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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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3.63 from 85 votes

Vegetarian Cashew Cauliflower

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!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Author Lord Byron's Kitchen


  • 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.
  • Serve immediately.

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“Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” – Mark Twain

Originally Posted on September 20, 2015 – Updated on July 20, 2017

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This Post Has 40 Comments

  1. Fabulous! I was wondering what this would be and was surprised at every step. Then I thought this would be deep fried but it isn't!!! I am definitely trying this out the next tine I buy cauliflower..the use of ketchup is very 'Indo- Chinese'
  2. Oh yum!!! I have been meaning to make something similar actually. Cashew Chicken used to be my favorite things from the Chinese Take-Out restaurant...until I stopped I eating meat. I bet this is delicious!!
  3. When I saw this recipe I thought it was fried but was surprised to see it is not. I'm in the process of making a recipe for my blog using cauliflower and I was going to fry it but now I'm going to try this method. Thanks Byron.
    1. You're not the first, Linda. I admit, it does look fried. :) I've tried frying cauliflower before and it turns to mush.
  4. Thank you! I am SO looking forward to trying this recipe, as cashew chicken is one of those dishes I miss now that we eat mostly plants. I featured this as the Recipe of the Day today on my Facebook page, "Cooking with Whole Grains & Real Whole Foods."
  5. The recipe sounds delicious, however the sodium content is almost a day's intake . How is the recipe when the sodium content is lower.
    1. If you're concerned about the sodium levels, Jeanette, I would suggest using low sodium soy sauce instead. You can also find low-sodium ketchup. I'm sure that would help cut the levels. :)
    2. Try using coconut aminos. I use Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Aminos Seasoning Sauce. It has only 300 mg of sodium in 1 Tbsp compared to 575 mg of sodium in 1 Tbsp of 'Less Sodium' Soy Sauce or 710 mg of sodium in 1 Tbsp of Tamari. Besides having less sodium it's delicious.
    1. I think adding more soy sauce of fish sauce would make this dish way too salty. Maybe try a simple tomato sauce instead of the ketchup.
  6. Super wonderful and easy recipe! My cauliflower was a bit mushy though and the sauce was very gummy. Any suggestions how I can do better next time? Thanks!
  7. Love the idea of this but mine was a gummy thick mess. It seems like too much corn starch. I ended up deglazing the pan with a bit of stock and then put it back in to thin the sauce. I also added a bit more garlic and ketchup.

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