This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.
This vegan sweet and sour cauliflower recipe is healthy, plant based, baked and also so easy to make! In addition, it's gluten free, simple, crispy, great as a main dish or a side dish.
It is a perfect alternative to sweet and sour chicken for vegans and it's not fried just like my sweet and sour chickpeas. They are baked and then coated with homemade sweet and sour sauce to give so much flavor.
The best part is that you only need a few ingredients to make this vegetarian sweet and sour cauliflower. Serve it with some white or brown rice and you got yourself a great dinner and it's also better than take out!
But, before we jump into the recipe, let's talk about how you can customize it and learn some tips.
How to Make Vegan Sweet and Sour Cauliflower
If you don't want to end up with little pieces, you should use your hands to break the cauliflower into bite-size pieces instead of cutting it with a knife. It might take some work to get it going but once the first piece is pulled apart, it gets easier.
We will be using corn starch to coat the florets before baking and also add some in the sauce for thickening. It will help make it crispy and it's also gluten free.
Avocado Oil (sub for olive oil)
We will coat the florets in oil before coating them with corn starch so it can stick. I love using avocado oil because it has a high smoke point but you can sub for olive oil.
Maple syrup gives sweetness to the sauce but you can use another sweetener if you like such as brown sugar. You can also adjust the amount to your taste.
To give the sticky sauce a little sweetness and also depth, we will use some ketchup. It also adds great deep color to the sauce which is a bonus!
Tamari (sub for low sodium Soy sauce) and Apple Cider Vinegar
To keep it gluten-free, we will be using tamari but you can use soy sauce if you like. Apple cider vinegar gives a little tangy and sour flavor so it works great in the sauce.
Adding some flavor to the sauce is important so we will be using lots of garlic. You can also adjust and add more if you like.
Toasted Sesame Oil
Toasted sesame oil gives so much flavor to this dish. You can use regular sesame oil but I think toasted kind has so much more flavor.
How to Make vegan sweet and sour chicken step by step
- First, preheat the oven to 425 F and then break the cauliflower with your hands into bite-size florets. (You can cut it with a knife if needed but you might end up with smaller pieces). And then add the florets in a large bowl, drizzle the avocado oil and mix well. Add the cornstarch to the florets and combine until all the pieces coated evenly.
- You can transfer the florets onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet but let any excess batter drip off before placing on the baking sheet. Also, make sure they have space between them so they crisp up instead of steaming. Bake them at 425 F for about 20 to 25 minutes flipping halfway through.
- In the meantime, you can add the 1 tbsp corn starch and 2 tbsp water for the sauce in a medium bowl and then mix it until combined.
- Now, add the rest of the sweet and sour sauce ingredients into the bowl with the cornstarch and water mixture and mix well.
- About 10 minutes before the cauliflower is baked, start cooking the sauce in a large saucepan until it gets thick. And then add the baked cauliflower into the sticky sweet and sour sauce and mix well. Garnish with green onions.
- Don't overcrowd the pan because they will not get crispy. You can also use an air fryer for really crispy results!
- While the cauliflower is baking, check frequently to make sure they are not burning.
- Adjust to taste and add more sweetness if you like.
How to store and reheat Vegan Sweet and sour cauliflower
These sweet and sour cauliflower wings are best when eaten fresh out of the oven because if they wait, they will get soggy. If you end up with leftovers though (we never do!), you can reheat them on the stovetop a few minutes.
How to Serve it
- Serve it with a side of white or brown rice.
- Garnish with sliced green onions.
- You can also serve it as a side to noodle dishes like garlic sesame noodles or Lo mein.
This baked sweet and sour cauliflower is very easy and satisfying. It is also:
- Gluten free
- Healthy & Filling
- Better than take out
- Crowd pleaser
- Also so delicious!
More healthy plant based recipes to try
- PAD THAI (EASY & HEALTHY)
- EASY FALAFEL BOWL (GLUTEN-FREE)
- THAI PEANUT NOODLES
- PASTA SALAD (EASY & QUICK)
- LENTIL BOLOGNESE
- BLACK BEAN QUINOA BURGER
So, did you make this? I’d love for you to leave a comment and rate the recipe. You can also share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest and tag me on Instagram using @avocadocentric or #avocadocentric! xo, SelinPrint
This vegan sweet and sour cauliflower recipe is healthy, plant based, baked and so easy to make! It's gluten free, simple, crispy, great as a main dish or a side dish.
- 1 head cauliflower
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 4 tbsp avocado oil (sub for olive oil)
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp tamari (sub for soy sauce)
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 2 tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Break the cauliflower with your hands into bite-size florets. (You can cut it with a knife if needed but you might end up with smaller pieces)
- In a large bowl, add the cauliflower florets and drizzle the 4 tbsp avocado oil, mix well. Add the ¼ cup cornstarch to the florets and combine until all the pieces coated evenly.
- Transfer the cauliflower florets onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Let any excess batter drip off before placing on the baking sheet and leave space between florets. Bake them at 425F for about 20 to 25 minutes flipping halfway through.
- In the meantime, make the sauce by adding 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp water in a small bowl and then mix it until combined. Add the rest of the sweet and sour sauce ingredients (toasted sesame oil, minced garlic, apple cider vinegar, tamari, ketchup, maple syrup) into the bowl with the cornstarch and water mixture and mix well.
- About 10 minutes before the cauliflower is baked, start cooking the sauce in a large saucepan on medium heat until the sauce is thick. Keep stirring. Add the baked cauliflower into the sweet and sour sauce and mix well. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.
Don't overcrowd the pan. Use an air fryer for really crispy results!
While the cauliflower is baking, check frequently to make sure they are not burning.
Adjust to taste and add more sweetness if you like.
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 350
- Sugar: 24.6g
- Sodium: 554.1mg
- Fat: 18.1g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 44.7g
- Fiber: 4.4g
- Protein: 5.1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: sweet and sour cauliflower, vegan sweet and sour chicken, baked sweet and sour cauliflower