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sweet and sour cauliflower on a serving dish on top of a napkin next to toppings

Sweet and Sour Cauliflower

This easy recipe is a vegan twist on sweet and sour chicken. Turn a head of cauliflower into a satisfying main dish for dinner!
Course Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 531kcal


For the cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower chopped into florets
  • ¼ cup avocado oil for frying, plus 3 tablespoon for coating
  • cup cornstarch
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 scallions sliced, for serving
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds for serving
  • 2 cups cooked white rice for serving

For the sauce


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl, and toss with 3 tablespoons of avocado oil until lightly coated. Sprinkle with the cornstarch, and toss until coated. Season with salt if desired.
  • Heat ¼ cup avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower florets to the skillet, spread them out in an even layer, and cook, turning just once or twice, until they start to brown. This should take about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the heat, and decrease to medium if needed. Transfer the florets to the lined baking sheet, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, ketchup, maple syrup, soy sauce, and garlic. Bring to a boil. In a separate bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cold water. Add this to the saucepan, stir, and bring back to a boil. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. You may need to add another round of cornstarch and water. Remove from heat.
  • When the cauliflower is ready, toss in your desired amount of sauce. Serve over rice, and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. I recommend serving with a source of protein, like edamame or tofu, for a complete meal.


  • Sweet and sour sauce is tangy on its own and you will probably have too much, so I recommend serving with rice to help soak up the sauce. Feel free to decrease the ketchup or vinegar and/or increase the soy sauce and maple syrup to modify the flavor as you prefer.
  • This dish is best served right away. Leftovers will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, but they may get soggy.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 531kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 632mg | Potassium: 663mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 163IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 2mg