Vegetarian Cashew Cauliflower is the vegetarian equivalent of the classic Chinese buffet favourite, Cashew Chicken. The same great flavour as your favourite Chinese take out, but in vegetarian format. Yum!
This is probably the MOST delicious thing I’ve eaten in the past six months! I cannot possibly put into words how deliciously tasty this dish was, and coming from me, that’s a lot (I’m hardly ever stuck for words!) I used to love going to a buffet and gorging myself on Cashew Chicken, and I miss doing that, but being with the vegetarian makes doing that more difficult.
For the past year, food blogs and Pinterest alike has been inundated with cauliflower recipes. You’ve all seen them! There’s cauliflower pizza crust, mashed cauliflower, cauliflower breadsticks, cauliflower tater tots, roasted cauliflower, cauliflower soup, etc., etc., etc. So, I thought, why not substitute chicken for cauliflower? And, I’m freakin’ glad I did!
I promise you, once you make this recipe, you will most likely eat the entire platter – and why not; cauliflower is super healthy! But this recipe comes with a warning. Once you make this recipe for the first time, be prepared to make it over and over again. You and your family will both love it. In fact, I highly encourage you to prepare it and eat it until your family tires of it. (That will never happen!)
Other than getting vegetables on the table, and cutting down on your meat consumption, the only thing in this recipe that you might need to buy is the cashews. I promise you that nearly ever other ingredient in the list below is already in your pantry.
One last thing before you jump into making this for tonight’s dinner… cauliflower does soften and reduce in size. I used a medium sized cauliflower for just the two of us, and served with some steamed brown rice, it was basically one meal with very little left over. If you’re preparing this for a family, or if you want leftovers for work the next day, I would highly encourage you to double the recipe. (This is so good cold, too! I might have eaten a bite or two at 3am!)
Actually, this will be the last thing, and then I promise you can get to the recipe. If you plan to make this ahead of time, keep in mind that the cauliflower will not hold up well to being reheated, but there is a way to get around that problem – somewhat!
Do not reheat this in the microwave! It will become a steamy mush. Instead, carefully position each floret onto a greased baking sheet. Leave room between each floret. Spray the top of the cauliflower with cooking spray and place under the broiler. Just a minute or so and you’ll have a reheated cauliflower dish without the mushy microwave mess.
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Vegetarian Cashew Cauliflower
- 1 medium-sized cauliflower, washed, and cut into florets
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 4 tablespoons ketchup
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- 1 cup cashews, whole and unsalted
- 1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a shallow baking dish with olive oil. Set aside.
Place the cauliflower to a large bowl and add in the corn starch. Using your hands, gently toss the cauliflower florets until completely dusted with the corn starch.
Remove the florets from the bowl, lightly shake off the excess corn starch and place into the greased baking dish; save the remaining corn starch!
Bake cauliflower at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the water to the leftover corn starch and whisk until dissolved. Add the garlic, ginger, ketchup, soy sauce, pepper, brown sugar, and dried red chili flakes - stir to combine.
Remove the cauliflower from the oven and pour the sauce over top. Move the cauliflower around gently with a small wooden spoon to get the sauce underneath the florets. Bake for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven, add the cashews, and once again, lightly stir cashews into the cauliflower and sauce. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
“Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” – Mark Twain
Originally Posted on September 20, 2015 – Updated on July 20, 2017