Bang Bang Cauliflower

Dinner bowl with rice and cauliflower on a marble bench

Written by Liz

I’m Liz, I share recipes and easy substitutes to make plant-based living simple!

November 18, 2022

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Bangin’ Good Cauli! Healthy Bang Bang Cauliflower

This Bang Bang Cauliflower changed my opinion of cauliflower forever! I was never a big fan of cauliflower. I always thought of it as a bland and boring version of broccoli. This was because growing up, my parents would simply boil frozen cauliflower florets as a side dish. It was so bland! It wasn’t until as an adult that I tried roasting cauliflower and realised how flavoursome it could be. The texture softens and melts in the mouth, whilst still retaining some body. It also has a satisfing nutty and slightly sweet flavour. In addition, the texture of the florets is perfect for soaking up sauces and absorbing other flavours.

This dish is not only vegan and can be made gluten-free, but it’s also super quick and easy to make. Unlike other recipes for Bang Bang Cauliflower which call for batter and deep frying, this recipe has all the flavour without the extra calories and effort. You only need a few fresh ingredients and some pantry staples, and the end result is a delicious and nutritious whole food plant-based meal.

So if you’re looking for a new and exciting way to enjoy cauliflower, then I highly recommend giving Bang Bang Cauliflower a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Close up of a blue bowl on a marble bench filled with bang bang cauliflower and rice

What is Bang Bang Cauliflower?

Bang Bang Cauliflower is a plant-based version of Bang Bang Chicken, a popular dish in Chinese cooking. It is said that the name originally derives from the preparation of the chicken, as tenderising the meat would make a banging sound. Typically, the dish consists of small battered pieces of chicken which are fried and served as an appetiser, sometimes with a spicy mayonnaise based sauce. This vegan version is much healthier as not only is it whole-food plant based, but it doesn’t require any batter or frying, yet still has that satisfying sweet and spicy taste. It can be served as a side dish or appetiser on its own, or as a main meal over white rice.

What do you need to make Bang Bang Cauliflower?

The flavours of this Bang Bang Cauliflower recipe are wonderfully sweet and spicy. The garlic and chilli add a nice depth of flavour, whilst the maple syrup and soy sauce give it a delicious sweetness. The cauliflower itself is also roasted so it has a lovely nutty flavour which complements the sauce perfectly. Overall, it’s a really tasty and satisfying dish. To make this recipe, you will need a small head of cauliflower, garlic, spring onion and a handful of pantry items. Here is your shopping list:

  • Head of cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Red chilli
  • Raw cashews
  • Maple syrup
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Spring onion
  • Sesame seeds
  • White rice

A blue bowl filled with bang bang cauliflower and rice on a marble benchtop

Key Ingredients of Bang Bang Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. It is related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale. It is also a good source of dietary fibre, vitamins C and K, folate and potassium.

In addition, cauliflower is a great substitute for chicken as it has a similar texture and absorbs flavours well. It is also a good source of protein and nutrients, making it a healthy and nutritious choice.

In this Bang Bang Cauliflower recipe, the cauliflower is roasted so it has a lovely nutty flavour which complements the sauce perfectly. Additionally, its texture is perfect for soaking up sauces and absorbing other flavours.

Raw cashews

Cashews are a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, and for good reason – they add richness and satisfying texture to dishes. Although they are softer and less crunchy than other nuts, in this Bang Bang Cauliflower, the raw cashews add a richness to the overall dish. Their mild flavour also doesn’t compete with the primary flavours of chilli, garlic, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. In addition, cashews are an excellent source of healthy fats, and a source of protein, magnesium, potassium, zinc and vitamin B6.

Garlic

Garlic is a member of the onion family and has been used as both food and medicine for centuries. It is thought to have originated in central Asia, but it is now grown all over the world. Garlic is a good source of vitamin C, selenium, and manganese.

It is one of the most commonly used aromatics around the world, but especially so in Chinese cooking. It’s essential in this recipe as its pungent, savoury flavour is one of the base ingredients of the Bang Bang Cauliflower sauce.

Red Chilli

Red chillies are a type of chili pepper that is widely used in Chinese, Indian, Thai and Mexican cuisine. In addition, red chillies are a good source of vitamin A, C and E, as well as potassium, magnesium and manganese. They also contain capsaicin which is the compound responsible for their spicy heat.

Red chillies have many health benefits including being anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich and they can help to boost your metabolism. The red chilli is an essential aromatic ingredient in this recipe for Bang Bang Cauliflower as it gives the sauce it’s bangin’ spicy heat.

A blue bowl of bang bang cauliflower and rice on a marble bench

Substitutions for ingredients in Bang Bang Cauliflower

  • Maple syrup – if you don’t have maple syrup on hand, you can swap it for brown rice syrup, agave syrup or even honey (if you’re not vegan).
  • Rice wine vinegar – rice wine vinegar has a sweet flavour. If you need to swap it out, use regular white vinegar or apple cider vinegar muddled with 1/2 tbsp of sugar to add sweetness.
  • Soy sauce – can be swapped with tamari for a similar savoury flavour. For something less salty you could use coconut aminos. Keep in mind that coconut aminos are less savoury than soy sauce so this will affect the final flavour of the dish. Therefore, you may wish to season with extra salt. If you’d like to make this recipe gluten free, be sure to use gluten free soy sauce.

Nutrition

There are a total of 337 calories, 51 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein in this recipe.

Storage instructions for Bang Bang Cauliflower

This dish is perfect for a quick and tasty meal, or served as a side dish of part of a larger feast. The Bang Bang Cauliflower also reheats well in the microwave or oven, so you can enjoy it again later on. That said, for optimum flavour and texture it is best eaten fresh. You can store Bang Bang Cauliflower in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

A serving suggestion for bang bang cauliflower - a blue bowl on a marble bench filled with cauliflower and rice

FAQ

Q: Can I make this Bang Bang Cauliflower recipe gluten-free?

A: Yes, you can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce.

Q: Can I make Bang Bang Cauliflower without cashews?

A: Yes, you can make this recipe without cashews, however the texture of the dish overall will not be as interesting.

Conclusion

Whether you’re vegan, gluten-free or just looking for a healthy and delicious dish, this Bang Bang Cauliflower recipe is perfect for you! It’s easy to make and packed with flavour. I’d love to hear what you think of it, so please leave me a comment below. Enjoy!