Make take out at home with this healthier vegan Orange Cauliflower. Cauliflower florets coated in a sweet orange sauce and baked until they are melt-in-your mouth good. Ready in just 45 minutes!
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A couple of months ago I shared this recipe for Sticky Sesame Cauliflower.
Since then I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET ENOUGH! I think I'm eating this Sticky Sesame Cauliflower at least once a week. And you guys seem to be loving it, too! I'm enjoying seeing your creations on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks for sharing!
After that, I made my Buffalo Cauliflower Wings and I think I loved those even more.
Since we loved the Sticky Sesame Cauliflower and Buffalo Cauliflower Wings so much, I decided to make something similar - Orange Cauliflower.
Let's dig in, shall we
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
I think you're going to like this one as much as the other cauliflower wings recipes. Sweet, tangy, super saucy, melt-in-your-mouth cauliflower wings with a crispy battered outside for a healthier take on the classic Chinese dish, Orange Chicken.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Cauliflower - Crispy cauliflower has now been buzzing around for a handful of years as a popular vegan alternative to chicken. Not only does the cauliflower provide a healthy, whole food option, it also absorbs any flavor you give it. Beyond that, the texture is out of this world. With crispy battered skin and a melt-in-your-mouth buttery inside, crispy cauliflower is a game-changer.
- Chickpea Flour - This is used as an egg replacer, binding the breading to the cauliflower. While I do recommend trying this recipe with chickpea flour, I have had some readers have luck with using regular all-purpose flour.
- All-Purpose Flour - Use 1:1 gluten-free flour blend for a gluten-free alternative.
- Spices - Salt, Garlic Powder, White Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes
- Oil - You will use two different types of oil for this recipe, one for cooking (I recommend either coconut oil or canola oil for this) and sesame oil for the orange sauce.
- Orange Juice
- Maple Syrup - This is the sweetener of the recipe. Brown sugar or coconut sugar would also do.
- Rice Wine Vinegar - You could also use mirin or white wine vinegar.
- Soy Sauce - Use Tamari for a gluten-free option.
- Rice - White or brown will do. Just note brown takes 2x as long to cook as white rice.
- Toppings (Optional) - Green onions and sesame seeds
You don’t need much for this recipe. A high-quality soup pot, a shallow mixing bowl, a good chef’s knife, cutting board, and basic kitchen utensils are all you need.
You will also need a baking dish or large cast-iron skillet. (<<affiliate links)
Check out the full list of my recommended kitchen tools and gadgets.
How to make Cauliflower Wings
Step one - Batter the Cauliflower
First, break the cauliflower into bite-sized floret.
The batter for this orange cauliflower is broken down into two parts. First, we need an egg-like custard to coat the cauliflower in a thick gooey layer. This first step allows the flour mixture to better adhere to the cauliflower which creates the crispy skin.
Through trial and error, I have found that equal parts water and chickpea flour make the best custard for this orange cauliflower. The custard is similar in texture to eggs and because it is high in protein, binds the flour to the florets thoroughly and evenly.
Once your chickpea flour/water mixture is made, the florets get completely submerged into the custard. The next step is coating the wings in the flour mixture. Transfer your flour mixture to a large ziplock bag and fill it with 4-5 florets a time. Zip it closed and shake it up until the cauliflower wings are completely coated in that deliciously spiced flour.
Now we have our skin!
Step Two - Bake
Once the cauliflower is breaded, line a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet with oil and bake the cauliflower at very high heat, flipping once. I have also tried spraying the cauliflower with cooking spray before baking with great results.
Step Three - Prepare Remaining Ingredients
While the cauliflower is baking make your rice according to the package's instructions and blend together the ingredients for Orange Sauce.
Pro Tip: The sauce gets thickened with cornstarch while cooking. This is an important step that is not in the Sticky Sesame Cauliflower which naturally thickens as it cooks.
Serving and Storing
Serve this recipe over rice with green onions and sesame seeds. You could also serve these cauliflower wings in a salad over Romaine lettuce. Do not let it sit out too long. They will eventually lose their crispiness.
This recipe does not store well. It should be eaten on the same day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can the cauliflower be cooked in an air fryer?
Why, yes! If you want to try air frying this Orange Cauliflower, follow these instructions to cook your cauliflower in the air fryer. I didn't use an air fryer for this recipe because I wanted to make it more accessible to everyone, but I have had great results with air-fried cauliflower wings with that method.
Can this Orange Cauliflower be Gluten-Free?
Yes. For those of you who are gluten-free, I have had luck using a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend for the breading of the cauliflower wings. If you try other flour alternatives, please let us know how it goes!
More Cauliflower Wing Sauces
- ½ medium head of cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
- ¾ cup chickpea flour
- ¾ cup warm water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 ½ tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup orange juice
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon rice wine
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- Begin by cooking the rice according to the rice package instructions. While rice is cooking, prepare your cauliflower.
- Preheat oven to 450 F. In a shallow mixing bowl, combine chickpea flour and water, whisking together until thick and gooey. This will act as your binder between the cauliflower and flour mixture. In a separate shallow bowl combine flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of cooking oil into a heavy bottom baking dish or large cast-iron skillet. Dip each floret into the chickpea flour mixture until completely submerged, then dip it immediately into the flour mixture, coating thoroughly. Place the battered cauliflower in the baking dish and repeat until all the cauliflower is covered.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Pull out of the oven, flip cauliflower over and brush or spray the additional 1 tablespoon of oil on the top of the florets. Bake for another 10 minutes.
- While cauliflower is baking, make your sauce. Begin by heating up sesame oil in a small pan. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Whisk in remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the cornstarch and water and simmer for 2 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Add to sauce ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes until sauce is thickened and cornstarch has completely dissolved.
- Pour all but 2 tablespoon of sauce over the battered cauliflower and bake for another 5-10 minutes until sauce is sticky and thick.
- Serve immediately over cooked rice. Top with sesame seeds, green onion, and remaining sauce.
This was soooo dang good. We threw in a few extra veggies for a little more variety. The orange sauce was better than any take out I’ve had by far and plan on incorporating it in other meals.
This was the meal that made me completely forget that i am vegan, EVEN BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL!!!
This looks amazing! Is there anything I can substitute for the chickpea flour mixture? Chickpea flour is really difficult to find in my area! Maybe a flax egg instead? Can't wait to try it!
A flax egg should work.
OMG! I’ve been craving for a solid orange sauce for a long time and found it! We tried it last weekend and couldnt get enough of it! Thank you soo much! One question, i cant easily find maple syrup where I live so what can i replace it with? Thanks x
You could replace it with another sweetener like brown sugar or agave nectar.
Can I replace it with honey?
Sarah McMinn says
I made this dish except I brought general tso sauce instead of making the orange sauce from scratch & i used lupin all purpose flour (which has lots of fiber & protein) instead of regular white flour & it was sooooo good! Will definitely be making again.
Oh my gosh.this is the best orange cauliflower recipe I have found! Thank you for sharing your talents!..
I'm so glad to hear that! Thanks for sharing.
This was delicious, and such a great technique. I'm thinking broccoli might work well too. Thank you for a great recipe!
Oh! I love that idea. I'll have to try it.
Definitely a 5 star recipe! A little fussy to make, dirtied more bowls and pots than I would have liked, but the end product? OMG delish!!! Husband enjoyed it too and said to definitely make it again! Thank you thank you!! (I followed directions exactly, made in a 14" cast iron pan. I wouldn't change a thing!)
This recipe sounds delicious. Can I leave out/replace the rice wine? Maybe add some rice vinegar instead?
Yes, that would be fine. Just add a little less vinegar since it's stronger.
hello there! I love your recipes and photos. What do you use to complie your recipe with the nutritional information?
I use the WP recipe plugin that calculates the nutritional information as part of the plugin. Here's a link: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-recipe-maker/