This delightfully crispy, flavorful, restaurant-style sweet chili cauliflower is truly TO DIE FOR! It is a vegan spin on coconut shrimp with sweet chili sauce and you’re going to love it. It’s just as delicious as your favorite restaurant app, way healthier (baked not fried and lower in sodium), less expensive, and ready in 35 minutes! Plus it’s gluten free AND vegan!
What Makes This Sweet Chili Cauliflower Healthier Than Restaurant Options?
Since this recipe is baked, not fried, it is totally oil free and much lower in fat. The sauce is also much lower in sodium, and the florets are very lightly breaded with an organic, gluten-free rice flour and water mixture, so this dish is also lower in calories and carbs. Because this recipe is veggie based, it is also higher in nutrients!
What Type of Flour Should I Use?
I have tested this recipe with alllllll the flours – almond flour, chickpea flour, oat flour, you name it! Through my testing, I have found two types of flour that work best to make the most delicious tender on the inside, crispy on the outside sweet chili cauliflower. Brown rice flour and gluten free all purpose flour (or regular all purpose if you’re not gluten free). These two varieties of flour achieve the crispiest exterior which definitely adds to the deliciousness.
Can You Make This Vegan Sweet Chili Cauliflower Ahead of Time?
I definitely recommend making this recipe right before serving, but leftovers can certainly be reheated in an oven or air fryer. Speaking of air fryers – I have heard GREAT feedback from those of you who have tried this recipe in an air fryer, so if that’s your thing, definitely give it a go! If you are looking to save time and meal prep this recipe, you can do that by cutting up your cauliflower into florets and refrigerating in an airtight container, whisking together the ingredients for your sauce, and preparing your batter. The batter does tend to thicken over time, so you will want to add a little more water if needed to thin. The consistency should be just slightly thinner than pancake batter when coating the florets.
Tips to Make This Cauliflower Extra Crispy:
- Make sure your batter is not too thick. I have the best results when my batter is slightly thinner than pancake batter.
- Don’t overcoat your florets. After tossing with the batter, remove each floret one by one using a fork and letting excess batter drip off.
- Add a sprinkle of the optional gluten free breadcrumbs. These add a nice crunch.
- If you’re not eating oil-free, spray with a very light coat of olive oil half way through the bake time.
- Let your florets cool after baking for at least 3-5 minutes before tossing with the sauce. This prevents them from steaming and getting mushy.
Can I Substitute the Chili Garlic Sauce for Other Sauce Flavors?
What is Hearts of Palm Rice?
This sweet chili cauliflower can be served with white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, you name it! But my favorite option is a rice made from hearts of palm from Palmini! This is a wonderful low-carb, low-calorie alternative that tastes and feels very similar to regular rice! The taste is also much more mild than cauliflower rice. You can order from their website or amazon.
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into medium sized florets, stems removed
- 1 C brown rice flour or gluten free all purpose flour
- 1 C water or plant milk, make sure plant milk is unsweetened and unflavored
- 1 TBSP coconut aminos or soy sauce
- 1/4 C finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 C gluten free breadcrumbs optional
Sweet Chili Glaze
- 1/2 C sweet chili sauce
- 1/4 C chili garlic sauce
- broccoli, steamed
- red bell pepper, steamed
- black sesame seeds
- cilantro, finely chopped
- 4 servings hearts of palm rice, cooked accordingly
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix together all ingredients for batter, except breadcrumbs, in a bowl. Batter should be slightly thinner than pancake batter. Add cauliflower florets to bowl and toss to coat.
- One by one, remove cauliflower from batter with a fork, letting excess drip off, and transfer to oiled parchment lined baking sheets, being sure not to overcrowd. Sprinkle generously with breadcrumbs if using. Spray with a very light coat of olive oil. (optional for extra crispiness!)
- Bake for 25 minutes until golden and crisp.
- Whisk together sweet chili sauce and chili garlic sauce in a small saucepan. Warm over low heat. Season to taste.
- Remove cauliflower from oven and let cool for 3-5 min (this step is very important as it prevents the cauliflower from getting soggy!)
- Transfer cauliflower to a bowl and toss gently with sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro.
- Serve hot with rice, broccoli, and peppers. Can also be served as a poppable, bite-sized appetizer.