Thursday, January 23, 2014

Paleo Oven-Fried Sesame Cauliflower

This recipe is a labor of love for me that is still slightly unfinished business. I'm trying to recreate a dish that both the caveman and I adore; it's at a vegan restaurant in Fort Lauderdale that we honestly visit JUST for the fried cauliflower appetizer.

The restaurant describes it as crispy cauliflower with a sweet chili sauce and sesame seeds. Basically it's deep-fried goodness coated in a tangy and slightly zippy glaze. Sure it's vegan, but I know both the batter and sauce are loaded with gluten and leave me with a tummy ache (that's totally worth it the 1-2 times a year I indulge).

I'd love to be able to recreate both the taste and texture (WITHOUT the stomach ache) at home. In this attempt I actually got a pretty crisp result, but the sauce is a little off. Happily it's delicious, though, so still worthy of a share.

While I chose to exclusively oven-fry the cauliflower this time, for my next attempt I might flash fry it in a skillet with coconut oil, then transfer to the oven. The caveman's major lament about today's version is that it wasn't as crispy as the deep-fried bomb we both adore.

Paleo Oven-Fried Sesame Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
 salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Grease a baking sheet or cover it with tin foil.

Combine starch, milk and seasoning in a large bowl. Add cauliflower florets and toss to coat. Lay out in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning once.

While the cauliflower is baking, make the glaze.

1/2 cup coconut aminos
1 tbs. dark sesame oil
3 tbs. raw honey (heat up to thin if very thick)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbs. freshly grated ginger
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
2 minced green onions
1 tbs. sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a whisk until smooth.

Remove cauliflower from oven and toss with glaze. Garnish with some more minced green onions and sesame seeds before serving, if desired.


  1. when i saw this picture, i was sure it was general tso's chicken!! i can't believe it's cauliflower.

    1. I was happy with how it turned out, but will still be working on the sauce to try to recreate our beloved app!

  2. I'll be trying this tonight, although I don't have access to coconut aminos. Is there something I can use to replace that?

    1. Hi Narcisa! You can also use gluten-free soy sauce. It will not be technically 100% paleo, but I sometimes sub in GF soy/tamari because it's less expensive and easier to find than coconut aminos.