This sticky sesame cauliflower is oven baked until crispy and then coated in a thick, sweet sesame sauce. It's an easy, plant-based version of a takeout favorite (sesame chicken)!
Ready in only 30 minutes, this sesame cauliflower is a quick and simple dinner idea that's ideal for when you're craving takeout at home. The sauce is thick and sticky, which perfectly coats all the nooks and crannies of the cauliflower pieces.
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe. The full recipe card and ingredient list can be found at the bottom of the page.
For the salad:
- Soy sauce
- Maple syrup
- Rice vinegar
- Sesame oil
- Sesame seeds
Here's how to make this recipe in 6 simple steps:
- Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- Prepare the cauliflower: remove any leaves from the cauliflower and chop into bite-sized florets. In a medium bowl, toss the cauliflower with the oil. Then toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- Bake the cauliflower: place the cauliflower in one layer on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip and bake for 5 - 10 minutes more, until the cauliflower is browned and cooked through.
- Make the sauce: as the cauliflower cooks, in a small bowl, stir together the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil and 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
- Simmer the sauce: add the sauce to the skillet. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 2 - 3 minutes, until thickened. Gently stir the cauliflower into the sauce until coated.
- Serve: serve warm, optionally over rice or noodles. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds before serving.
Here's some of the most popular substitutions and additions for this recipe:
- Cornstarch: arrowroot flour or tapioca flour can be used instead
- Fresh ginger: use ¼ teaspoon ground ginger if you prefer
- Soy sauce: substitute coconut aminos or Tamari sauce to make this recipe gluten-free
- Maple syrup: use honey or your preferred sweetener (coconut sugar, brown sugar, or agave will all work)
- Sriracha: add 1 tablespoon of Sriracha to your sauce for some added spice
Where to Buy Sesame Seeds: you'll want a generous amount of Sesame seeds to sprinkle on your cauliflower for this recipe (about 1 tablespoon). You can find white sesame seeds in the spice aisle or sometimes the bulk section of your grocery store. They can also be purchased online: White Sesame Seeds.
- In the fridge: cool and store in an airtight container for up to 2 - 3 days. Note: once refrigerated, the cauliflower will lose its crispy texture.
- In the freezer: it's not recommended to freeze this recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
To see if the cauliflower is done, pierce a thick piece with a fork. The fork should go all the way through without much resistance. The cauliflower will likely be dark brown in some places as it cooks.
First, trim off any leaves from the base of the cauliflower. Then chop the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, not including the stem of the cauliflower.
Your sauce should thicken as it simmers and bubbles for 2 - 3 minutes. To thicken it more, let it simmer and reduce for a couple more minutes or add an additional tablespoon of cornstarch.
More Takeout-Inspired Recipes
If you like this recipe, you’ll love these other plant-based, takeout-inspired favorites!