any of the vanilla flavored ones, as they will leave a slight vanilla flavor throughout.
- Flour– Plain flour or gluten free all purpose flour.
- Salt and pepper– To give a tiny bit of flavor. Don’t add too much salt, as the sticky sauce has plenty of saltiness to it.
For the sauce
- Soy sauce– Either gluten free soy sauce or for a soy free alternative, you can use liquid aminos.
- Rice vinegar– Unlike other kinds of vinegar, rice vinegar is slightly sweet, and has a pleasant flavor.
- Corn starch– To thicken the sauce. You can also use arrowroot powder, but it can be a little gummy.
- Brown sugar– To give the slight molasses flavor and sweetness to the sauce. You can also use white sugar or coconut sugar.
- Vegetable stock– Low sodium vegetable stock. You can also use water.
- Sesame oil– A must for the delicious sesame flavor! Only a little will be used, as the flavor is very strong!
How do you make sesame cauliflower?
Start by preparing your cauliflower, by dipping it in the batter mixture and baking it in the oven. While it’s baking prepare the sauce mixture. Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and heat on medium, until it begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to thicken. Once the cauliflower is crispy and baked, transfer it to a large mixing bowl, cover it in the sauce and mix until combined. Enjoy immediately.
Tips to make the best cauliflower
- Oven makes and models differ. Cauliflower is baked when it is golden brown on the outside.
- Try to keep your cauliflower pieces equal in size. This helps with the cooking time, so they cook evenly. I often cut the stem off completely, so the cauliflower only uses florets.
- If you own an air fryer, you can air fry the cauliflower instead of baking it. Place battered cauliflower in a single layer and place in the air fryer tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- If you are a fan of spice, add some red chili peppers or red pepper flakes to the sauce.
- I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free 1:1 flour. I can’t vouch for other gluten free flour brands or homemade blends.
Storing and freezing sticky cauliflower
- To store: If you plan to save some of the cauliflower to enjoy at a later date, keep the sauce and the cauliflower separate. Both should be stored in the refrigerator and it will keep well for up to 1 week. See my notes below on reheating.
- To freeze: Place the sauce in a freezer friendly container and the cauliflower in a ziplock bag. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- To reheat: For the cauliflower to still be crispy, place it in the oven or air fryer to crisp up, for 8-10 minutes. While it is crisping up, microwave the sauce for 30 seconds, or until warm. Once the cauliflower is crispy, cover with the warm sauce.
More delicious meat free recipes to try
- Salt and Pepper Tofu
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Crispy Baked Tofu
- Buffalo Baked Cauliflower Bites
- Keto Lasagna
Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
For the cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup all purpose flour standard or gluten free
- 1 cup milk of choice I used unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the sesame sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce gluten free, if needed
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 cup brown sugar white sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together your flour, milk, salt, and pepper. Dip each piece of cauliflower in the batter until completely coated. Place on the lined sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip halfway through.
- Prepare the sauce by adding all the ingredients into a small saucepan. On low heat, heat it up until it begins to simmer. Remove from the heat.
- Place your freshly baked cauliflower into a mixing bowl. Pour the sauce all over it and toss to combine.