This baked Korean popcorn cauliflower is the perfect appetizer for a crowd! It’s crispy, vegan, gluten free and incredibly easy to make. With a subtly sweet and spicy sauce, this is sure to be a favorite.
Crispy, perfectly spicy, subtly sweet, healthy, vegan (just sub honey for maple syrup) and gluten free Korean inspired popcorn cauliflower. This recipe is inspired by my Korean crispy tofu, but made with cauliflower instead.
It’s essential a vegan version of popcorn chicken, just made with cauliflower instead. The cooking method is similar to my cauliflower wings recipe, but with a different sauce and we’re going to cut the cauliflower into smaller bites.
You can serve this as an appetizer for a party, enjoy it as snack or make it a meal and serve it with some rice and a protein of your choice.
This cauliflower is baked until crispy in the oven, but you have the option to make it in an air fryer if you prefer instead! This recipe gets its flavor from gochujang paste, which is a fermented red chili paste that is popular in Korean cooking. It has a spicy, sweet and savory flavor.
Prep cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into small, bite sized florets. You want to chop it up smaller than you would for cauliflower wings, since popcorn chicken is usually pretty small!
Make the batter. Whisk together the flour, milk and gochujang paste. Toss the cauliflower in the batter, then toss in some breadcrumbs.
Bake. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Make the sauce. Whisk together all ingredients for the sauce and simmer on the stove. The main ingredients are soy sauce or tamari, gochujang paste, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, honey and sesame oil.
Combine & serve. Combine the cooked cauliflower with the sauce and toss until well coated. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Can I make it in an air fryer?
Yes! I love making air fryer cauliflower. You’ll want to follow all of the instructions as usual, but bake in the air fryer at 370 degrees for 10-13 minutes.
You will need to do it in two batches depending on the size of your air fryer because you only want one layer to cook at a time to ensure it gets really crispy.
Does it keep?
Yes and no. This vegan popcorn cauliflower is definitely best served fresh. It will lose some of the crispiness after even just a few hours.
If you do have leftover, it will store in the fridge for about 2 days. I recommend heating it back up in the oven or on the stove with a touch of oil to try to get some crisp back.
Because of this, I don’t recommend prepping it in advance. If you want to serve it at a party, it’s really best served fresh. You can bake the cauliflower and prep the sauce, then toss them together right before serving so it’s not soggy.
More cauliflower recipes you’ll love!
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Korean Popcorn Cauliflower
by: claire cary
- 1 small head cauliflower
- 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour sub regular if not GF
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 teaspoons gochujang/red chili paste
- ⅔ cup plain gluten free breadcrumbs sub regular if not GF
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- ¼ cup gochujang paste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch + 1 tsp water
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the cauliflower into small, bite sized florets.
- Whisk together the flour, milk and gochujang in a large mixing bowl.
- Toss the cauliflower in the bowl until well coated.
- Toss in the breadcrumbs until well coated.
- Add to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
- Meanwhile, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce aside from the cornstarch in a small pot.
- Heat over low heat, then whisk together the cornstarch with 1 teaspoon of water and add to the pot.
- Whisk together and simmer until it thickens, then remove from heat and let cool.
- When the cauliflower is done, let cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and toss with the sauce.
- Serve immediately with chopped scallions and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
Fabulous recipe. Easy to prepare, healthy and delicious!
Claire Cary says
Thank you, Julz!