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Crispy Baked Orange Cauliflower Bites

These crispy, sticky and sweet cauliflower bites are better than take-out!

Crispy Baked Orange Cauliflower Bites

Crispy Baked Orange Cauliflower Bites are a delicous healthier version of orange chicken. They’re ultra crispy and smothered in a sticky sweet orange sauce and topped with sesame seeds. Super easy to make in under 45 minutes. All vegan ingredients and an easy gluten-free option.

Crispy Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower Bites

These bites are inspired by my recipe for Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower + Quinoa. I know that many of you LOVE cauliflower bites on their own. So I had to make a recipe for crispy orange cauliflower bites again and better than before!

Let’s take these Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites for instance. They are a guaranteed showstopper! They have a nice kick of spice and a hint of sweetness from the BBQ sauce  and honey. These cauliflower bites are the perfect appetizer, snack, or addition to any entree. Vegan option available.

Crispy Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower Bites

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

These cauliflower bites have a lot to love! 

  • They’re super easy to make.
  • Extra crispy on the outside + soft on the inside.
  • They are completely dairy-free and vegan.
  • Super flavorful.
  • A nice balance of sweet + a pinch of spicy.
  • Perfect Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter vibes—–any season!
  • Bursting with orange flavor!
  • Great as an appetizer or side.

Crispy Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower Bites

Ingredients for Baked Orange Cauliflower Bites

This recipe is super easy to make. Here’s what you need:

  • Cauliflower. Be sure to cut your head of cauliflower into evenly sized florets so they cook at the same time. 
  • Breadcrumbs. You can use panko or gluten-free breadcrumbs if necessary. 
  • Flour. I use Bob’s Red Mill organic all-purpose. 
  • Seasonings. The breading for the cauliflower is flavored with garlic powder, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, parsley, salt and pepper.

Sticky Orange Sauce

The flavor in these baked cauliflower bites is all from the sweet and savory sauce. It’s made with:

  • Orange juice and zest. Use the fresh stuff for the best flavor!
  • Brown sugar. I use organic to make sure it’s vegan-friendly. 
  • White wine. You can use any kind of wine you like. 
  • Soy sauce. I use low-sodium. You can also use tamari for gluten-free. 
  • Garlic. I prefer freshly pressed, but you could also use a bit of garlic powder if you prefer 
  • Ginger. For a different kind of spice. 
  • Hot sauce. Or you can use sriracha. 
  • Arrowroot starch. This keeps things dry and sticky. Plus it’s gluten-free. 

Crispy Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower Bites

Cauliflower Bites FAQs

How Do You Thicken the Sauce?

It’s important to thicken your orange sauce so it gets nice and sticky.  Personally, I love using arrowroot starch. However, if you don’t have this on hand, using other subs like all-purpose flour, regular cornstarch, or tapioca flour work just fine. Just be sure to always stir your thickener with warm water until it becomes a ‘milky’ liquid before adding it to the sauce.

Can You Add More Orange Flavor to Sauce?

Absolutely! If you’re looking for an extreme burst of orange flavor, feel free to add orange peels into the sauce while it simmers. The fragrance and flavor of the orange peels will add more flavor. Just remove them before tossing in your bites if you don’t want them to stay in.

How Do You Store Leftovers?

Honestly, these little bites are best consumed the same day. However, you can always store them in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Simply reheat in the oven once ready to serve for best results.

How Do You Get Them to Be So Crispy?

OK, so this is often the #1 question that I get asked. My bites are crispy because of the flour batter that they are dipped in first followed by the breadcrumbs. Be sure to always shake off excess batter and use parchment paper on your baking sheet. Once they are gently placed on your baking sheet, spray them lightly with oil spray before placing them in the oven and let them golden. They’ll crisp up very nicely! And finally, for EXTRA crispness, add ground corn flakes to breadcrumbs.

Do I Have to Use Brown Sugar?

Nope. It’s easy to substitute brown sugar. For instance, try pure maple syrup. Although brown sugar caramelizes nicely, adding maple syrup will help with the stickiness. 

Crispy Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower Bites

How to Serve Orange Cauliflower Bites

You can serve these sticky baked cauliflower bites as an appetizer for a party. Or toss them onto a salad or over pasta. They also make a great pizza topping! Or make a grain bowl with quinoa or rice, tofu or another protein, and cauliflower bites. You really can’t go wrong!

Crispy Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower Bites

More Meatless Recipes with Cauliflower

These Vegan Mango Habanero Cauliflower Bites are an awesome balance between sweet and spicy, which work perfectly together! At first glance, these bites truly remind you of boneless chicken (and trust me, they taste just as good, if not better!), however, they aren’t! Just know that your taste buds won’t be able to tell the difference either! 

This Sweet + Spicy Cauliflower Bites + Maple Pecan Waffles recipe is EVERYTHING! This dish is anything but short of flavor, the waffles are fluffy, thick, and airy and the cauliflower bites comes bursting with sweet + spicy flavors from the honey-hot sauce mixture. Super easy to make and completely dairy-free.

This Buffalo Cauliflower Kale Grilled Pizza is absolutely the most perfect family-friendly recipe for the summer! It comes topped with buffalo sauce, mozzarella cheese, kale, and buffalo cauliflower bites and comes based with a crispy, fluffy gluten-free GRILLED crust. Yes, I said Grilled! It’s just that simple, yet it’s bursting with savoriness and flavor. The best weeknight meal and vegetarian option for everyone.

This Easy Vegan Broccoli Alfredo Pasta is the perfect easy weekday meal or perhaps something simple for a laid-back weekend. Based with a creamy, flavorful Alfredo sauce made from cauliflower and cashews; and tossed with delicious broccoli. Completely dairy-free and vegan. Made in just 25 minutes!

If you make this recipe for Crispy Baked Orange Cauliflower Bites, be sure to tag me on Instagram @orchidsandsweettea!

Crispy Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower Bites

Crispy Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower Bites

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Serves: 6 servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 head of Cauliflower, chopped in medium chunks
  • 2 cups bread crumbs, GF if needed! (See Notes!)
  • 1 cup fresh water
  • 3/4 cup organic all-purpose flour  (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt + black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

Sticky Orange Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsps fresh water
  • 1 cup juice of an orange  (That's about 2 large oranges!)
  • 3 Tbsps organic brown sugar (Vegan-approved!; I use Sugar in the Raw; See Notes!)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsps white cooking wine
  • 2 Tbsps soy sauce, low sodium
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (See Notes!)
  • 2 tsps orange zest (See Notes!)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp sriracha or hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch + 3 Tbsps WARM water (See Notes!)

Other:

  • sesame seeds
  • chopped green onions

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. **NOTE: Doing this step is a MUST to prevent sticking.**
  • In a medium bowl, add water, flour, sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, dried parsley, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder and whisk together until fully combined. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, add bread crumbs and set aside also. 
  • Now, dip each cauliflower into batter (shaking off any excess) and then toss into bread crumbs. Then lay each cauliflower side by side on the baking sheet (about an inch apart). Repeat until all cauliflower are coated.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and “crunchy” looking. 

To Make Orange Sauce:

  • In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, add all ingredients (except for the arrowroot starch) and bring to a slight boil whisking everything together.
  • Once sauce thickens a bit, reduce heat and add arrowroot starch mixture, whisking it in until sauce begins to thicken more. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • When the cauliflower bites are done, remove them from the oven and carefully add them into the sauce immediately. Toss them carefully until fully coated and sauce is super sticky and stuck onto the bites. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • To serve, add cauliflower bites to a salad, atop pasta, as a topping on pizza, with quinoa or rice, or by themselves with dipping sauce.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Best if consumed within the same day. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in oven when ready to serve.
  • HOMEMADE BREADCRUMBS: To make your own breadcrumbs, see my recipe in the notes.
  • BROWN SUAGR: Instead of brown sugar, you can always use maple syrup or agave as a sweetener.
  • GARLIC: Instead of garlic cloves, you can use garlic powder as well. Just use 1 tsp of garlic powder.
  • ARROWROOT: If you don’t have arrowroot starch, feel free to substitute with regular starch or all-purpose flour, which both act as a thickening agent.
  • EXTRA ORANGE FLAVOR:For a bolder flavor, you can add orange peels to sauce when bringing everything to a boil. Keep it in the sauce and remove them after tossing in cauliflower bites.
 

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Crispy Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower Bites.

ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA

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