Are you craving Chinese food? Making General Tso cauliflower at home is easy and healthy! This simple General Tso cauliflower recipe is gluten-free, oil-free, and paired with broccoli and oil-free fried rice.
Unfortunately, eating out at a Chinese restaurant and finding a vegan-compliant Chinese restaurant is challenging. Even though I love Chinese food, I learned that making Chinese food at home is healthier than attempting to eat out. One of my favorite dishes before transition to a plant-based diet was General Tso chicken. So, I created a General Tso cauliflower recipe my family loves! Not only is this General Tso cauliflower easy to make, but it also requires very few ingredients.
Since my kids love fried rice, I decided to serve that and a heaping serving of roasted broccoli. I always try to get as many veggies on a plate as possible. So let's say there weren't any leftovers for today's lunch.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower is a great meat replacement. It's like a sponge when absorbing flavors and sauces.
- Flour: I used chickpea flour. I love how the texture. But any flour will work.
- Water: The water is used to create a pancake batter texture
- Garlic Powder: The garlic powder gives the flour some flavor.
- Onion Powder: I like onion powder with garlic powder because of its flavor profile.
- Paprika: This spice from red peppers has a subtle earthiness and sweet and peppery taste.
Recipe Ingredient Substitutions
- Any flour works well with this recipe. However, if using regular flour, you may need to add water to get the right texture to the flour-based batter.
- Smoked paprika gives the cauliflower a deeper smokey flavor.
- Unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk or aquafaba can be used instead of water or a creamier batter.
The flour-based batter for the General Tso Cauliflower resembles pancake batter and is easy to prepare.
Whisk the batter ingredients and set aside. Once smooth, dip each cauliflower floret in the batter.
Then, bake the dipped cauliflower in the oven while preparing the sauce. Or, air-fry the cauliflower for half the time at the same temperature indicated in the recipe.
With only 5 ingredients, the sauce takes minutes to make in a small saucepan. All you need is the following:
- Soy sauce or Tamari: Use Tamari as a gluten-free option. Or choose a low-salt version of soy sauce f you are watching your sodium intake.
- Maple syrup: The maple syrup sweetens the sauce naturally and supplies a thickening agent.
- Rice Vinegar: This sweet, light vinegar is perfectly paired with these ingredients.
- Chili Paste: Chili paste gives the sauce a mild spiciness.
- Arrow Root Powder: Arrowroot powder thickens the sauce as it heats in the pan.
Sauce Ingredient Substitutions
- Although I used arrowroot powder, corn starch works just as well.
- Often, I use date syrup as a replacement if I don't have maple syrup. Agave works as well.
- White wine vinegar has a similar taste to rice wine vinegar.
Within minutes, the five ingredients become thick, sticky, and perfect to coat the baked cauliflower.
Once the cauliflower is tossed in sauce, it cooks for another 10 minutes, which is how long it takes to make fried rice.
Earlier in the day, I used a rice cooker to prepare 4 cups of brown rice, to be ready when I was ready to make the fried rice. But I chilled the rice first because that is the secret to the perfect fried rice.
First, saute onion, garlic, and a frozen bag of peas and carrots in a wok. Then, add the cooked brown rice and a few other ingredients, and you have fried rice.
Next, I roasted some broccoli while the cauliflower cooked a second time in the sauce. Roasting broccoli is simple with my favorite crisper pan and only takes 20 minutes.
Now, serve this Chinese masterpiece to your hungry crew. I garnished it with sliced green onions and black sesame seeds.
It is sweet, sour, and spicy all at the same time.
Veggie chow mein, tofu chow mein, steamed rice, vegetable fried rice. Just make sure to request no egg or fish sauce.
There are only 357 calories in a serving of General Tso cauliflower.
- Prepare the flour batter and refrigerate until ready to use. Chilling may thicken the flour batter. If it's too thick, add more water and whisk before dipping.
- Choose the air frying option to cook the cauliflower faster.
- Use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper for baking or air fry without oil.
- Prepare the sauce in advance for an easy time-saver.
- When making fried rice, cook and refrigerate the rice for the best results. This is the key to avoiding soggy rice.
- You can use a bottle of General Tso sauce instead of making your own.
The next time you're craving Chinese food, give this general tso cauliflower recipe a try!
Other Suggested Asian Recipes
If you love this recipe, give us a 5-star review and a comment below. We would love to hear from you!
General Tso Cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower core removed, cut into florets
- 1 cup whole wheat or gluten-free flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
General Tso Sauce
- ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons soy sauce or Tamari
- 4 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Paste
- 2 teaspoons arrow root powder
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to add extra heat; skip if you don't like it hot
Rice and Broccoli (optional)
- 1 recipe No Oil-Fried Rice see Link, white, or jasmine rice (optional)
- 1 head broccoli core removed, cut into florets
- 1 bunch green onions sliced thin on an angle
- Black sesame seeds
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove the core from cauliflower and cut it into equal bite-sized florets.
- In a large bowl, add flour and the remaining ingredients.
- Whisk together.
- The batter should be similar to the pancake batter.
- Add more water if too thick (varies depending on the type of flour chosen)
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
- Dip each cauliflower floret individually, spacing them centimeters apart on the baking sheet.
- Cook for 20 minutes.
- While cauliflower bakes, prepare the sauce.
- Remove cauliflower from the oven.
- Place breaded and baked cauliflower florets into a bowl.
- Pour sauce onto the florets and toss gently.
- Place saucy florets back on the pan, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Air Fry cooking option
- Preheat the air-fryer to 375
- Follow the same directions above.
- Place a single layer of battered cauliflower in the base of the air fryer.
- Air fry for 12 minutes
- Remove the pieces from the air fryer
- Toss in the sauce and place the pieces back in the air-fryer
- Cook for another 3 minutes.
- I suggest cooking all the cauliflower in batches before tossing it into the sauce to cook again for a few minutes.
General Tso Sauce
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Whisk all ingredients together.
- Heat on medium-low.
- The sauce will thicken as it heats.
- Now prepare the rice.
- Prepare 1 recipe of oil-free fried rice.
- Place broccoli florets on a baking pan or Crisper Pan.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake in the same oven with cauliflower for 10 minutes.
- Place ½ cup rice in the middle of each bowl.
- Add General Tso Cauliflower and broccoli.
- Garnish with sliced scallions and black sesame seeds.
- Air-fry the cauliflower instead of baking it for a quicker version.
- I used chickpea flour, but any flour works. You may need to add additional water if using regular flour.
- Pre-heating the air-fryer helps to cook the cauliflower more evenly.
- Remember, when air-frying, if batch cooking, the first batch takes longer than the subsequent batches.
- As a shortcut, use your favorite General Tso bottled sauce.
- I like using a silicone baking mat as opposed to parchment paper, but wither works for oil-free cooking.
- Substitute corn starch if you don't have arrowroot powder.
- When making the sauce, the arrowroot powder thickens the sauce as it heats in the pan.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂
This was incredible! I highly recommend making this.
Hi Valerie, I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks for the feedback. It was great to hear from you!
This is a dish I serve to guests who aren't whole food plant based and it's a win every time! People are shocked at how good it is and has opened several conversations about why we eat the way we do. This is one definitely a keeper!
Hi Nancy, thank you so much for the feedback. I'm so glad your guests are open to trying new food. And I'm happy you enjoyed it! Let me know if you try any other recipes. I'd love to hear from you.
Can I use frozen cauliflower?
Hi Linda, yes, but you need to let it thaw completely first. Let me know if you enjoy the recipe.
These were terrific! I turn to your blog first when I’m planning dinner. Thank you!
Hi Lynn, I'm so glad you liked the General Tso Cauliflower. And thank you for the feedback. I really appreciate it.
I feel like I am missing something - where are the measurements for each of the ingredients? Your recipes look great!
Hi Susan, the measurements and ingredients are in the recipe card at the bottom of the recipe.
Can you use lemon juice instead of the vinegar?
Hi Karen, lemon juice is usually a great substitute for vinegar, but I have never used lemon juice instead of vinegar. I don't see why not. Let me know how it turns out 🙂
that seriously looks like chicken. General Tso's Chicken used to be my husband's favorite carryout meal. I'm going to have to try this. thanks for the recipe!
Hi Brenda, my husband loves this recipe. In fact, it was one of the recipes I made to help convince him go plant-based. I hope you enjoy it!