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Asian Orange Cauliflower (Vegan Orange Chicken)

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Orange cauliflower is a vegetarian friendly take on Panda Express’s popular Asian orange chicken recipe. Loaded with a sweet and spicy orange sauce, this lightened up take out classic will have your family happily eating their vegetables! 


orange cauliflower recipe

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What is Orange Cauliflower?

This is a vegan alternative to orange chicken. Orange chicken uses a sweet and spicy, thick sauce as a coating to the chicken. My orange cauliflower recipe uses breaded and air fried or baked cauliflower to make a healthy version of the well-known chicken recipe.

orange cauliflower recipe

Replace chicken with cauliflower for a Vegan Orange Chicken Recipe

You’ll never miss the chicken with this orange cauliflower. Cauliflower makes a wonderful replacement for chicken. Its mild taste allows it to pick up the flavor of the scrumptious orange sauce, giving you the perfect vegetarian alternative.

How to make Orange Cauliflower Vegan?

This recipe is very simple! Let's break it down into a few key parts:

  • Prep the cauliflower
  • Cook the cauliflower in the oven or in the air-fryer
  • Make the sauce

orange cauliflower step by step

Prep the cauliflower

First wash and cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces. Set the cauliflower aside. The whisk together the water, flour and salt. When the ingredients form a batter, dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter and let the excess batter drip off.

Cook in the Oven

If you are cooking the cauliflower in the oven, preheat it to 400 degrees F. As it heats up, arrange the cauliflower pieces on a non-stick cooking sheet.

orange cauliflower step by step

Or Cook in the Airfryer

If you are using an air-fryer or air fryer lid for the Instant Pot, place the pieces of cauliflower into the basket.

When using an air fryer cook the cauliflower for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F. When using a CrispLid for the Instant Pot, cook the cauliflower for 12 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees F.

orange Cauliflower recipe

Make the Orange Sauce

While the cauliflower is cooking, you can make the orange sauce. It only takes a few minutes to make, so you can wait until there is about 5 to 10 minutes left on the cauliflower before making it.

To make the orange sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet or pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the garlic, ginger and red chili flakes and stir together.

Once the spices are well combined, add the vinegar, orange juice, sugar and soy sauce.

orange cauliflower step by step

Let the mixture come to a boil cooking over high heat for about 1 minute. 

In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and water to form a paste. Add the paste to the orange sauce and whisk until it is well combined. Once the cornstarch is mixed in, cook the sauce for about 2 to 3 additional minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. 

After the sauce thickens, stir in the sesame oil and reduce the heat. When the cauliflower is cooked, add it to the pot and toss until it is well coated. Serve the orange cauliflower hot with your favorite rice or noodles.

orange cauliflower recipe

Is Orange Cauliflower Vegan?

Orange cauliflower is a vegan take on orange chicken. It is a great way to enjoy the flavor of orange sauce without eating chicken.

Can I Bake Orange Cauliflower?

If you don’t have an air fryer or air fryer lid for your pressure cooker, you can make delicious orange cauliflower in the oven. To make orange cauliflower in your oven, preheat it to 400 degrees F. Arrange the cauliflower on a non-stick cooking sheet, leaving a little bit of space between each piece. Cook the cauliflower for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is golden brown.

orange Cauliflower recipe

Can I use an Air Fryer to make Orange Cauliflower?

I love air-fryers because they cook food fast and give them a bit of extra crunch and crispiness. To use your air fryer, set the temperature to 375 degrees F and cook for 15 minutes. Make sure you leave a little room between each piece to make sure all sides get crispy.

Can I use CrispLid to make Orange Cauliflower?

Yes, you can use the CrispLid to make this recipe. To do so, make sure you use the air fryer basket and provide enough space between the pieces. You will need to adjust the cooking temperature to 375 degrees F and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.

orange cauliflower recipe

What do I serve Orange Cauliflower with?

You can serve this with other Chinese or Asian inspired recipes. Or you can simply serve it over rice. One of my favorite pairings is to serve the cauliflower with this Fried Rice Recipe

If you prefer noodles, you could also try this with my Garlic Noodles recipe or my Chow Mein recipe. Both are sure to delight your family.

Can I make the Orange Cauliflower recipe Gluten Free?

You can make this gluten free. To do this, use a gluten free flour instead of whole wheat flour for the breading on the cauliflower. 

orange cauliflower recipe

Can I make the cauliflower more crispy?

You can make cauliflower crispier in the air fryer by tossing the coated veggie in breadcrumbs. To do this, add some bread crumbs to a medium bowl and gently place the battered cauliflower on top of the breadcrumbs. Gently turn the cauliflower until the outside is lightly coated with bread crumbs.

You can also use an oil based cooking spray or cooking spray bottle filled with oil to lightly coat the outside with oil. 

More Delicious AIR - FRYER recipes you will enjoy:

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Orange Cauliflower Recipe

orange cauliflower recipe

Asian Inspired Orange Cauliflower

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Orange cauliflower is a vegetarian friendly take on Panda Express’s popular orange chicken recipe. Loaded with a sweet and spicy orange sauce, this lightened up take out classic will have your family happily eating their vegetables! 


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour - gluten free or almond flour for keto version
  •  salt to taste
  • Half head of  cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2 inch ( 3 cm) florets


  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic- minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed
  • 1 scallions- thinly sliced -for garnish


    1. Wash and cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and water.
    3. One at a time, dip each cauliflower floret in the batter to coat, let the excess batter drip off.
    4. Arrange the battered cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet, or in your air fryer making sure they aren’t touching one another.

      Air fry -375 degrees F for 15 minutes. 

      Instant pot Airfryer lid - 375 Degrees F for 12 - 15 minutes

      Bake-  Pre heated oven 400 degrees. bake it on middle rack for 20- 25 minutes

    1. Heat the olive  oil in a medium skillet or pan over medium heat, add garlic , ginger , red chili flakes and give it a stir.
    2. Next goes the orange juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce. 
    3. Cook for 1 minute on high  flame and let it come to a boil 
    4. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch with  water to form a paste.Add it to the orange sauce and whisk together.
    5. Continue to cook for 2 -3 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken.
    6. Once the sauce is thickened, add in the sesame oil, and lower the heat .
    7. Toss the cooked cauliflower florets in the sauce until well coated.
    8. Serve the cauliflower over rice and garnish with the scallions and sesame seeds
    9. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 389Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 0mgSodium 474mgCarbohydrates 78gFiber 6gSugar 27gProtein 10g

All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. We are not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though we try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of our ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.

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Did you make recipe? don’t forget to come back and leave your feedback and star rating.


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Kat Greacen

Monday 21st of February 2022

Amazing. Quadrupled sauce. Froze half. Used full head of cauli. New vegetarian here and very happy!

Soniya Saluja

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

Hey Kat, so glad to hear that ?


Friday 10th of December 2021

Hi. Thanks for your recipe.....I´ll be trying it this weekend; Can it be done 1 or 2 days in advance?

Sandra Fleming

Sunday 24th of October 2021

What brand should I buy for a small air frier?

Soniya Saluja

Monday 25th of October 2021

We love Gourmia 7 qt is on sale in Costco its only 39.99$

Pat A

Saturday 23rd of October 2021

Tried this today, it is actually very good. I’ll make the following changes next time: use 2 tbsp. rice vinegar instead of white distilled, use only 1/4 cup sugar. I used the air fryer and it came out crispy.

Bill B

Monday 26th of July 2021

I don't see how this recipe could be bright orange like the picture if you add the full amount of soy sauce and brown sugar. I didn't even add the full amount of sugar and soy sauce and it still turned out dark brown and you couldn't even taste the orange flavor in it.

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