Firecracker Cauliflower

By Ashley Jennings | Last Updated: June 16, 2014

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.

Go to Firecracker Cauliflower recipe

Firecracker Cauliflower

Prep Time:

20 minutes

Cook Time:

25 minutes

Total Time:

45 minutes


4 servings


    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
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  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.

About Ashley Jennings

Ashley Jennings is the blogger behind Cook Nourish Bliss, 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 Jennings

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I’ve been following Ashley’s blog for some time now, and I love how creative she is with veggies. This cauliflower looks so crispy and delicious, and that sauce sounds like a bang-up good job!

Yaay, welcome, Ashley!! I’m loving this firecracker cauli! Just like you, I’m not vegetarian but I eat tons of vegetarian and vegan meals. I love this healthful recipe and could probably eat it every day. 🙂

Just made these for dinner- they were quick and delicious! I made them to go with a lentil and spinach dish, along with the rice recommended. I added peanut butter to the sauce for some creaminess. Looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Yay, love Ashley and this recipe! The cauliflower looks so crispy and delicious and I would find any excuse to slather the honey sriracha sauce on everything!

Ashley always shares creative recipes and this is a perfect example. I love all the flavors built into this recipe, taking cauliflower to another level of deliciousness. I have a feeling I’d want to use this sauce on a lot of things! Glad to discover this site. : )

So, I looked at this photo and said “hmm I know that photography style” and clicked over because I love cauliflower and the photo was gorgeous, and I said ! Ashley! Congrats :). I’m going to stop being embarrassing now. This firecracker cauliflower is such a brilliant idea! I love that it is baked not fried and love that sauce!

This looks so good! I’m on the other side of the world, heading into winter, so the recent salads and things are all wrong timing for me. 🙂 Crunchy spiciness = good all year round.

Hi Ruby! I used just plain whole wheat breadcrumbs for this recipe. But panko breadcrumbs would also work as well!

Hi Jill! Thank you! For the cauliflower portion – I would try using more milk (I think coconut milk would be great here), like 1/2 cup or so and leave out the eggs. Dunk the pieces into the milk and then you’ll likely need to lightly press the breadcrumb mixture to get it to stick. For the sauce – I think agave would be a good sub for the honey. Hope that helps!!

This looks fantastic, Ashley! I think you are another great OMV contributor and now I will be reading your blog.:) This cauliflower looks scrumptious! I’m like you not a vegetarian but I eat a lot of vegetarian dishes and have limited dairy in my diet.

This looks so good and I LOVE cauliflower but you lost me at 2 large eggs. Do you think the eggs are necessary or can you think of a substitute?

Hi Sharon! I think it should still work without the eggs – I’d try using more milk (coconut milk would be awesome!) – about 1/2 cup or so. Dunk into the milk and then you’ll probably have to press lightly to get the breadcrumb mixture to stick better!

Yummy! I am going to try this with almond flour to go with my paleo diet right now! Ill make them for my non paleo friends! Great idea and I am so into cauliflower right now. Love your blog!

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