Crispy Orange Cauliflower

Just when you thought Chinese food was off-limits, I give you Crispy Orange Cauliflower. Yes, you heard me correctly. What looks like chicken is actually cauliflower…

Crispy Orange Cauliflower - A vegetarian version of your favorite Chinese dish.


Proof as to why I am a better cook than baker. Cooking comes a lot more naturally for me–I am more at ease in finding my way around my spice rack than I ever am at baking a cake. There’s something so relaxing to me about chopping up vegetables, mincing garlic and figuring out which flavors I am missing in my dish. You could say cooking is a way for me to put my thoughts in a more clearer state of mind.

Crispy Orange Cauliflower - A vegetarian version of your favorite Chinese dish

I do a lot of baking on Fork & Beans because I have always been afraid of it. Some of you might be asking yourselves why someone would spend so much time with their fears. Don’t ask me why, it’s just what I do. Though my baking fears have subsided througout the past year and a half when I first started, it still exhausts me at times. Emotionally and physically.


  • Crispy Orange Cauliflower
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
    Serves: Serves 2
    • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets (or a package of pre-cut cauliflower)
    For Flour Mixture:
    • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal + 2 Tb water, allow to sit until thickens
    • ⅓ c. water
    • ⅓ c. corn starch
    • ¼ c. gluten-free flour
    • 1 tsp. oil
    For the Base:
    • 2 Tbsp. oil
    • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and zested
    • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
    For the Orange sauce:
    • 1 tsp. oil
    • zest of 1 orange + juice of orange
    • 2 Tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce
    • 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
    • .1/4 c. orange juice
    • 1 tsp. corn starch
    • 1 tsp. brown sugar
    1. Whisk together the flour mixture until a nice batter is formed (shouldn't be too thick: think waffle batter consistency).
    2. Heat up a skillet with ½ c. oil on medium/high heat. Make sure it has been properly heated.
    3. Dip each small floret into the batter until covered. Fry in oil until completely browned and allow to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
    4. In a clean skillet, heat the oil and garlic for 1 minute. Add green onions, zest and juice. Cook another 1 minute. Add soy sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil. Toss in crispy cauliflower into the skillet and coat thoroughly.
    5. Plate on a bed of rice
    6. In that same skillet, throw in the remainder ingredients for the Orange Sauce and bring to a boil for just 1 minute, stirring constantly. Drizzle over orange cauliflower and rice.

Crispy Orange Cauliflower - A vegetarian version of your favorite Chinese dish.



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  1. Any chance I could bake this? Looking to make it a little healthier. Thanks!

  2. I made this last night and couldn’t get over how much the meal tasted and felt like orange chicken! By mistake I added orange juice with the soy sauce. Turned out great anyway! I can’t wait to check out more recipes!

    • I love hearing that! I thought it was just me that thought that it didn’t taste like cauliflower at all so I glad to know I’m not alone. So good, right?! 😉 xo

  3. “more clearer state of mind”…

    Might want to edit that part.

  4. We love orange chicken in this house, but I became a vegetarian six years ago, so that was that for me. However, this recipe of yours was a huge success and I shall mourn the absence of orange chicken no more. Thank you! It was very delicious!

    As a side note, I was out of flax seed so I used chia seeds instead. They worked well as a thickener/binder for sure, but a little too well. So I increased the liquid in the batter and it worked great.

    Thanks for the bellyache! (As my grandfather always used to say.)


  5. This meal is absolutely amazing! Even my fiancé loved it! I ended up sautéing some red pepper and onion to add to the top of the rice and make a bigger meal. I highly recommend it!

  6. Jennifer says:

    Looks fabulous! Trying to print out recipe. The link to print seems to be broken. Would love to know if this gets fixed. Thanks!

  7. Hi Cara, I love the sound of this. There is an amazing Indo Chinese cauliflower dish similar to this at one of my favourite Indian restaurants and I’ve been wanting to try and re creative it for a while. This has inspired me!

  8. How deliciously appealing! Sounds and looks amazing!

  9. I love this!!!

  10. I’m never frying anything ever again! House full of smoke, stained my pan, messy! Haha no but, this recipe was delicious. I made the orange sauce kinda backwards but it still tasted good. I loved the blackened parts of the cauliflower, they were so crispy! Great recipe but I won’t make it again cuz of the frying process.

  11. Brilliant idea! And so good. After a few splatter burns, I got the hang of it and it turned out better than expected.

    Def planning to use this for my vegetarian friends at dinner parties from now on!

    • haha, The splatters are the worst aren’t they? I think I have gotten so used to the pain that I don’t feel them anymore 😛 Glad you loved this!

  12. Hi, is there an alternative to soy sauce I can use? My little girl is dairy & soy intolerant but now wants to try everything we eat.

    Oh and cooked your cauliflower risotto tonight, it was delIcious! Thank u 😀

  13. I just made this and it is amazing! thanks for the recipe. I will be making it again

  14. I am in weight watchers and would love to try this recipe but I can’t really afford the points it would take to fry it. Would baking them work and if so, how long and what temp would you recommend? Thank you!

  15. What can I use instead of Cara’s gluten-free flour blend? Regular bread crumbs? Thanks

  16. This was THE BOMB!! I doubled the recipe..twice! make sure our family had enough..this will definitely be made again and again in our house..thanks for the recipe!..HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

  17. Just made this tonight. It was wonderful. I can’t believe how quickly it all came together. Served over short-grain brown rice, absolutely delicious. Thanks!

  18. can i use a real egg in the batter besides flax egg mixtre?
    Assuming that is to help things stick and bind together.

  19. Sounded so wonderful…and it was actually quite tasty, but for some reason my cauliflower didn’t turn out. All of the breading stuck to the bottom of my pan and came off of the florets. I ended up with big chunks of breading (after scraping it off the pan) and naked florets. Any idea why this happened? I kept the heat at medium and used raw, unpasturized coconut oil.

    • Aw bummer, Danielle–so sorry to hear! :( The only 2 things I can think of as to why the breading stuck to your pan is because 1). There wasn’t enough oil in the pan, and 2). It wasn’t hot enough. Hope that helps and better luck next time, for reals! xo

  20. Can you bake this instead of frying? What temp and for how long?

    • hey lisa,
      I tried baking at 450, and LIGHTLY tossing cauliflower ( I also added broccoli) in the batter. I sprayed the baking sheet with some cooking spray. cooked for around 20 minutes while I cooked up the sauce and did the dishes. Didn’t come out super crunchy but there was a great crisp on the bottom where the pieces touched the pan. All in all I loved it! (never been a huge fan of super crispy fried things anyways)

  21. I made a version of this, and it was OUTSTANDING. My cauliflower hating husband stated it looked so good that he would try it and also liked it! From a meat and potatoes vegetable hating guy that certainly is a pretty big compliment. Here is my version (not gluten free).

  22. is there is sub for the brown sugar,….?? can you use maple? or honey? or…???

  23. When I made this, the sauce made everything quite mushy. The taste was amazing and would like to try it again… any advice???

  24. Michelle says:

    This recipe looked phenomenal, so of course, I had to try and see if it tasted as good as it looked. IT DID! My meat-eating parents said it tasted better than crispy, orange chicken. Thanks for the share!

  25. Wowee this looks soo good, gonna make this next week, see if I can even get the husband to enjoy cauliflower :) thanks for sharing!!

  26. Oh man, I used to love the flavor of orange chicken, but haven’t had it in over 4 years since I became a vegetarian. Thank you for making it possible for me to enjoy that flavor again!

  27. NOOOO! I am going through all the posts I have yet to read and one is more delicious than the next! You’re killin’ me, Cara! LOVE your work!

  28. Where is the recipe for this?? I can’t find it anywhere!! It looks so good..

  29. I love this recipe! I included it on my blog:


  30. I think you are the ultimate ratbag for besting my sesame orange seitan….

    Yup, BESTED I say! xx

  31. OK, made this last night for my birthday dinner!! It was freaking perfect!!! My non-vegan husband even loved it!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    • Eeeeee! So happy that you immediately tried it and liked it. It’s rather amazing what cauliflower can do, isn’t it? Hope you had an awesome birthday, Cara! (great name, too) 😉

  32. Um, this looks so amazing. Off to check out the recipe now.


  1. […] 23. Crispy Orange Cauliflower Here’s a super delicious revamp of typical Chinese takeout. (BYO fortune cookie.) Bread cauliflower (hint: if you don’t keep gluten-free, regular flour will do) and fry in a skillet. While the cauliflower cools, mix up your orange sauce with pantry ingredients and fresh orange juice. Dinner is served! (Without tipping a delivery guy.)    […]

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