Crowd Pleasing Sweet and Sour Cauliflower (your friends will love it!)

Crowd Pleasing Sweet and Sour Cauliflower (your friends will love it!)

This one is a crowd pleaser!

Buffalo cauliflower wings have been all the rage lately - so here is my Chinese take on this classic vegan side dish.

I love serving this one to friends. I promise they’ll love it, and so will you!

A spoon of sweet and sour sauce being poured over the cauliflower wings, on top of rice.

I loved sweet and sour pork as a kid - of course it’s not something I eat anymore now that I’m vegan. But these sweet and sour cauliflower wings remind me somewhat of my childhood favourite, and give me both that sweet and sour and meaty taste that I often crave. Sweet and sour sauce isn’t just for pork anymore!

The ingredients. Sugar, ketchup, lemon juice, corn starch.

The secret to making amazing sweet and sour sauce is to trust the process. Some people are thrown off by the use of ketchup or the amount of sugar in the recipe. I promise you, this is the real deal!

The sweet and sour sauce, with the cauliflower wings about to be dipped.

You can play around with the amount of water used in the sauce, as well as the amount of corn starch. And make sure to always use hot water to dissolve all the ingredients! If you find that you’ve added too much water, you could try adding more corn starch, or boiling the sauce for about 5 to 10 minutes to cook it down.

The cauliflower wings, dipped in sauce, and on a baking sheet.

If you don’t like ketchup, you can feel free to use 1/4 cup of tomato paste with 1 tbsp vinegar as a substitute.

You can use any spices you like. I chose to use Chinese five spice, but you could easily use cumin instead. Feel free to play around with it!

The final cauliflower wings, plated.

  • 3 servings as a main meal, or 4 servings as a side or snack
  • 45 minutes
  • 50 minutes


Cauliflower Wings

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup non-dariy milk (or water)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup hot water


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F, and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Wash cauliflower, and cut it into bite sized pieces.
  3. Mix all the Cauliflower ingredients in a bowl: the flour, water, non-dairy milk if using, five spice, paprika, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. The batter should be thick.
  4. Dip each cauliflower piece in the batter individually, and tap off the excess. Or, dump all the cauliflower into the batter and mix to evenly coat them all.
  5. Lay the battered cauliflower on the baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through (so bake for ~ 12 minutes, flip, then bake for another ~12 minutes).
  7. While the cauliflower is baking, make the sweet and sour sauce. Simply combine all the ingredients (ketchup, white sugar, lemon juice, salt, and hot water) in a bowl, and mix.
  8. Once the cauliflower is done its first bake, take them out of the oven and coat them all in the sweet and sour sauce. Like with the batter, you can coat each piece one by one, or dump everything in the sweet and sour bowl and mix to coat evenly.
  9. Time for the second bake: bake the coated and battered cauliflower for 25 minutes. As before, flip halfway through.
  10. Enjoy!

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