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Crispy baked cauliflower bites

The best part about testing recipes: eating it all! It’s a hard job but someone has to do it, right? Luckily for me, I have a professional taste-tester husband who’s always happy to partake in my culinary creations. Not that I wouldn’t be able to eat everything, but it sure is nice having a second opinion, as well as a second set of hands to help with the clean-up. (Thank you, Kuba!)

My latest challenge has been developing my baked cauliflower recipe. Since we arrived in Zagreb, we’ve tested several versions of it, and all of them were tasty but none were quite what I wanted.

Just before I left the States for Scotland, I was obsessed with BBQ baked cauliflower. I’d properly batter and bread each and every floret with panko breadcrumbs, bake them at a high heat until golden and dunk each one into BBQ sauce before baking them some more. These cauliflower BBQ “wings” were delicious but the process was messy and time-consuming. I wanted a simpler method.

Anytime I need some recipe inspiration, I head on over to Forks Over Knives and have a look through their recipe archive. Forks Over Knives is my favourite recipe source because all of their recipes are plant-based, oil-free, and easy to make.

FOK’s crispy buffalo cauliflower bites recipe looked good to me, but just like with every recipe I find online, I tweaked the recipe to suit our needs. (Usually, this means omitting the oil or refined sugar, and/or making a few substitutions to make it vegan.)

I modified their recipe and am very pleased with the result. I used oat flour instead of brown rice flour and almond flour since we never have those stocked in our kitchen. I also like mixing in crushed cornflakes for an added crunch.

Baked cauliflower bites are like the healthy plant-based version of chicken nuggets or hot wings. We like eating them with plenty of rice or pasta and a rich marinara. I think they’d be delicious in a toasted baguette as well, or even stuffed inside a pitta or somun: a soft, chewy naan-like Croatian flatbread. (I’m hungry now just thinking about it.) We’re definitely trying that next time!

Crispy baked cauliflower bites

Cauliflower is ridiculously high in Vitamin C and low in calories. One large head of cauliflower is only around 210 calories, so I recommend using the largest cauliflower you can find for this recipe. Might as well eat it all. 😉

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Lisa Lansing

Ingredients

  • 1 giant head of cauliflower
  • 140 g tomato paste (small can) (~1/2 cup)
  • 177 ml water (enough to fill the small can) (3/4 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce (optional)
  • 90 g oat flour (3/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 90 g cornflakes, crushed (3 cups)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 220℃ (~425℉) and line two pans with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

  2. Cut cauliflower into florets. The smaller you cut them, the faster they'll bake. We like medium-sized pieces.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the tomato paste, water, and soy sauce. Add the oat flour, oregano, and black pepper. Mix together until smooth.

  4. Dump the florets into the bowl and mix well so each piece is evenly coated with the batter. Sprinkle in half of the crushed cornflakes, stir quickly to coat, and then repeat with the rest of the cornflakes. Arrange florets in a single layer on each pan. Spread them out and keep them separated so they don't touch.

  5. Bake for a total of 40-45 minutes or until the florets and browned and crispy. I recommend flipping the florets to ensure they bake evenly at the 30-minute mark, as well as rotating the pans (back to front and top to bottom) in the oven.

Recipe Notes

  • We used giant heads of cauliflower to test this recipe, so you'll probably have enough batter for two small or medium heads of cauliflower.
  • I used sugar-free cornflakes in this recipe. Most cornflakes are sweetened with refined sugar or malt syrup. I'm not sure how sweetened ones would taste. If you try it, let me know!
  • To crush the cornflakes: place them in a wide, deepish bowl and grind them with the bottom of a mug.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free cornflakes and a gluten-free soy sauce.

By Lisa

In Oct. 2014, I quit my job and started downsizing my life by selling and rehoming all my belongings. Even though I’ve moved around all my life, I officially left the States in Dec. 2015 and have been travelling abroad ever since. I hope to inspire you to simplify your life so you live with intention. I’m an avid writer, videography enthusiast, and a major foodie with a passion for sustainable living.