Indulge guilt-free with this easy, baked General Tso Cauliflower! Packed with flavors from hoisin sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic – it’s your tasty twist on a classic.
Hey there! Let me introduce you to a game-changer in the kitchen: General Tso Cauliflower. It’s a total flavor bomb that’s baked to perfection and drenched in a sauce that’s the perfect blend of sweet, spicy, and tangy. We’re talking hoisin sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, and the dynamic duo of ginger and garlic. It’s a healthier twist on the classic General Tso’s chicken, and trust me, it’s just as addictive.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – cauliflower? Really? But hear me out. This isn’t your ordinary boiled cauliflower. We’re elevating this humble veggie to superstar status. The best part? It’s so easy to whip up. Whether you’re looking to impress at a dinner party or just want to spice up your weeknight dinner routine, this General Tso Cauliflower has got you covered. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to sneak some extra veggies into your diet without feeling like you’re missing out on flavor. If you’re a fan of cauliflower, I also make this Zaatar Roasted Cauliflower for Vegan Pitas. It’s a good thing that cauliflower is cheap because I go through zaatar and tahini like crazy.
Table of Contents
Reasons to Love Baked Cauliflower
- Traditional General Tso gives a vegetarian-friendly twist that maintains that beloved spicy-sweet flavor profile.
- Baked cauliflower is a healthy and nutritious choice that doesn’t compromise on taste.
- This dish is surprisingly easy to make and ideal for both quick weeknight dinners and special occasions.
- This dish is versatile and pairs well with a variety of sides. I made this to go alongside the Sichuan bok choy tofu stir fry I made, but you could also eat this as a main dish.
- Its vibrant and enticing appearance, with the golden-brown cauliflower coated in a glossy sauce, makes it a visually appealing dish.
- Cauliflower Florets: The star of the dish, providing a healthy and hearty base.
- Soy Sauce: Essential for creating the savory depth in both the cauliflower marinade and the sauce.
- Hoisin Sauce: Adds a sweet and slightly tangy touch to the sauce and enriches its complexity.
- Brown Sugar: Contributes to the sauce’s signature sweet note. It also balances the spicy and savory elements.
- Ginger and Garlic: These aromatic ingredients are key to infusing the sauce with its distinctive, bold flavors.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Olive Oil for Canola Oil: Use olive oil for a different fat option when cooking the cauliflower.
- Honey for Brown Sugar: Swap brown sugar with honey in the sauce for a lighter sweetener.
- Tamari for Soy Sauce: Use tamari instead of soy sauce for a gluten-free option.
- Maple Syrup for Hoisin Sauce: Maple syrup can replace hoisin sauce. It offers a similar sweetness and depth, though slightly less tangy.
- Arrowroot Powder for Corn Starch: Use arrowroot powder as a thickener for the sauce, ideal for those avoiding corn products.
How to Make General Tso Cauliflower
Step #1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius).
Step #2: Place the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl.
Step #3: Whisk together the canola oil, corn starch, and soy sauce in a small bowl.
Step #4: Pour this mixture over the cauliflower and toss well to coat.
Step #5: Transfer the cauliflower to a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Step #6: Turn the cauliflower once halfway through cooking, until tender and golden.
Step #7: While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the sauce. Whisk together all sauce ingredients, from the soy sauce to the corn starch, in a bowl.
Step #8: Heat a large skillet or wok over low heat. We recommend this affordable wok from Amazon.
Step #9: Add the chili peppers and toast for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Step #10: Pour in the sauce and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
Step #11: Add the baked cauliflower and toss well until coated. Then, turn off the heat and transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish.
Step #12: Garnish as desired. I like to serve this with some crisp greens added to the plate right before serving. It adds a little textural variety as well as color. This time I used fresh bok choy leaves, but you could also use Chinese cabbage or sliced scallions. I also add some toasted sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!
- Preparation of Cauliflower: Make sure the cauliflower florets are cut into even sizes. This helps to ensure they bake evenly.
- Tossing Cauliflower: When tossing the cauliflower florets in oil, cornstarch, and soy sauce, ensure they are coated well for the best flavor and texture. It’s important to distribute the ingredients evenly so every piece of cauliflower gets a good amount of seasoning.
- Baking the Cauliflower: Don’t overcrowd the baking sheet when roasting the cauliflower. Each piece should have enough space to bake properly. Overcrowding can lead to steaming instead of roasting, which would affect the texture.
- Making the Sauce: When preparing the sauce, be sure to whisk it thoroughly to avoid lumps of cornstarch. Also, make sure to cook it until it thickens to get the desired consistency.
- Adding the Cauliflower to the Sauce: Add the baked cauliflower to the sauce just before serving to prevent it from becoming soggy.
Frequently Asked Questions
While fresh cauliflower is recommended for this recipe, you can substitute with frozen cauliflower. However, the texture may be slightly different. Make sure to thaw and drain it well to avoid any excess moisture which might interfere with the baking process.
Yes, to make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free soy sauces and ensure your hoisin sauce is also gluten-free.
This dish can be served as a main dish with some steamed rice or noodles. It also pairs well with other stir-fried dishes or salads for a complete meal.
Absolutely! This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. However, make sure not to crowd the cauliflower florets on the baking sheet. If necessary, use additional baking sheets or bake in batches.
Yes, if you don’t have a wok, you can use a large skillet or frying pan.
Store leftover General Tso Cauliflower in an airtight container in the refrigerator; it will stay good for up to 3 days. Freezing is not recommended as it may affect the texture and flavor. Reheat it in the oven or microwave. For the oven, preheat to 350°F (175°C) and heat for 10-15 minutes; in the microwave, use a microwave-safe dish and heat for 1-2 minutes.
General Tso Cauliflower Recipe
- 4 cups fresh cauliflower florets
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 4 to 6 seeded and stemmed dried red chilies
- Garnish: fresh greens and toasted sesame seeds
For the sauce:
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 4 cloves garlic - grated
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius).
- Place the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together the canola oil, corn starch, and soy sauce in a small bowl.
- Pour this mixture over the cauliflower and toss well to coat.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Turn the cauliflower once halfway through cooking, until tender and golden.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the sauce. Whisk together all sauce ingredients, from the soy sauce to the corn starch, in a bowl.
- Heat a large skillet or wok over low heat.
- Add the chili peppers and toast for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Pour in the sauce and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
- Add the baked cauliflower and toss well until coated. Then, turn off the heat and transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish.
- Garnish as desired. I like to serve this with some crisp greens added to the plate right before serving. It adds a little textural variety as well as color. This time I used fresh bok choy leaves, but you could also use Chinese cabbage or sliced scallions. I also add some toasted sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!