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Crispy Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower Bites

Crispy Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower Bites are a healthier vegan version of orange chicken. Made in the oven with plant-based ingredients, they're crispy, crunchy and SO good!
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Keyword appetizer, baked, bites, cauliflower, classic, dairy-free, easy, fall recipe, food, gluten-free, healthy, homemade, indulge, lunch, mini, orange, plant-based, recipe, savory, spicy, sweet, traditional, vegan, weeknight meals
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

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!

Notes

  • 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.