Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
This sticky sesame cauliflower is made with baked cauliflower wings that are crispy on the outside, and soft and tender on the inside. Serve with a sweet, tangy sesame sauce for a weeknight dinner, or a simple side dish that’s bursting with deliciousness. Vegan and easy to make gluten-free.
I have to say that my love for cauliflower has no end in sight. You can make so much out of it, from pizza crust to a flavourful cauliflower Alfredo sauce. The possibilities really are endless! I discovered that the moment I lost my scepticism about the vegetable.
And nope, cauliflower-centric recipes don’t have to be bland. Far from it! Cauliflower by itself has a neutral flavour, and can take on many different flavour profiles depending on how you cook it. One of the tricks is adding a fantastic sauce. And that’s exactly what we’re doing today. I suggest you run to the kitchen to make this asap because this sesame cauliflower is calling your name!
Sticky sesame cauliflower ‘wings’
When I say I am obsessed with this recipe, I really mean it. I have a habit of eating this cauliflower straight from the pan, and watching it disappear in around 5 minutes. It really is that phenomenal.
The cauliflower ‘wings’ are incredibly realistic and can impress vegans and non-vegans alike. They are super crispy on the outside, coated in a garlicky and cheesy batter. The inside of the ‘wings’ is very tender and soft. In general, they make a great meatless alternative to chicken wings.
My favourite part is the sticky sesame sauce. It’s absolutely incredible! The flavour is tangy, sweet, and with a hint of spice due to the addition of sriracha. I love sesame seeds, having used them for a lot of recipes, such as my sesame peanut tofu, and they go incredibly well with the cauliflower. Trust me, even people who usually hate cauliflower won’t be able to tell that the main ingredient in this recipe is a vegetable!
You can serve sesame cauliflower wings as a main course with a side of your choice such as rice or noodles for a homemade takeout night. They also make a great side dish, and you can even serve the sauce as a dip, rather than mixing it with the cauliflower bites in a frying pan.
How to make cauliflower crispy
Ever wondered why your cauliflower ‘wings’ may turn out soggy? Worry no further, because here are my top tips for making sure that these cauliflower wings turn out perfect, with just the right amount of crunch:
- Make sure not to drench them in the batter. This is a key step. The cauliflower will then take much longer to bake, also turning out chewy and soggy. When dipping, ensure to shake off any excess batter.
- At the same time, make sure that the batter is not too runny. It should stick very easily to the cauliflower florets.
- Use a large baking tray or use two trays as to avoid overcrowding.
- Bake for enough time. I know that it may be tempting to take the cauliflower out of the oven after 10-15 minutes, but 25-30 is the optimal time to achieve a perfect crunch.
- Keep in mind that after you add the sauce to the cauliflower wings, they won’t be as crispy. That way, it’s best to serve them immediately. You can also serve the sesame sauce as a dip instead.
Ingredients you will need
- Flour. To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- Baking powder.
- Nutritional yeast. This is a great ingredient for adding a ‘cheesy’ flavour.
- Garlic powder. You can also add other spices of your choice, such as cumin, paprika and turmeric.
- Plant based milk of your choice.
- Cauliflower florets.
- Tomato paste.
- Rice vinegar.
- Tamari or soy sauce, depending on whether you are avoiding gluten.
- Maple syrup. You can use any liquid sweetener of your choice, or coconut sugar.
- Sriracha. Adjust how much you use depending on how spicy you want the sesame sauce to be.
- Cornstarch and water to make a cornstarch slurry, used to thicken the sauce.
- Sesame oil.
- Onion, garlic and ginger.
- Sesame seeds. One of the key ingredients here, that will give this dish its signature flare!
How to make sticky sesame cauliflower
Firstly, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (400 F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Now, make the batter. Add the flour, baking powder, nutritional yeast, garlic power, salt and plant based milk to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together thoroughly, until no lumps remain.
Prepare the cauliflower florets. Trim the leaves from the cauliflower and then remove the leaves, before chopping it into bite-sized florets.
Dip the cauliflower florets in the batter and shake off any excess batter before laying them out on the baking tray. Make sure to leave enough space between the florets. Now bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by whisking together the tomato paste, rice vinegar, tamari, maple syrup and sriracha. In a separate mixing bowl, make the cornstarch slurry by mixing together cornstarch and water.
When the cauliflower is almost done, heat the sesame oil in a pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, cooking for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant.
Now add the sauce and cornstarch slurry, lowering the heat. Whisk continuously for around 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and add the cauliflower wings, stirring together thoroughly.
At the last minute, stir in the sesame seeds. This sticky sesame cauliflower is now ready to serve!
Cauliflower wings, if kept in the fridge, will lose their crispiness. It’s best to serve them immediately, or a few hours after cooking at the latest.
Yes, this recipe can be made gluten-free easily by using gluten-free flour for the batter.
You can serve it with any side of your choice, such as rice, noodles, pasta, or vegetables. It’s also great as a starter or side dish.
Other amazing cauliflower recipes
- For an amazing side dish, try out my vegan cauliflower cheese
- Red lentil cauliflower Dahl is fantastic for a wholesome and comforting dinner!
- If you love crispy cauliflower with a flavourful sauce, try out my baked orange cauliflower.
Let me know in the comments: what’s your favourite way to cook with cauliflower? If you give this sticky sesame cauliflower a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below together with a star rating!
Get the Recipe: Sticky Sesame Cauliflower (Vegan Recipe)
For the cauliflower 'wings'
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup plant based milk
- 1 medium head cauliflower, around 6 cups
For the sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tbsp sriracha
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 tbsp grated ginger
- Conventional oven
- Baking tray
- Mixing bowl x 3
- Frying pan
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (400 F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Add the flour, baking powder, nutritional yeast, garlic power, salt and plant based milk to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together thoroughly, until no lumps remain.
- Prepare the cauliflower florets. Trim the leaves from the cauliflower and then remove the leaves, before chopping it into bite-sized florets.
- Dip the cauliflower florets in the batter and shake off any excess batter before laying them out on the baking tray. Make sure to leave enough space between the florets. Now bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by whisking together the tomato paste, rice vinegar, tamari, maple syrup and sriracha. In a separate mixing bowl, make the cornstarch slurry by mixing together cornstarch and water.
- When the cauliflower is almost done, heat the sesame oil in a pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, cooking for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the sauce and cornstarch slurry, lowering the heat. Whisk continuously for around 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and add the cauliflower wings, stirring together thoroughly.
- At the last minute, stir in the sesame seeds and serve.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free flour.
- This cauliflower is best eaten straight away to make sure that it’s as crispy as possible!