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Skip the takeout and make a lighter version at home. This Sticky Sesame Cauliflower is battered and baked to perfection, then smothered in a spicy, sticky-sweet sauce. It's heavenly!
Cauliflower has been trending for a couple of years now and I don't see it slowing down anytime soon. It's one of the most versatile vegetables and many people use it as a healthier replacement for pizza crust, rice, mashed potatoes, meat, creamy sauces and so much more.
So, if you've always been a fan of sesame chicken takeout, you're going to love this recipe. It's much lighter, but all the flavors are still there. It's baked instead of fried, and I used a minimal amount of high-sodium ingredients.
You won't be missing a thing!
How to make Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
This is fairly easy to put together, just toss the florets into the batter and bake until crisp, then make the sticky sauce and toss it all together. Here's a step-by-step visual:
- Whisk all of the dry ingredients until combined.
- Now pour in the milk and water and whisk until combined.
- Place a handful of cauliflower in the bowl and toss to coat. Lightly shake the excess batter off each piece and place it on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° F for 20 minutes and flip midway through.
- In a large pan over medium heat, add the tamari, agave, vinegar, sesame oil, sriracha, ginger, and garlic. Whisk and bring to a light simmer. Whisk the cornstarch and vegetable broth and pour into the pan. Simmer until it thickens up and becomes sticky. Add cauliflower and toss to coat. Top with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.
Tips and Tricks
This sesame cauliflower recipe is sure to be a success. Here are some helpful tips:
- Once the cauliflower comes out of the oven, the rest goes pretty fast so make sure your sauce is ready.
- Try to cut the cauliflower into similar-sized florets so they cook evenly.
- The sauce is just enough to coat everything well, but if you want it extra saucy, you can double the amounts.
- Measure your flour correctly by weighing it (125 g) or by using this spoon and level method: don't scoop it with a measuring cup directly from the flour container. Instead, scoop it out of the container with a spoon and then into a measuring cup, being careful not to tap or pack the cup. After filling, lightly sweep a butter knife across the top to remove the excess flour.
Sesame Cauliflower Serving Suggestions
Anything goes! I typically serve it over rice, but you can serve it over quinoa, couscous, or even cauliflower rice. You can eat it as is, or top it with toasted sesame seeds, sliced green onion, cilantro, or anything your taste buds crave. It's a perfect meal for lunch or dinner.
Can I make it gluten-free?
YES! Just swap out the all-purpose for a 1.1 gluten-free flour. Make sure to use a gluten-free tamari sauce too.
How can I make it soy-free?
Just swap out the tamari for Coconut Aminos. It's just as savory and delicious!
Can I make it oil-free?
Yes, you can omit the sesame oil in the sauce. Just add 1-2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds to the sauce. Make sure the vegetable broth is oil-free too.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know what you think by leaving a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and sharing your feedback in the comment section below. It would really make my day!
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Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
- 1 large head cauliflower , cut into bite-sized florets (about 1.5 lbs)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup non-dairy milk , , unsweetened
- ½ cup water , more if needed
- ¼ cup tamari , low sodium (sub soy sauce)
- ¼ cup agave nectar (sub maple syrup or light brown sugar)
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger , peeled and grated (sub frozen or paste)
- 3 cloves garlic , minced or crushed
- ½ cup vegetable broth , low sodium
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
For Serving (Optional)
- 3 green onions , sliced
- 2-3 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 3 cups cooked rice
- Large Pan
- Preheat oven to 425° F (220° C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Now pour in the milk and water and whisk to combine well. The batter should be thick, but still pourable. If it's too thick, add a few tablespoons of water.
- Place a handful of cauliflower in the bowl and toss to coat well. Lightly shake off excess batter and place on baking sheet, leaving room in between each piece. (to make it faster, I put a bunch of battered cauliflower on a cooling rack to drain with parchment paper underneath) Place in the oven for 20 minutes to lightly crisp. Flip over pieces at the halfway mark.
- To a large pan over medium heat, add the tamari, agave, vinegar, sesame oil, sriracha, ginger, and garlic. Whisk to combine well and bring to a slight simmer.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and vegetable broth and pour it into the pan. Let it simmer until it thickens up and becomes sticky. About 5 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning and turn down the heat if needed.
- Add the baked cauliflower and toss to coat well. Remove from heat and top with green onions and sesame seeds if preferred. Top on rice and serve!
- The listed sauce amount is enough to coat all the florets nicely. However, if you want it extra saucy, feel free to double the amount.
- Gluten-Free Option - swap out the all-purpose for a 1.1 gluten-free flour. Make sure to use a gluten-free tamari sauce too (most are gluten-free).