Bang bang cauliflower is the perfect party appetizer. It’s crispy, spicy, and addictive finger food. Made with little more than baked cauliflower florets, chili sauce, and garnish, this easy recipe will be an instant hit.
Bang bang cauliflower bites is a classic appetizer, made with roasted cauliflower florets coated in bang bang sauce and Panko breadcrumbs. It carries a distinctly tangy flavor with just enough heat to make this party food addictive.
Vegetarian but easy to adapt to be vegan-friendly, this easy side dish will sway your most die-hard meat fans. It’s the perfect meat-free alternative to classic chicken wings, but packs in just as much flavor. Let’s get into it.
You will need a fresh cauliflower head with the leaves and stem removed, chopped up into bite-sized florets.
This recipe uses all-purpose flour, but gluten-free flours also work well. Brown rice flour, chickpea flour, and coconut flour are all excellent alternatives.
These are great for forming a crispy, flavorful crust. These breadcrumbs are different from regular breadcrumbs in that they are lighter and much flakier. As such, the result will also be just as crispy and golden. It is also the healthier option because it doesn’t absorb as much oil. So even though you will be frying the cauliflower, it doesn’t mean that you need to carry the oil into your plate.
Panko breadcrumbs are often used to coat food meant for deep frying, but you can also use them for thickening soups, binding, or topping dishes that go into the oven, such as casseroles. This way, you get an impressive golden finish.
Sweet Chili Sauce
Sweet chili sauce is a great way to get spicy and sweet dipping sauce. The two flavors balance each other well. This, along with any other hot sauce of your choice, can make the sauce spicy enough. You can also use sriracha.
This will make the sauce thick and creamy.
You can either use regular milk or almond milk
Look for vegan mayonnaise if you are planning to go all the way vegan.
Often found in Asian cooking, rice vinegar (also known as rice wine vinegar) adds a subtly sweet flavor to the sauce. It’s also far less acidic than other vinegar, meaning it won’t overpower the hot sauce of mayonnaise.
Don’t have any? White wine vinegar is a good rice vinegar substitute, although it does carry more acidity so I recommend using less.
Seasoning can be as basic as salt and pepper, or you can get more complex depending on your personal preference. You can also add garlic powder and onion powder. You can also add sesame seeds for extra crunch and also because they look fantastic.
It is essential to make sure that you coat the cauliflower florets evenly. Make sure the batter is thick enough to cover the florets. Also, when you coat in the panko breadcrumbs, do so, one floret at a time, so that each piece is sufficiently covered. For an even more golden crust, you can pan-fry the cauliflower.
Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet to avoid leaving any part of the florets stuck to the tray. Make sure to remove the cauliflower soon after it is done. If you let it sit for too long, it may lose its crispiness. As such, to avoid wasting time and prepare the sauce ahead of time so that you can coat the florets quickly. Bake the cauliflower at least 425˚F. The point is to make sure that the oven is hot enough. You can roast for about 10 to 15 minutes.
If you want to make sure that your dish is not just vegetarian but vegan, you will need to cross-check all the ingredients. You can also make sure that your ingredients have no gluten and that they are grain-free. Choosing to use almond flour and almond milk is a great alternative.
The smaller the florets are, the faster and better they will cook.
You can serve the cauliflower florets with the dipping sauce on the side. It is often served as a side dish. You can also serve it as an appetizer. Your other option would be to eat it along with noodles as a main meal. You can also use bang bang cauliflower to stuff tacos. You can also serve it with a fresh green salad.
Bang Bang Cauliflower
Bang Bang Sauce
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ½ cup almond milk
- coriander chopped
- parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to between 425°F (220°C)
- In a medium-size bowl, combine all sauce ingredients
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Apply a thin layer of olive oil or cooking spray.
- Cut and discard the stem of the cauliflower. Chop head into florets or break apart with fingers.
- Dip each floret into the bang bang sauce and then dip in Panko breadcrumbs. Place each covered floret on the lined baking tray.
- Bake the cauliflower for 20 minutes, turning the florets after 10 minutes. Cook until golden brown and tender.
- Pour remaining bang bang sauce over the cauliflower. Gently toss so florets are evenly coated.
Can I Fry This Bang Bang Cauliflower in an Air Fryer?
Yes, you can. Cauliflower is better when it is fried in less oil. This way, it is golden brown but not dipped in too much fat. An air fryer can give you the same result as when you would shallow fry the cauliflower.
Can I Make It Without Breadcrumbs?
Breadcrumbs will add extra crispiness, but they are not necessary. You can use other substitutes such as cornstarch, tapioca flour, coconut flour, and a blend of spices.