It’s been a long time since we shared the recipe for General Tso’s Tofu Stir-Fry, and it has become a favorite. We decided to make a cauliflower-based version. Spoiler alert: it turned out very well.
The cauliflower florets, tossed with a spicy gingery sauce, are then baked in the oven until crisp. This is a great snack, side dish, or meal. Only ten ingredients are needed, and they’re naturally gluten-free and vegan. We’ll show you exactly how to make it!
The Origins of General Tso’s Cauliflower
General Tso’s cauliflower is a vegan adaptation of General Tso’s chicken. It is believed that a chef by the name of Peng Chang Kuei created this dish in the 1950s. He was born in Hunan, a province of China. Later, he moved to Taiwan, where he cooked.
Chef Pang says the dish is inspired by Hunanese flavors and named after a Hunanese General. When he opened his first New York restaurant and moved to New York, he adapted the dish to suit his new audience. The word became very popular.
How to make General Tso’s Cauliflower
This recipe begins by tossing the chopped cauliflower in avocado oil and cornstarch to create a crunchy coating (this is the same method that we use for crispy Tofu). Salt adds flavor to the cauliflower and also helps to draw moisture out of it for crisp, caramelized edges.
Then, whisk together the gingery, spicy sauce with six ingredients. The savory base is Tamari (or Coconut aminos), chili garlic sauce, optional red pepper flakes, and maple syrup, which balances and adds sweetness. Garlic and ginger are added to the mix for extra zing and spice.
We then coat the cauliflower with the sauce. This recipe may even turn cauliflower haters into cauliflower lovers!
It is then returned to the oven for the sauce to absorb into the cauliflower and become one. You might not know that it is cauliflower at this stage if you can’t see it.
- The recipe calls for 8 cups of chopped cauliflower in bite-sized florets (one medium-sized head cauliflower).
- 2 Tbsp Avocado Oil (If you don’t want to use oil, substitute a mixture of chili garlic sauce with maple syrup).
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/4 cup cornstarch*
- 2 tsp Chili garlic sauce
- 3 Tbsp tamari (or 1/4 cup or 60 ml coconut aminos)
- Maple syrup, 1 tbsp
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- Ginger mince 1 Tbsp
- Two small cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
- Use more red pepper flakes if you like (optional to increase heat).
FOR SERVING optional
- white (or brown, or quinoa, or Coconut rice).
- Steamed veggies
- Green onion thinly sliced
- Sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to about 450degF (223degC). Get out two large baking sheets. (If you are making a bigger batch, use more baking sheets and work in batches). Line baking sheets using silicone mats or aluminum foil (parchment is not safe for high temperatures). Use additional oil to grease the foil if you want it to stay on the baking sheet.
- Wash and dry cauliflower. Toss the cauliflower in a large bowl with the salt and oil to coat. Add the cornstarch and mix again. Place the cauliflower in a single layer on the baking sheets, leaving space between each floret to promote crispiness. Bake for 25-30 mins, stirring halfway through. The edges should be lightly crisped and lightly browned. The bowl can be used again.
- The sauce can be prepared in the same large bowl. Stir together the tamari sauce, maple syrup vinegar, ginger, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Taste and adjust according to your needs. Add more red pepper flakes or chili garlic sauce for heat. Maple syrup or ginger or garlic for zing. We used the entire amount of chili-garlic sauce.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven when it is slightly browned and allow it to cool down. Transfer the cauliflower to a mixing bowl and coat it thoroughly.
- Reserve any remaining marinade to serve. Bake for 8-12 mins or until golden brown and sizzling.
- Serve the cauliflower over rice, quinoa, or with steamed vegetables. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.
- Fresh is best. The leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for up to three days. They can then be reheated at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until they are warm. It is not freezer-friendly.