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Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower + Quinoa
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5 from 6 votes

Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower + Quinoa 

This Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower + Quinoa recipe is a deliciously healthy option for the entire family. At first glance, these beauties truly remind you of classic orange 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! Super easy to make and whipped together in under 45 minutes. All vegan ingredients.
Course Main Course
Keyword bites, cauliflower, classic, crisp, dairy-free, dinner, easy, fall recipe, food, healthy, healthy bowl, homemade, indulge, orange, plant-based, quinoa, recipe, savory, sweet, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cups cooked quinoa (Cook according to packaging!)
  • 1 head of Cauliflower, chopped in large chunks
  • 2 cups bread crumbs  (See Notes!)
  • 3/4 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
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

Orange Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsps fresh water
  • 1/3 cup juice of an orange (That's 1 medium size orange!)
  • 3 Tbsps organic brown sugar (Vegan-approved!; I use Sugar in the Raw; See Notes!)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsps rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsps soy sauce, reduce sodium
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsps orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp mashed ginger (See Notes!)
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch + 3 Tbsps water (See Notes!)

Garnish:

  • sesame seeds
  • green onions, chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • 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 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and "crunchy" looking. **NOTE: Be sure to flip each cauliflower on opposite side half way through baking time**
  • In the meantime, cook quinoa according to packaging.

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. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • To serve, add a few spoonfuls of quinoa to a bowl, then top with orange cauliflower, and garnish with chopped green onions, optional.
  • Bon Appetit!

Notes

HOMEMADE BREADCRUMBS: To make your own breadcrumbs, simply grind 1-2 cups of cubed bread into a food processor until finely chopped. Place crumbs onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for 5-6 minutes in the oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally. Once brown + crisp, remove from oven and let cool. Continue recipe steps and store remaining breadcrumbs in a tightly sealed container. 
SWEETENER: Instead of brown sugar, you can always use maple syrup or agave as a sweetener.
GINGER: If you do not have mashed ginger, you can substitute for 1/4 tsp ground ginger instead.
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.
STORAGE: Best if consumed within the same day. Leave leftovers tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for a day or so.