Inspired by a Chinese restaurant favorite, baked Sesame Cauliflower is a deliciously healthy dinner that’s perfect for busy weeknights. This easy recipe comes together in just half an hour. It’s vegan with a gluten-free option.
There’s a vegan Chinese restaurant nearby that we used to frequent. (In fact, they even named a special after Dennis and I!) One of my favorite dishes is their vegan sesame chicken, which is made with soy “meat.”
We don’t eat there very often anymore. A few years ago we moved to the next town, and don’t they don’t deliver to this area. It takes about 20 minutes to get there, and parking can be a little challenging once we are there. And then, of course, it takes 20 minutes to get back home.
Rather than deal with traffic and parking, I started making it at home. And rather than use vegan chicken, I like to experiment with other main ingredients to coat in sesame sauce. Tofu and tempeh are fun, but cauliflower has become a favorite.
In this recipe, I’ve battered and baked cauliflower rather than frying it. I like the way cauliflower bakes up in the oven, and baking it means less hands-on time. Once it’s battered and baked, the cauliflower doesn’t really look like cauliflower at all, so it’s a good dish to serve those who may be picky about eating their veggies.
Once the sauce and cauliflower have cooked, cauliflower is coated in the sauce, and dinner is ready! I like to serve my Sesame Cauliflower garnished with scallions more seeds over cooked brown rice, but it’s good on its own or as a side dish.
- First, the batter ingredients are whisked together.
- Then, the cauliflower is dipped in the batter.
- The cauliflower is then baked.
- While the cauliflower is baking, the sauce is whisked together and cooked.
- Once both the sauce and cauliflower have cooked, they’re carefully tossed together.
I really love sesame seeds. They have a delicious, nutty flavor, and they’re quite nutritious. I like to sprinkle them on everything from my morning avocado toast to my dinnertime stir-fry.
- They are a good source of fiber. 3 tablespoons of them contains 3.5 grams of fiber.
- Sesame seeds are also a good source of protein. You’ll find 5 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons of seeds.
- They are high in magnesium.
- Sesame seeds are a good source of B vitamins, especially thiamine, niacin, and B6.
- Unhulled sesame seeds are a good source of calcium. Since most of the calcium is found in the hull, hulled seeds don’t have too much of it.
- Sesame seeds are rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body’s cells from damage.
Because of the nutrients found in sesame seeds, they’re known to help fight inflammation, control blood sugar, lower blood pressure, improve bone health, and boost the immune system.
- 1 cup whole wheat or gluten-free flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 medium-sized head cauliflower cut into small florets
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- ½ cup tamari
- ½ cup vegetable stock or water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Pinch red pepper flakes optional
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds divided
- 1 scallion sliced
- 4 Cups cooked brown rice for serving optional
Preheat your oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt. Slowly add the non-dairy milk, whisking as you go.
Toss the cauliflower pieces in the mixture, making sure to coat them evenly.
Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet, making sure not to overcrowd the pieces. You may need to use two baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the pieces after 15 minutes.
While the cauliflower is baking, make the sauce. Place the toasted sesame oil, minced garlic, and minced ginger in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Cook for just a minute or two, or until it becomes fragrant. Whisk in the tamari, vegetable stock, rice vinegar, maple syrup, cornstarch, red pepper flakes (if using), and two tablespoons sesame seeds Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer until it thickens, about 2 or 3 minutes.
When the cauliflower is done baking, place it in a large bowl, drizzle it with the sauce, and gently mix to coat the cauliflower with the sauce.
Serve immediately over brown rice (if using), topped with the remaining sesame seeds and scallion slices.
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