Sweet and Spicy Cauliflower

If you’re looking for an idea appetizer idea that can also be for dinner then I’ve got the answer for you today.

Those little nuggets look like they are chicken but they are not. Say hello to these cauliflower nuggets. They are coated with bread crumbs, panko crumbs, and flour and then baked in the oven.

A few years ago I made a similar recipe and called them cauliflower poppers. Those poppers are only covered in panko crumbs. The more panko crumbs you use, the more crunchy they will be. Both recipes are great and I would recommend either of them.

I think the sauce is what makes this dish. The original recipe calls for a homemade sauce and I couldn’t find one of the ingredients. I bought sweet chili sauce, thinking it would be a good substitute. When I got home my husband pointed out that I actually bought the sauce itself. At first I was annoyed, but I got over it quickly. After preparing the cauliflower nuggets, I was glad to not have to then make the sauce. Hooray for short cuts!

I think that this is an awesome vegetarian dinner. My husband says to skip the rice and snack on the cauliflower nuggets with some dip on the side. In fairness, his primary motivation was to justify his pattern of eating all the nuggets that I wanted to photograph with each pass he made near the tray of them that I’d pulled out of the oven. Depending on the size of the head of cauliflower you end up with and how many of them your various household members swipe while you are preparing them, you may end up with more or less of them than I show here. 🙂

Sweet and Spicy Cauliflower Recipe
(Makes about 4 to 6 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • oil spray
  • sweet chili sauce (I used Iron Chef Sweet Chili sauce.)
  • (optional) sprinkling of chopped chives
  • (optional) sprinkling of sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place an oven safe wire rack on a baking sheet, spray it with oil spray, and set it aside.
  2. Cut the cauliflower to make small florets.  Wash them and pat them dry.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and set this bowl aside.
  4. In another large bowl, whisk together the bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs, and flour together. Set this bowl aside.
  5. In an assembly line fashion, dunk each floret in the egg mixture, then into the bread crumbs mixture, and then move them to the prepared wire rack on the baking sheet.
  6. Spray the breaded cauliflower with oil spray.
  7. Bake them in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. I baked mine for 25 minutes because the cauliflower was tender and the outside was crunchy at that point. However, if you want them to look more golden brown then cook them longer until you get the desired color. If you’re covering them in sauce right away, I don’t think the color really matters.
  8. If your serving this as an appetizer, you’re done! Pour some sweet chili sauce in a bowl, (optionally) sprinkle some chopped chives on top, and serve.
  9. If your serving this as a dinner, then pile the cauliflower on the plate, pour the sweet chili sauce on top of the cauliflower (how ever much you like), (optionally) sprinkle some chopped chives and sesame seeds on top, and serve.

Adapted from: How Sweet Eats

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