Kung Pao Cauliflower
Cauliflower stands in for chicken in this traditional spicy Chinese dish that packs a serious punch of flavor!
Is there anything cauliflower can’t do? In this kung pao recipe, we make cauliflower the star of this vegetarian-friendly stir fry. It roasts to crispy perfection while you make the sauce and start sautéing the other veggies, so you can maximize your time.
Why use cauliflower? It’s got quite an impressive nutritional rap sheet. It’s full of vitamins like fiber and choline, which most people don’t get enough of. Plus, it might help aid in weight loss. While you could certainly sub in chicken if you wanted to, it doesn’t hurt to make a veggie-focused dinner every now and again – especially one as tasty as this!
To keep this recipe Paleo, we swapped the peanuts with cashews. Cashews are a good source of magnesium, and add the same nutty flavor we all love from a good kung pao. You can add them in chopped raw, or toast them in the hot oven for three to five minutes. It’ll add a nice roasted component to the final dish.
Start by tossing cauliflower florets in a sticky sweet sauce of honey, avocado oil and vegetable broth. You can use chicken broth here if you like, but it’s a great excuse to use this homemade vegetable broth recipe – and to keep the recipe vegetarian-friendly. Spread the cauliflower onto a baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, or until browned and tender.
Meanwhile, use your blender to make a sweet and tangy sauce with more broth, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and pitted dates. Set the sauce into a small pan and set over medium heat to allow it to get thick and syrupy.
Now it’s time to stir fry! Use a wok or large skillet to heat a bit of oil until shimmering, then add sliced peppers and onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Once the veggies have softened, add garlic, ginger, red chilies, and peppercorns. Cook for another minute or two until the veffies are fragrant. Note: If you don’t want your kung pao cauliflower to be too spicy, skip the chilies.
To bring it all together, toss the roasted cauliflower into the wok and drizzle the warm sauce all over. Mix in the scallions and toasted cashews, and stir gently. Cook another minutes or so to warm the kung pao through and to marry the flavors.
Serve hot, garnished with more scallions and cashews!
- Recipe by: Jess Case
- Serves: 4
- Meal: Dinner
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
1 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp avocado oil, divided
4 tbsp vegetable broth, divided
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Medjool dates, pitted
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp small red chiles, chopped
1 tsp peppercorns
1/3 cups scallions, chopped (plus more for garnish)
1/4 cups cashews, chopped (plus more for garnish)
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a small bowl whisk the honey, with one tablespoon of the avocado oil and one tablespoon of the vegetable broth. Add the cauliflower and gently toss until evenly coated. Spread evenly onto a large baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes, flipping halfway.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: In a blender, combine the remaining three tablespoons of the veggie broth, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and dates until smooth. Pour the sauce into a small saucepan and set over medium heat until thick, about 3 minutes.
Next, prep the veggies: In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining tablespoon of avocado oil over medium heat. Add the sliced peppers and onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, red chilies, and peppercorns. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Transfer the roasted cauliflower to the pan and add the scallions and cashews. Pour the sauce over the top and stir gently to combine. Cook another 2 minutes.
Serve hot, garnished with more scallions and cashews if you wish!