This seriously might just be the only way cauliflower should be eaten from now on. This baked vegan bang bang cauliflower is a healthier spin-off of the ever so popular bang bang shrimp. It's crispy, spicy yet sweet, and so easy to make!
This vegan bang bang cauliflower is the perfect appetizer for a get-together! You could also turn these bites into a meal by adding them to some soba noodles or lettuce tacos.
These are a slightly healthier alternative to bang bang shrimp, as the cauliflower is baked or air fried instead of deep fried. Also, this bang bang sauce is made without mayonnaise or honey, yet we're still able to achieve a creamy and spicy yet sweet, sauce!
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower has a great dense and meaty texture, so it's super satisfying. Also, it's great at absorbing whatever seasonings you add to it!
- Batter: This is a super simple batter, 1 part non-dairy milk (whichever you prefer), 1 part flour, and some pantry-staple spices. The batter acts as the binder between the cauliflower and the breadcrumbs.
- Breadcrumbs: I used seasoned panko breadcrumbs for this recipe. I always use my grocery store's generic brand because for some silly reason, big brand names like Progresso or 4C use milk and eggs in their breadcrumbs?! Anyway, the panko breadcrumbs give us that crispy outside layer and crunch we're after.
- Bang Bang Sauce: The star of the show! This sauce is the perfect combination of spicy and sweet and has the perfect consistency. This bang bang sauce is made without mayonnaise. Instead, we use a combination of a Thai sweet chili sauce, soy sauce and sriracha! It's perfection (if I do say so myself).
One of my favorite things about this recipe, other than the taste, is how easy and quick it is to make!
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour and spices.
- Create the batter by adding non-dairy milk to the flour/spice mixture. In a second bowl, add panko breadcrumbs.
- Dunk each piece of cauliflower in the batter, get it evenly coated, then toss it in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated. Place coated cauliflower on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all the cauliflower has been coated.
- Bake the cauliflower for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. I like to switch my oven to broil for the last two minutes to ensure the cauliflower is nice and crispy!
- While the cauliflower is baking, whisk together Bang Bang sauce ingredients.
- Toss baked cauliflower in the Bang Bang sauce and enjoy immediately!
Recipe Substitutions & Variations
- Make it gluten-free: You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs at a 1:1 ratio. They will still be super crispy and delicious!
- Make it healthier: You can make this recipe healthier by totally removing the batter and breadcrumbs. Instead, just toss the cauliflower in 1-2 tablespoon(s) of olive oil and the same spices used in the batter, roast for the same amount of time, and then toss in the bang bang sauce!
- Make it grain-free: Use almond or coconut flour in the batter and skip the bread crumbs.
- Switch your vegetable: This recipe also works great with broccoli! Follow the recipe as is, just swap out the cauliflower for broccoli to create bang bang broccoli!
- Make the sauce creamier: Feel free to add ¼ cup of your favorite vegan mayonnaise to the bang bang sauce to make it thicker.
- Make sure your batter is thick enough to coat and stick to the cauliflower, but not too chunky. The batter should not be excessively dripping/running off the cauliflower when you pull it out of the bowl.
- If your batter is too thin, add an additional tablespoon of flour at a time until desired consistency is reached. Similarly, if the batter is too thick, add an additional tablespoon of non-dairy milk at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- If you're cooking these in the oven, switch it to broil for the last minute or two of cooking. This will ensure the cauliflower gets super crispy AND they'll stay crispy for a longer amount of time even after adding the sauce. Don't worry, since you're only broiling them for a minute or two, they won't burn (just don't forget them in there)!
- Only toss the baked cauliflower in the bang bang sauce right before serving. This ensures that they'll be crispy when you're eating them!
- Eat these immediately! They longer they sit in the sauce, the softer (& colder) they will get.
I highly recommend enjoying this recipe as soon as it's ready. Unfortunately, this recipe does not keep well. Once you add the bang bang sauce, the cauliflower will start to get increasingly soggy the longer it sits.
If you do happen to have leftovers, you can reheat them in the oven at 425 degrees F. They won't get as crispy as they were originally, but it's better than throwing them out!
Definitely! Just preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F, repeat all the instructions, then place the cauliflower in the basket in a row. Make sure each cauliflower has a bit of space around it so they don't get stuck together. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until golden, giving the basket a shake halfway through.
I personally love having these as an appetizer, but you can definitely make this recipe into a meal! My favorite way to turn these bites into a meal are:
Making them into tacos! I actually love these specifically with lettuce tacos
Serve them over rice or noodles
Use these in a stir fry instead of tofu
Other recipes you might like
If you make this vegan bang bang cauliflower recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram. If you have any questions or feedback at all, send me an e-mail or leave a comment below! I hope you love them as much as we do!
Vegan Bang Bang Cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower chopped into florets
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups non-dairy milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- sesame seeds for garnish
- scallions for garnish
Bang Bang Sauce:
- 1 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
- 3 teaspoons sriracha
- 3 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- crushed red pepper flakes optional
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together milk, flour, salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder until smooth. In a second bowl, add bread crumbs. Dredge each piece of cauliflower in the batter, let any excess drip off, then toss in the bread crumbs until evenly coated.1 head cauliflower, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 ½ cups non-dairy milk, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Place the coated cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all cauliflower pieces have been evenly coated.
- Bake the cauliflower for 23-25 minutes, flipping half way through. After about 23 minutes, switch to broil and cook for and additional 2 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is baking, whisk together the bang bang sauce ingredients. Toss the baked cauliflower in the sauce only when ready to serve.1 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, 3 teaspoons sriracha, 3 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Garnish with sesame seeds, crushed red pepper flakes, and chopped scallions, if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!sesame seeds, scallions, crushed red pepper flakes