At the risk of engaging the wrath of the vegan police, I confess I am not a huge fan of cauliflower. Cauliflower “rice” just makes me unreasonably hangry. On its own, cauliflower’s flavour is a little meh. But, this recipe for Baked Popcorn Cauliflower is so crispy-tasty-good, I quickly forget all my cauliflower prejudices.
Cauliflower is tricky to grow here in Perth. The coastal weather never really gets cold enough to ensure a nice firm head of curds.
Fortunately, cauliflower grows well a little further south. When it is in season, it is almost ridiculously cheap. Plus, cauliflower is a healthy whole food, containing many essential nutrients, fibre, antioxidants, contains choline and sulforaphane. All good stuff.
In my vegetarian days, I would make cauliflower cheese, cancelling out its goodness with a hefty dose of butter, milk and cheese. The first time I tried this recipe I adapted it from a Baked Popcorn Chicken recipe and it was terribly bland! I have since made some variations, and this recipe is the hands-down family favourite.
This Baked Popcorn Cauliflower is reminiscent of the crispy, tasty bits of baked cauliflower cheese. Yummy!
These are quick to prepare, and disappear off the plate just as fast!
Baked Popcorn Cauliflower
You will need
- 1/2 head of a large cauliflower (about two to three cups worth) trimmed into bitesize pieces
- 1 cup of Cultured Coconut Yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon of Scrap Stock Paste
- 1 finely crushed garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
- 1/2 cup of coarse rice flour or polenta
- 2 tablespoons of vegan parmesan (see recipe in my FREE Guide to Whole Plant-Based Pantry Essentials)
- 1 cup of panko crumbs or crushed Weet-bix
- Olive oil
- Sea salt, lemon wedges and smoked paprika for seasoning
Measure your coconut yoghurt into a large bowl and stir through the scrap stock paste, the crushed garlic clove and chopped thyme.
Add your cauliflower pieces and stir through the yoghurt mixture until well coated. Leave the cauliflower to marinate in the yoghurt mix for at least one hour in the fridge.
Forty-five minutes before you want to eat, heat your oven to 210 degrees Celcius and prepare a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Remove the marinated cauliflower from the fridge and stir through the rice flour or polenta until each piece is coated.
Add your panko crumbs and vegan parmesan and coat every last piece of cauliflower.
Spread the coated cauliflower on your baking tray in an even layer.
Spray the pieces evenly with olive oil and place into the top shelf of the hot oven.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until golden and crispy.
Serve on a large tray, and sprinkle with sea salt and smoked paprika to taste. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.
These Baked Popcorn Cauliflower bites are crispy, savoury and very moorish!
You won’t be able to stop at a handful! They are best shared with friends on a lazy Sunday afternoon with a cold beer and good conversation!
Remember, this recipe uses pantry staples and inside my Guide to Whole Plant-Based Pantry Essentials, you will find the recipe for the amazing vegan parmesan and so much more! It is free in my exclusive Subscriber Resource Library, so if you are not already signed up, do so now! I’ll email you the access password in no time!
I hope you give this recipe a try! Do let me know what you think and leave a comment below.