Firecracker Cauliflower

Firecracker Cauliflower
Well hi there! I’m Ashley, the blogger behind Cookie Monster Cooking. I am so excited to be joining the Oh My Veggies team! While I’m not a vegetarian, meatless meals make up the majority of my diet. And I’m constantly trying to dream up vegetarian meals that will please my very much a carnivore husband. But enough about me, let’s get to the food.

I am a huge fan of recreating take-out type dishes at home. With complete control over the ingredients, you can create something much healthier — and something that just downright tastes better as well.

Plus, it can be fun. You can take popular dishes and turn them into meatless meals that you can’t always get on the menu. Like this Firecracker Cauliflower. Traditionally made with chicken or shrimp, this dish is usually pan-fried or deep-fried and then coated in a sweet chili sauce.

Since I’m not the biggest fan of frying (particularly deep frying — all that oil just scares me!), I decided to go the baking route instead. Easier, healthier and no bubbling oil, which is a huge bonus in my book. By using a wire cooling rack set onto a baking sheet, you can keep the bottom of whatever you’re baking from getting mushy — just make sure it’s an oven-safe rack!

Firecracker Cauliflower Before Baking
I find cauliflower to be a nice and meaty veggie and it works perfectly in this dish to replace the chicken or shrimp. The florets are coated lightly in a breadcrumb mixture and then baked until just tender and slightly crispy around the edges. Meanwhile, you’ll quickly whisk together a sweet and spicy homemade chili sauce that rivals anything from the store. (And by making it yourself, you can easily adjust the spice level by adding more or less sriracha!)

Serve the cauliflower over a bed of rice, sprinkle with some green onions and then drizzle with the finger-licking good sauce. I found that drizzling the sauce instead of coating the cauliflower with it helps keep the florets nice and crispy.

And go ahead and keep a small bowl of the sauce on the table for extra dunking. Trust me on that one.

Firecracker Cauliflower

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Firecracker Cauliflower

This vegetarian spin on firecracker take-out features crunchy baked cauliflower in place of chicken or shrimp. Serve over rice and drizzle with a sweet and spicy homemade chili sauce for a dish that rivals any restaurant.

Ingredients

    For the cauliflower:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-1/2 to 2-inch pieces
  • For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons sriracha sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • For serving:
  • Cooked rice
  • Thinly sliced green onions

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and then set an oven-safe metal cooling rack inside the baking sheet. Spray the rack with an oil mister or cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Make the cauliflower:
  3. Lightly beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl until combined. In a shallow dish, add the flour, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, paprika and salt. Mix to combine. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the cauliflower into the egg mixture, shake off the excess, then place in the breadcrumb mixture, tossing to coat. Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer (you can put them close together). Once all the cauliflower is coated, spray it lightly with oil.
  4. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the coating is crispy and golden brown, and the cauliflower is tender but not mushy.
  5. Make the sauce:
  6. While the cauliflower is baking, make the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, sriracha, garlic, vinegar, and salt. Taste and add additional sriracha for more heat, if desired.
  7. Divide the rice into bowls and top with with cauliflower. Drizzle the sauce over the cauliflower and garnish with green onions. Serve with additional sauce on the side for dipping.
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About Ashley

Ashley Jennings is the blogger behind Cookie Monster Cooking, where she shares healthy, whole foods along with a few indulgent treats. Ashley is a home cook who loves to play in the kitchen, where she is constantly tripping over her hungry beagle.   Read more from Ashley →

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Comments

  1. Jeni says

    Such an easy and tasty treat! My picky toddler and the while family really loved it! Thanks for sharing!

  2. says

    There was a cauliflower staring back at me every time I opened the fridge for the last week. It met it’s demise last night which was a delicious success.

    I substituted the Garlic Powder for Celery Salt which seemed to work nicely and also the sriracha sauce for some Thai Hot Chilli Sauce which I think is basically the same thing.

  3. says

    Crisp cauliflower outsides smothered in a spicy sweet sauce sounds awesome!! Definitely the kind of thing that I crave when ordering takeout but usually can’t eat because it’s all meat-based. WIN for making it at home, AND healthier, AND all vegged up!

    • Ashley Jennings says

      haha yes exactly! I always get frustrated when there are no good veggie take-out options on menus!

    • Ashley Jennings says

      Hi Marlin! I think it should still work fine without the egg. My suggestion would be to try using more milk (coconut milk would be my choice!) – about 1/2 cup or so. Dunk into the milk and then press lightly to get the breadcrumb mixture to stick. You could also try using a flax egg but I think it should be good with just more milk.

  4. Amanda says

    I have to say I stumbled across this website a few months ago and it has totally changed my life. I love being vegetarian, I love cooking and I have loved every recipe I have made from this website! This recipe takes the cake though. It was so delicious in every way! The only thing I did to enhance the flavor was add sesame oil, sesame seeds and some sliced almonds to the rice, makes a world of a difference to have great rice with great veggies!! Thank you so much for this recipe!!

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