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Crispy Baked Orange Cauliflower

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This crispy baked orange cauliflower is a lightened up take on your favorite orange chicken. It’s easy to make, gluten free and bursting with fresh orange flavor in every bite. Plus, it can easily be made vegan!

Second to sesame chicken, orange chicken is one of my favorite dishes from Chinese restaurants. Buuut, it’s usually fried and probably not the best for me and usually not gluten free so I can’t eat it anyway.

Given the popularity of my sesame cauliflower, I felt it was time for another Asian style cauliflower recipe! This orange cauliflower is baked, insanely flavorful, gluten free and can easily be made vegan.

I swear it’ll impress all of your friends, whether vegetarian or die hard orange chicken lovers. Same goes for this orange tofu!





How to make this recipe

There are two ways to make this recipe. Both are equally delicious and flavorful, but one is vegan and one is not! Whichever one you’re making, you’ll first want to preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, chop the cauliflower into medium bite sized florets. 

To make the regular version: Whisk both eggs together in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the flour breadcrumbs and garlic powder. Dip each piece of cauliflower in the egg, then transfer to the breadcrumb mixture.

Coat the piece completely with breadcrumbs and then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all cauliflower has been used. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumbs on top of the cauliflower before placing in the oven. 

To make the vegan version: Whisk together the rice flour, arrowroot, garlic powder and non-dairy milk in a large mixing bowl. Add in the cauliflower and toss until each piece is well coated in the batter. Add in the breadcrumbs and toss again. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. 

For both versions, bake at 425 for 25 minutes, turn the oven off and leave in an additional 5 minutes to crisp up. 

During the final few minutes, make the sauce. Start by finely mincing the garlic and adding to a pot with the oil. Saute for a few minutes or until golden brown. Add in all remaining ingredients aside from the arrowroot and whisk to combine. Bring to a low boil. 

In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot and water and add to the sauce once it is at a low boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer until thickened. Remove from heat. 

When the cauliflower is done, let cool for 5 minutes and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the sauce and serve immediately. 

How to tell when it’s done

For this orange cauliflower, you’ll want the breading to be crispy with a few golden brown bits. This is why we’ll cook it for just 25 minutes and then let it sit in the off oven to get crispy without burning.

The goal is to have a crispy exterior and a soft interior, so a fork should easily stab through the cauliflower, though it’s not necessary to test it this way. As long as you have a golden brown breading, you’re good to go!

FAQ’s

Does it keep? Unfortunately, this recipe does not store well in the fridge. The cauliflower will be really nice and crispy when it comes out of the oven, but about 20 minutes after tossing with the sauce, it starts to lose any crispiness. I recommend serving this recipe as soon as it is ready!

What should I serve it with? I like some steamed jasmine rice and chopped scallions. That is a very traditional way of serving Chinese dishes, but you can also add some fresh greens or have it completely on its own as an appetizer.

Can I use regular orange juice? I highly recommend using freshly squeeze orange juice for this recipe. That can either be OJ that you squeeze yourself from a few oranges, or a cold pressed orange juice from a bottle. Both of these will have a stronger flavor than conventional orange juice, but if that is all you have, totally fine!

Can I use an air fryer? Yes! Follow all of the same instructions, but lower the air fryer temperature to 400 and air fry for about 20-25 minutes (though keep an eye on it, timing will depend on your specific air fryer), then toss in the sauce when it’s done.

Try these next!

  • Orange Chickpeas
  • Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese
  • Buffalo Chickpea Salad

Lastly, if you want more recipes straight to your inbox, be sure to subscribe to my email list. As always, tag me on instagram if you make this recipe so I can see your creation!

5 from 5 votes

Crispy Baked Orange Cauliflower

by: claire cary

This crispy orange cauliflower is a lightened up take on your favorite orange chicken. It’s easy to make, baked, and bursting with fresh orange flavor in every bite. Plus, can easily be made vegan and gluten free!

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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins

4

Ingredients

Cauliflower (Regular):

  • 1 medium head cauliflower about 4 cups
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour I used gluten free
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs I used gluten free
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

Cauliflower (Vegan):

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • cup rice flour
  • ¼ cup arrowroot starch
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¾ cup non-dairy milk
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs gluten free as needed

Orange Sauce

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tsp sriracha*
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch + tbsp water

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Chop the cauliflower into medium bite sized florets. 
  • To make the regular version: Whisk both eggs together in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the flour breadcrumbs and garlic powder. Dip each piece of cauliflower in the egg, then transfer to the breadcrumb mixture. Coat the piece completely with breadcrumbs and then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all cauliflower has been used. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumbs on top of the cauliflower before placing in the oven. 
  • To make the vegan version: 

    Whisk together the rice flour, arrowroot, garlic powder and non-dairy milk in a large mixing bowl. If the batter seems too thick, add in a bit more milk, but you do want it on the thicker side. Add in the cauliflower and toss until each piece is well coated in the batter. Add in the breadcrumbs and toss again. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. 

  • For both versions, bake at 425 for 25 minutes, turn the oven off and leave in an additional 5 minutes to crisp up. 
  • During the final few minutes, make the sauce. Start by finely mincing the garlic and adding to a pot with the oil. Saute for a few minutes or until golden brown. Add in all remaining ingredients aside from the cornstarch and whisk to combine. Bring to a low boil. 
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water and add to the sauce once it is at a low boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer until thickened. Remove from heat. 
  • When the cauliflower is done, let cool for 5 minutes and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the sauce and serve immediately. 

Notes

You want the cauliflower chopped into medium sized florets. Too small and they’ll end up kind of mushy on the inside, but too big and they won’t cook properly or evenly. 

I highly suggest using freshly squeezed orange juice for the best flavor. However, if you only have regular OJ, that will work. 

For a lower sugar version, you can cut back on the brown sugar to 1/4 cup. 

Serving: 1/4 of the recipe / Calories: 263kcal / Carbohydrates: 39g / Protein: 7.9g / Fat: 3.8g / Fiber: 1.4g / Sugar: 18g

Did you make this?

Mention @eatwithclarity or tag #eatwithclarity!

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