This Bang Bang cauliflower is the vegan snack you've been waiting for! Cauliflower, which we all know absorbs flavors so well, is coated in a tempura like batter, baked and tossed in a spicy, sweet Bang Bang sauce.
What Is Bang Bang Cauliflower?
Bang Bang cauliflower is the vegan answer to the popular Chinese dish, Bang Bang Chicken. In fact the name Bang Bang is derived from the method in which chicken is tenderized by banging it with a hammer or stick.
Bang Bang sauce is a sweet, spicy sauce that it typically made with mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce and hot sauce.
This recipe requires coating the cauliflower in a tempura like batter, rolling in panko breadcrumbs and baking it until it's tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. The crispy baked cauliflower is then coated in Bang Bang sauce and returned to the oven to absorb all the lovely flavors.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower is certainly having it's moment, isn't it? And with good reason, it has a nice dense texture, a neutral taste and can easily absorb flavors around it.
- Olive Oil: We're using a small amount to coat the cauliflower for an extra crispy effect.
- Soy Milk: I used soy milk because it has the highest protein content of all the plant based milks, but you can use any plant based milk you prefer.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Plant based milk plus apple cider vinegar equals vegan buttermilk. Yum!
- Flour: I'm using all-purpose flour in this recipe, but if you want your bang bang cauliflower to be gluten free, just substitute your favorite gluten free flour. You will also need to omit the panko breadcrumbs.
- Garlic Powder: Garlic powder can stand up to high heat, whereas raw garlic turns bitter, so it makes the perfect addition to sauces and rubs that need to withstand baking.
- Onion Powder: Onion powder just has in irreplaceable, funky taste that adds so much to the flavor of this recipe.
- Paprika: Choose smoked paprika for a nice, smoky note.
- Salt: Salt makes all the flavors shine.
- Sweet Chili Sauce: Sweet, savory, tangy and spicy, sweet chili sauce is the backbone of bang bang sauce.
- Sriracha Sauce: Really you can use any hot sauce you like. You could even use my homemade Sambal Oelek recipe.
- Lime Juice: Lime juice adds a nice, bright acidic taste that really freshens up this sauce.
How To Make Bang Bang Cauliflower
- Preheat your oven to 425 C (220 F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make your vegan buttermilk by combining your plant based milk with the apple cider vinegar. Set it aside for 5-10 minutes. The milk will split (or curdle). This is normal!
- Now prepare your dredging station by putting your flour and spices in one shallow bowl, and your panko breadcrumbs in another.
- Put your cauliflower in a mixing bowl and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Massage the olive oil in with your hands, ensuring that the cauliflower is totally covered in the oil.
- Dredge your cauliflower in the flour and seasoning mixture, and set the florets aside on a plate.
- Pour your vegan buttermilk into the remaining flour and stir until a thick batter forms. If the batter is too thick, you can add a bit more milk.
- Dredge you cauliflower in the batter, followed by the panko breadcrumbs.
- Set each cauliflower floret on the baking tray, giving each piece it's own separate space. If the cauliflower florets are too close to each other they tend to steam each other, meaning they won't get as crispy.
- Bake your cauliflower for 20 minutes, flipping once at the halfway point.
- While your cauliflower is baking, begin preparing your Bang Bang sauce by combining the vegan mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, hot sauce and lime juice in a bowl.
- Dredge your freshly baked cauliflower piece by piece in the Bang Bang sauce and transfer them back to the baking tray.
- When all of the pieces have been coated in the sauce, return the baking tray to the oven to bake for a further 5 minutes. This will allow the sauce to be absorbed by the crispy coating without it getting soggy.
Did You Make This Recipe?
Frequently Asked Questions About This Recipe
I like to serve it all on it's own. Or, you could serve it with noodles or rice. Alternatively, you could use it as a delicious soft taco filling.
Yes, you can! Substitute the all-purpose flour for your favorite gluten free brand, and omit the panko breadcrumbs.
Absolutely! Bake them at the same temperature, but for only 15 minutes. Be sure to flip them at the hallway point. Also, don't forget to spray the rack in your air fry with a bit of cooking oil.
I recommend eating it immediately. It tends to get soggy if stored in the fridge.
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Bang Bang Cauliflower
- 1 cup soy milk or other plant based milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1½ cups all purpose flour or gluten free blend
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
For The Bang Bang Sauce
- ½ cup vegan mayo
- ¼ cup sweet chili sauce
- 3 tablespoons sambal oelek or Sriracha sauce
- 1 lime juiced
- Preheat the oven to 425°C (220° F). Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Combine the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and salt in a large bowl. Put your panko breadcrumbs in a separate shallow bowl.
- Put the cauliflower in a bowl and drizzle the olive oil over the florets. Mix until all the florets are coated in olive oil.
- Dredge the cauliflower florets in the flour mixture and set aside on a plate.
- Add the soy milk/apple cider vinegar mix to the bowl with the remaining flour. Stir until a batter forms. If the batter is too thick, add a bit more milk.
- Dredge cauliflower in batter until evenly coated.
- Dredge in panko breadcrumbs. Transfer to the baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning them over at the half way point.
- Combine the vegan mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, and hot sauce in a small bowl.
- Dredge your baked cauliflower florets in the Bang Bang sauce one piece at a time, and transfer back to the baking tray, ensuring that the florets are evenly spread out on the baking tray. Return the tray to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes.