This spicy vegan Kung Pao cauliflower recipe is inspired by traditional Kung Pao chicken. Deliciously battered and baked cauliflower tossed in a spicy sauce for a better than takeout dish you’ll love.
This vegan Kung Pao cauliflower recipe is inspired by traditional Kung Pao chicken.
Kung Pao is a spicy, stir-fried Chinese dish traditionally made with chicken, peanut, and chili peppers.
We are switching out the chicken with cauliflower to make vegan and the results are just amazing.
The entire dish is made in just 30 minutes, which will have your belly filled with delicious food in a matter of minutes.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this ahead of time?
This dish is best served fresh out of the skillet. It only takes 30 minutes so it’s not a long process.
However, we also know that time is of the essence.
You could warm this up the next day, but after that it gets a bit soggy and we really don’t recommend it.
If you are trying to prep ahead, we would recommend that you make the sauce and place in an air tight container.
And also make the cauliflower through the baking process and then let cool completely and store in an air tight container.
Then, when you are ready to eat, you just have the skillet portion of the cooking process left, which should take 5-8 minutes after that.
Can I make this Top 8 Allergen Free?
While we do our best to make as many recipes as we can Top 8 Allergen Free, this one is a bit harder. Peanuts are a main component of this dish.
However, let’s work through this.
While is adds a nice flavor, the hoisin sauce can be omitted entirely.
And lastly the peanuts. They can be omitted, but then you basically just have a spicy pepper sauce and not really a Kung Pao cauliflower; however, it will still be delicious.
You could swap with another nut like cashews or walnuts if you are not allergic to those.
Can I use something besides cauliflower?
Absolutely. Some things you can alternatively try are:
For the mushrooms, we’d recommend using like an oyster mushroom as those hold up well to battering.
What can I serve with Kung Pao cauliflower?
We recommend serving with rice, however, you could also serve with just a side of steamed vegetables, quinoa, noodles, or lo mein.
Pin this vegan Kung Pao cauliflower for later:
Vegan Kung Pao Cauliflower
- 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 tbsp cornstarch, divided (can be subbed with arrowroot powder)
- 2 tbsp canned coconut milk cream (just the fatty part on top) – our favorite is Target brand
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, divided
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar (can subbed with white vinegar if needed)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped (more for serving)
- 3 cups white or brown rice, cooked according to package
- If you are making rice, start that and cook according to instructions. *Tip: for more flavor toast rice first and then cook in vegetable stock vs water.
- Turn your oven onto broil. Place a silicone baking liner or parchment paper onto a baking sheet.
- Add cauliflower pieces to a large bowl.
- Sprinkle 1 tbsp of cornstarch across the cauliflower and toss to combine.
- Add in the coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce. Toss to combine. Ensuring that all the cauliflower has been coated.
- In a single layer, add the cauliflower to the baking sheet and place until the broiler for 4-5 minutes, or until a nice char is on the edges of the cauliflower.
- Turn oven to 425°F (218°C) and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Cauliflower should be tender.
- While that is baking, in a small bowl add remaining cornstarch and water. Whisk together well. In the same bowl, add the remaining soy sauce, hoisin sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Whisk together again.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the sesame oil.
- Once hot, add the garlic, ginger, and green onions, and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning.
- Add in the sauce mixture and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
- Add the baked cauliflower and peanuts. Stir together until all the cauliflower has been coated.
- Let cook for an additional 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Remove from the heat and serve over rice.
- Top with more chopped peanuts, green onions, sesame seeds or red pepper flakes if desired.
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