Kung Pao Cauliflower

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kung pao cauliflower recipe
Molly Krebs/Eat More Plants

Two things we find completely irresistible? Cauliflower…and Chinese takeout. While we can’t always in indulge the latter, we can satisfying our cravings with this easy recipe for kung pao cauliflower from Molly Krebs’s new cookbook, Eat More Plants. And when we say easy, we mean 15-minutes-from-start-to-finish easy.

“I think cauliflower often gets a bad rap for being bland,” Krebs writes. “This version is anything but. It is insanely flavorful, has tons of texture and surprises with a little bit of spice. The glaze is sweet and almost sticky—like the delicious sauces at Chinese restaurants, but a little healthier. This one is sweetened with agave nectar instead of sugar, and it gets most of its flavor from garlic, ginger and one of my favorite ingredients to cook with: hoisin sauce.” 

Our mouths are watering already.

Reprinted with permission from Eat More Plants by Molly Krebs, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019.



2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) agave nectar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon (3g) grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon (9g) cornstarch

2 teaspoons (10 ml) sesame oil

2 teaspoons (10 ml) chili-garlic sauce (such as Huy Fong)

3 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch of crushed red-pepper flakes


2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed

1 tablespoon (10g) sesame seeds

2 scallions, thinly sliced

¼ cup (38g) roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

¼ cup (15g) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro


1. Make the Sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, agave, hoisin sauce, ginger, cornstarch, sesame oil, chili-garlic sauce, garlic and red-pepper flakes until combined. Set aside.

2. Cook the Cauliflower: Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower in an even layer, season it with a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper, and sear undisturbed, until it is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the cauliflower and sear until it is golden brown on the other side, about 3 minutes more.

3. Add the sauce to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Toss the cauliflower in the sauce to coat and sauté until the sauce thickens and the cauliflower is tender, about 4 minutes.

4. Add the sesame seeds, scallions, peanuts and cilantro; stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper, if desired, and serve.

Nutrition Facts
  • 503 calories

  • 32g fat

  • 48g carbs

  • 14g protein

  • 25g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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