This is a bowl of BAKED orange cauliflower "chicken" that tastes like the real deal! It's sweet, it's tangy, it's a little spicy, and most importantly, it taste like ORANGE chicken.
Love your Chinese takeout orange chicken but can't get your hands on any at the moment? No worries! Try this healthy alternative - baked orange cauliflower "chicken"!
The sauce is perfectly balanced with just the right amount of sweetness, a hint of spice, and subtly perfumed with orange. And the most amazing part? The baked cauliflower florets tastes just like tender white meat chicken! Yes, pretty amazing, I know. 😉
Let's dive into some baked orange cauliflower "chicken" Q&As!
What does cauliflowers taste like?
It may look like a broccoli, but it's actually really mild in flavor.
When cauliflowers are raw, they should be firm and crunchy in texture and slightly bitter with a bit of sulfuric flavor. When the cauliflowers are cooked and cooked properly, they become tender in texture and slightly sweet but mostly neutral in flavor.
How do I know if my cauliflowers are done?
Cauliflower is done when you can easily poke it with a knife or fork and feels tender with barely a resistance. If the cauliflower is cooked for too long, you will get a lump of mush, which we do not want!
It is really important to cut the florets into similar sizes so that they can all cook evenly. For ours, we had cut our cauliflower into 1-½ inch pieces.
Do I have to use fresh oranges for orange cauliflower?
I highly recommend using fresh oranges because you need the zest. You might be surprised, but the iconic orange scent comes from the zest, not so much the juice. So if you don't use any zest, you won't get that orange fragrant like in regular Chinese orange sauce. But if you end up using only orange juice, let us know how it turned out!
Do I need to batter my cauliflower?
Yes and no. You don't need a batter, but because we are trying to mimic traditional Chinese takeout orange chicken, you want a thin layer of batter, which is what this wet batter will provide. With that said, I do recommend that you shake off as much of the wet batter and the seasoned flour as possible so you don't have a ball of dough.
Baked cauliflowers, before and after.
Do I need ketchup for the orange sauce?
Yes and no. Ketchup provides the sauce with an orange color that orange juice, unfortunately, does not give. If you're willing to compromise the color, you can substitute the ketchup with sugar and vinegar.
Yum, yum, yum! 😍 Enjoy!
Cook with love! ❤️
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Baked Orange Cauliflower "Chicken"
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch florets (about 2 lbs.)
Seasoned flour (optional):
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour (or as needed)
- ½ Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 oranges, juiced and 1 zested (about 1 C. juice and 1 tablespoon zest)
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 Tablespoon granulated sugar (or to your preference)
- 1½ Tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to your preference)
- ½ Tablespoon cornstarch (mixed with 1 TBPS cold water)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Prepare parchment lined sheet pan.
- If your making the seasoned flour, mix together flour, garlic powder, and salt in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, water, oil salt, garlic powder, and cornstarch until completely smooth.
- In small portions, dredge the cauliflower florets in the wet batter. Make sure to shake off excess batter.Place the cauliflowers into the seasoned flour and lightly coat the florets. Shake off excess flour. Place the battered florets onto the lined sheet pan. Repeat with remaining florets.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Flip each floret and bake for another 10 minutes or until cauliflower is lightly brown and tender. (The time may vary depending on your cauliflower floret size and oven).Once baked, you can shake off any excess dry flour from your cauliflower.
- While the cauliflower is baking, start on the orange sauce.In a bowl, mix together orange juice and zest, ketchup, sugar, and vinegar until combined. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan over medium high heat, add a small amount of oil and sauté garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 30 seconds.Add the orange juice mixture to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling turn it down to a simmer and stir in the cornstarch slurry*. The sauce should thicken once the sauce starts bubbling again. *Make sure to stir the cornstarch with water prior to adding into the sauce.*
- Toss the baked cauliflower florets with the orange sauce in a heat proof bowl. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!