This Sweet & Spicy Orange Cauliflower Nuggets recipe is a riff of the much loved Panda Express Orange Chicken. To make this plant based version, I substituted cauliflower for the chicken. I also chose to cook the battered cauliflower in my air fryer but you can cook them in the oven if you don’t have an air fryer. You could even fry them in oil if you really want throw caution to the wind and indulge in a few extra calories!
Serve these delicious sweet & spicy orange cauliflower nuggets over rice with a steamed vegetable for a more substantial meal or just eat them as is. It’s all good!Print
Sweet & Spicy Orange Cauliflower Nuggets
For the Cauliflower:
1 small head cauliflower
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbls. cornstarch
1/2 cup unsweetened plant based milk (I used almond)
1/2 tsp. each salt, pepper, garlic powder
1 cup bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs
sesame seeds for garnish, if desired
For the Orange Sauce:
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ginger paste (could use fresh, minced ginger)
1/8 – 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 C. orange juice (if squeezing your own, add some zest)
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. white vinegar
1/4. C. soy sauce
2 Tbls. orange marmelade
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbls. cornstarch
2 Tbls. water
- Core cauliflower and cut up florets into small bite size pieces. Set aside
In bowl, whisk together flour, almond milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder to make a smooth batter.
Add breadcrumbs or panko to a separate bowl.
Add cauliflower to the batter mixture and stir to coat the pieces. Remove cauliflower pieces one at a time and shake off excess batter then roll in breadcrumbs to coat. Place each piece on baking sheet if baking in the oven or place in air fryer to cook.
- Bake in preheated 400° oven (on baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper) for about 20 minutes or in 400° air fryer about 15 minutes (turning pieces halfway)
Prepare Orange Sauce:
- In saucepan, combine sauce ingredients except cornstarch and water and bring to a boil. Reduce. heat to medium. Stir together cornstarch and water in small cup to make a slurry to thicken the sauce. Whisk slurry into sauce and combine well. Cook sauce for a few minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. More soy for saltiness, more sugar for sweetness, more chili flake for spice. Also, if sauce gets too thick just add a little water or more orange juice.
Add cauliflower pieces to sauce and stir to coat the pieces in the sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve with rice, if desired.