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!
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.Print
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.
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