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 in 30 minutes.

Sticky sesame cauliflower vegan recipe

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 flavorful 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!

Closeup of cauliflower wings served with rice

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. If you’re skeptical about cauliflower this may be the recipe that will change your mind when you make it for your next weeknight dinner.

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 batter with a hint of cheesiness. The inside of the ‘wings’ is very tender and soft. In general, they make a great meatless alternative to chicken wings.

Closeup of cauliflower wings in a sweet and sour sauce with rice

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, this is a phenomenal example of how to make vegetables taste good – to the point where you won’t be able to tell that the main ingredient is a veggie!

Bowl of rice with cauliflower in a sesame sauce

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:

Bowl of crispy cauliflower served with sweet and sour sauce and rice
  1. Do not drench the cauliflower 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.
  2. At the same time, make sure that the batter is not too runny. It should stick very easily to the cauliflower florets.
  3. Use a large baking tray or use two trays as to avoid overcrowding because this will trap in moisture and make the cauliflower soggy.
  4. Bake for enough time. I know that it may be tempting to take the cauliflower out of the oven after 10-15 minutes when the kitchen starts to smell amazing, but 25-30 is the optimal time to achieve a perfect crunch.
  5. 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 for the most crispiness.

Ingredients you will need

Ingredients for crispy vegan cauliflower wings
  • Flour. To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free all-purpose flour. I’ve made this with gluten-free flour multiple times and it works almost as well as ordinary flour.
  • Baking powder to add a bit of fluffiness and thickness to the batter.
  • Nutritional yeast. This is a great ingredient for adding a ‘cheesy’ flavour to vegan recipes.
  • Garlic powder and salt for flavoring the batter. You can also add other spices of your choice, such as cumin, paprika and turmeric.
  • Plant based milk of your choice. Use an unsweetened variety.
  • Cauliflower florets. Use fresh cauliflower, rather than thawed from frozen – the latter option will not turn out crispy.
  • Tomato paste and rice vinegar to add tanginess. You can also use lemon juice instead of rice vinegar.
  • Tamari or soy sauce, depending on whether you want to make this dish gluten-free.
  • 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 for adding even more crispiness to the cauliflower wings.
  • Onion, garlic and ginger – the aromatics which are super simple, but level up any dinner.
  • Sesame seeds. One of the key ingredients here, that will give this dish its signature flare! You can use either black or white sesame seeds, or a mixture of both.

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.

Next, prepare the cauliflower florets. Trim the leaves from the cauliflower and then remove the stem, 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 and starting to soften.

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!

Frequently-asked questions

Can I make these cauliflower wings ahead of time?

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.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this recipe can be made gluten-free easily by using gluten-free flour for the batter, and tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.

What can I serve sesame cauliflower with?

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.

Can the cauliflower wings be frozen?

For sure! To start, place the baked cauliflower wings on a large baking tray and place in the freezer for 3-4 hours. You can then transfer them to a freezer-friendly container or bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, transfer them to a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees C/350 F.

Other amazing cauliflower recipes

Sticky sesame cauliflower vegan recipe

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!

Sticky sesame cauliflower vegan recipe

Get the Recipe: Sticky Sesame Cauliflower (Vegan Recipe)

This sticky sesame cauliflower is perfect for a flavourful side dish or main course that's easy to make, vegan, and the best way to make cauliflower taste amazing! The crispy cauliflower wings are coated in a sweet, tangy sauce for a meal that will become a favourite for sure. Ready in 30 minutes.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

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 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

Equipment

  • Conventional oven
  • Baking tray
  • Mixing bowl x 3
  • Frying pan

Instructions 

  • 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.
    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
  • Prepare the cauliflower florets. Trim the leaves from the cauliflower and then remove the stem, before chopping it into bite-sized florets.
    1 medium head cauliflower
  • 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.
    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
  • 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.
    1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 large onion, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 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.
    1/4 cup sesame seeds

Video

Notes

Gluten-free: To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free flour and tamari instead of soy sauce.
To freeze: Arrange the baked cauliflower on a baking tray and place in the freezer for 3-4 hours. Then, transfer to a freezer-friendly container or bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
To reheat: When reheating from frozen, place the cauliflower on a baking tray and bake at 180 degrees C/350 F for 30 minutes.
Calories: 338kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1340mg, Potassium: 1087mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 126IU, Vitamin C: 76mg, Calcium: 363mg, Iron: 5mg
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Vegan sticky sesame cauliflower