by Francesca Patterson
This past week, we started seeing the most beautiful and vibrant cauliflowers at the farm markets. Along with the classic white variety, we have also been seeing bright purples and cheddar yellow hues of this vegetable. They carry the same fresh, nutty, cauliflower taste, but provide a striking addition to your dinner plate palette.
Along with the color, these heads of cauliflower are grand in size. They are healthy, large, and ready to be put to great use. Because the florets on this were so perfect, I felt like I had to do something that kept them intact. I decided that it would be interesting to try making vegetarian chicken bites. It was definitely a good idea. My new found answer to indulgent snack cravings are these oven-baked bites. With the light dredge and savory sauce, they almost mimic the identical taste and bite of a boneless chicken wing. They are so close that after I had devoured almost the entire sheet pan of them, I started to feel a twinge of guilt because I forgot that it consisted of healthy veggies and not breaded chicken. With the help of one other person (who, for the record, claims to not like cauliflower) we polished off that whole huge head of cauliflower in just a matter of minutes.
It’s a great feeling to get a picky eater to genuinely enjoy the new food I introduced them to. Whether you’re a vegetarian who doesn’t want frozen aisle veggie chicken nuggets, or someone interested in a more mindful snack, I would highly recommend trying out this fun and rewarding recipe. Feel free to use this as a base and play with the spices and cooking times to achieve your preference of golden brown.
- 1 large head of cauliflower (separated into florets)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used oat)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- A dash of salt & black pepper
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (or canola oil)
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp hot sauce or chili garlic paste
- 2-3 tbsp water
1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, make your dredge by mixing together your 1/2 cup water, milk, flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Once thoroughly mixed, you should have a thick liquid consistency. Dunk each cauliflower floret and shake off any excess.
2) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease it. Arrange your dredged cauliflowers in a single, flat layer. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
3) While the cauliflower is baking, combine the coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, turmeric, soy sauce, hot sauce, and water in a small pot. Heat this on medium to low heat until everything is just melted together. Add more water if the consistency of the sauce is too thick to pour. Adjust to taste. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool while the cauliflower is baking.
4) Once cauliflower is finished baking, put them into a large bowl. Keep the oven on. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower to coat the florets. Put the cauliflower back on the sheet pan in a single layer and put back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes or until they look crispy and golden. If necessary, finish them off with 5 minutes of broiling on 450 degrees. Be careful not to let them burn.
Serve while hot, or heat up again in an oven of 400 degrees for 10 minutes.