Easy Vegan General Tso’s Cauliflower – Better than Take-Out


My easy recipe for Vegan General Tso’s Cauliflower is spicy-sweet and tangy like the original and will please meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

side view of Vegan General Tso Cauliflower in a sweet and sour sauce, with a side of rice and Asian chopped salad

 

It’s almost weekend and its gonna be a cold one again, here in Northern BC. Another chance to hibernate on the sofa with some vino and watch The Crown all weekend long!

And then there’s Sunday brunch, of course! I That’s when my husband and I get those mid-morning cravings for sweet and tangy things. Like teriyaki chicken or BBQ ribs. Might have something to do with all that Saturday Vino.

I still prefer to believe that sleeping in causes that urgent need for sugar and salt, or shall I just say: For Take-Out Food.

However, one of our resolutions for 2017 is to cut down on the meat and this is when I started to up my veggie game and look for vegetarian versions of take-out classics.

And of course, the path leads me to last year’s veggie star, the cauliflower. Seriously, at this point, the question should be what you CANNOT do with this awesome vegetable. Well, one thing you maybe haven’t tried yet is General Tso’s Cauliflower. And you should.

Vegan General Tso Cauliflower sprinkled with sesame seeds on a white plate with a side or rice and veggies

Make a batch of Vegan General Tso Cauliflower to curb that craving for Chinese Take-Out!

Just imagine: Fried, tender cauliflower florets tossed in a thick and shiny, slightly spicy, sweet and tangy sauce.

That’s right!  Tender cauliflower florets are breaded with rice flour and fried before getting tossed in this beautiful thick and shiny General Tso sauce.  When served right after tossing, the cauliflower is still crispy under the coating of sauce. Just imagine!

Vegan General Tso Cauliflower served on a plate with rice and a carrot salad

Seriously, if you like your vegetables and are a fan of  Asian-y flavours in general and Chinese Take-Out in particular. If you try to sell vegetables to kids or convinced meat-eater. Or If you just like to mix things up in the kitchen once in a while, then this Vegan General Tso’s Cauliflower is the recipe for you.

Can I bake this Vegan General Tso’s Cauliflower instead of frying it? 

Yes, but then you might want to use a different coating to get the same crispy crunch! Preheat the oven to 400F.

For the coating, measure out:

  • 1 cup of panko,
  • 1 cup flour, generously seasoned with salt, pepper or/and cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup of coconut milk

Dip florets into the flour, then the coconut milk, and finally the panko and bake until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

Can I make this General Tso’s Cauliflower recipe gluten-free? 

Absolutely, just use the recipe above, with gluten-free flour instead of flour for the coating.

a crunchy piece of General Tso's Cauliflower coated in sweet and sour sauce balanced on a fork

How to make Vegan General Tso’s Cauliflower: 

This recipe for Vegan General Tso’s Cauliflower is really easy to make. If you cook Asian recipes on a regular basis, there’s a chance that you even have all the ingredients in the house.

We start by making the General Tso Sauce, which is a mixture of rice wine, orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and chili. While this sauce reduces, we heat up some oil and coat the cauliflower in a rice flour-based batter.

After frying the coated cauliflower florets until crispy and golden, we toss them with our homemade General Tso Sauce and then you are done!

Yes, it’s that easy and you could have this for dinner tonight! Or, like us, all Sunday long.

For more delicious cauliflower recipes, check out my Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh, my Vegan Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Dressing or this fried Cauliflower “Chicken”

Easy Vegan General Tso’s Cauliflower – This healthy version of the restaurant-style appetizer uses crispy fried cauliflower instead of chicken. Covered in a delicious sweet and sour sauce, this is the perfect easy snack or finger food for parties or Game Day! #veganrecipes, #healthy,

Did you make and love this recipe for Vegan General Tso Cauliflower? Give it your review below and make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

side view of Vegan General Tso Cauliflower in a sweet and sour sauce, with a side of rice and Asian chopped salad
4.8 from 5 votes
Print

General Tso's Cauliflower

A meatless, vegan version of General Tso's chicken, replacing the chicken with crispy fried pieces of cauliflower. This healthy spin on a Chinese Restaurant Classic will be a hit with both adults and the little ones! 

Course dinner, main
Cuisine American, Chinese
Keyword appetizer, cauliflower, Chinese, fried, General Tso, main, party food, restaurant-style, vegan recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 portions
Calories 840 kcal
Author Kiki Johnson

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cm ginger minced
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste
  • 150 ml orange juice
  • 125 ml soy sauce
  • 80 ml rice vinegar
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1,5 tbsps cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp water

For the cauliflower

  • 1 smallish head cauliflower
  • 100 g rice flour
  • 2 tbsps cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 60 - 80 ml water
  • 3 cups of oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Mince the garlic, chilli, and ginger finely. Heat a pan with 1 tbsp of oil and fry ginger, chilli, and garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and fry for another minute.
  2. Add orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar. Bring to a boil and add the cornstarch slurry. Let the sauce thicken, stirring constantly, then turn the heat down to low and let simmer while you prepare the cauliflower.
  3. Break the cauliflower into 5 cm florets and put them aside in a medium bowl.

  4. Take 25 g of rice flour and put it aside for later.
  5. Heat the oil in a deep pan until it reaches 365 F.
  6. While the oil is heating, mix remaining 75 g rice flour with corn starch, baking powder, and salt. Add sesame oil and water and stir with a whisk to create a thick batter. 

  7. Now, toss the cauliflower florets with this mixture, trying to coat them from all sides. Sprinkle the remaining 25 g rice flour on top and give it the last toss. There should be no dough remaining in the bowl.

  8. Fry, using a metal spider or slotted spatula to rotate and poke the pieces as they cook until evenly golden brown and crisp all over, about 4 - 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm while you fry the remaining cauliflower.
  9. Once your cauliflower is fried, add it to a large bowl and pour the simmering sauce all over the pieces. Toss them to coat the florets evenly. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds with a side of rice.

Recipe Notes

Serve with some rice and a salad for a full meal

Easy Vegan General Tso’s Cauliflower – This healthy version of the restaurant-style appetizer uses crispy fried cauliflower instead of chicken. Covered in a delicious sweet and sour sauce, this is the perfect easy snack or finger food for parties or Game Day! #veganrecipes, #healthy,

14 Comments

  1. Oh wie lecker die veganes Wings aussehen, muss ich unbedingt mal selbst probieren. Wirklich eine tolle Idee!
    Liebe Grüsse,
    Krisi


  2. Leider ist die Soße mit 80ml Reisessig zu sauer geworden ich hab es auf 2 EL bzw 10 ml Reisessig reduziert.

    • Hallo Günther! Danke für das Feedback! Ich mag die Sauce so eigentlich recht gerne leicht säuerlich aber das ist wohl Geschmackssache bzw. kommt es wohl auch auf die Marke Essig an, die verwendet wird! Ich füge gerne einen Vermerk ins Rezept ein! Hab eine tolle Woche!


  3. This looks absolutely incredible. I am a big fan of General Tso chicken but trying to try more vegan dishes so definitely will be giving this a try

    • Thanks, Bintu! General Tso Chicken is our favourite cheat treat for lazy days and we found the cauliflower to be a worthy substitution. Plus it’s homemade, which our general tso chicken generally isn’t. I am sure you would enjoy it!

  4. This is calling my name! Looks like .a sticky delicious meal!


  5. Oh, wow! This looks so delicious. I’m with you on trying to cut back on meat. I’d never want to go vegetarian, but I do feel better when I limit my meat intake. Good job!


  6. Such a great idea to make this classic dish vegan friendly! It looks so rich and delicious!

    • Thanks, Carrie! It’s my favourite “secret veggies” recipe. Fried and covered with sweet and sour sauce even my husband seems to enjoy cauliflower!


  7. Binge watching The Crown – is something I have proven to be an expert at! 😉 This recipe is getting made STAT – I absolutely love subbing cauliflower, and I am a carnivore through and through. That looks like the perfect Chinese Take Out Fake Out to me!

    • Thanks, Michaela! Take out Fake out, indeed! Haha, I gotta remember this one 🙂 And yes, I am a carnivore myself and totally into the whole cauliflower subbing thing!It might be out of fashion already amongst bloggers but it’s still hot in my kitchen. Have a great day! Cheers, Kiki

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