General Tso’s Cauliflower

GFVGVDFNS
Jump to Recipe
Bowls of General Tso's Cauliflower and chili garlic sauce

We shared a recipe for General Tso’s tofu stir-fry years ago and it’s become a fan-favorite. We wanted to try our hands at a cauliflower version and — spoiler alert — it worked extremely well!

Cauliflower florets are tossed in a spicy, gingery sauce then baked until crispy in the oven. Perfect for enjoying as a snack or side or serving with grains and veggies for a flavorful meal. Just 10 ingredients required and naturally vegan and gluten-free. Let us show you how it’s done!

Garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, avocado oil, tamari, rice vinegar, maple syrup, chili garlic sauce, ginger, cornstarch, and cauliflower

Origins of General Tso’s Cauliflower

General Tso’s cauliflower is a plant-based adaptation of General Tso’s chicken, which is believed to have been created around the 1950s by a chef named Peng Chang-kuei. He was born in the Hunan province of China and later moved to Taiwan and cooked there.

Chef Pang claims the dish was inspired by flavors of Hunanese cuisine and named after a Hunanese general. Later, when he moved to New York and opened his first restaurant, he adapted it to cater to his new audience, and the dish quickly spread in popularity.

How to Make General Tso’s Cauliflower

This recipe starts with tossing chopped cauliflower with avocado oil and cornstarch for a crispy coating (the same method we like using for crispy tofu). A generous amount of salt adds flavor and helps draw out some of the moisture for crispy, caramelized edges.

Baking sheet of roasted cauliflower with a crispy coating

Next, we whisk up the ultra flavorful, gingery, spicy, 6-ingredient sauce. Tamari (or coconut aminos) creates the savory base, chili garlic sauce and optional red pepper flakes provide heat, maple syrup balances and adds sweetness, and garlic and ginger add additional spiciness and zing.

Making General Tso's sauce

Then we toss the roasted cauliflower in the sauce to coat it with all the goodness. You just may turn cauliflower haters into willing cauliflower eaters with this one!

Stirring roasted broccoli with General Tso's sauce

Then it goes back into the oven to allow the sauce to soak into and become one with the cauliflower. If you couldn’t see it, you might not even know it was cauliflower at this point.

Baking sheet of General Tsos's Cauliflower with a bowl of chili garlic sauce

We hope you LOVE this General Tso’s cauliflower! It’s:

Flavorful
Gingery
Lightly crispy
Spicy
& Satisfying!

It’s perfect for enjoying as a snack or side or as a meal served with grains and veggies (steamed broccoli, carrots, and snap peas would be especially delicious). It would also pair well with our Fresh Tofu Salad Rolls with Cashew Dipping Sauce, Quick Pickled Carrots, or Almond Butter Tofu Stir-Fry.

More Cauliflower Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Chopsticks resting on a bowl of General Tso's Cauliflower with grains and veggies

General Tso’s Cauliflower

Cauliflower florets baked with a spicy, General Tso’s-inspired sauce to crispy perfection. Gluten-free, plant-based, and just 10 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Bowl of General Tso's Cauliflower with rice and broccoli
5 from 14 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 (side servings)
Course Entree, Side
Cuisine Chinese-Inspired, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3 Days

Ingredients

CAULIFLOWER

  • 8 cups chopped cauliflower, bite-sized florets (1 medium-large head cauliflower as recipe is written)
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil (if avoiding oil, sub in a mix of chili garlic sauce and maple syrup)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt*
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch*

SAUCE

  • 2-3 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 3 Tbsp tamari (or 1/4 cup or 60 ml coconut aminos)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional for more heat)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C) and get out 2 large baking sheets (use more baking sheets or work in batches if making a larger batch). Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or foil (parchment paper typically isn’t safe at high temperatures). If using foil, lightly grease with additional oil to prevent sticking.
  • Wash cauliflower and pat dry. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower with the oil and salt to coat. Sprinkle in the cornstarch and toss again to coat. Arrange the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet(s) in a single layer, allowing space between the florets to encourage crispiness. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until lightly browned and slightly crispy on the edges. Wipe the bowl clean for later use.
  • Prepare the sauce in the same large mixing bowl. Whisk together the chili garlic sauce, tamari, maple syrup, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes (optional). Taste test and adjust as needed, adding more chili garlic sauce or red pepper flakes for heat, maple syrup for sweetness, or garlic or ginger for zing. We used the full amount of chili garlic sauce.
  • When the cauliflower is lightly browned, remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly. Then transfer it to the mixing bowl of sauce and toss to coat thoroughly.
  • Spread the cauliflower out on the baking sheet again and reserve any extra marinade for serving. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until sizzling, golden brown on the edges, and tender (but not mushy).
  • Optionally, serve the cauliflower with rice or quinoa and steamed veggies, and garnish with green onion, sesame seeds, and any leftover marinade.
  • Best when fresh. Leftovers can be refrigerated in a sealed container up to 3 days and reheated in a 350°F (176 C) oven until warmed through. Not freezer friendly.

Video

Notes

*To reduce sodium content, you can use low sodium tamari and/or reduce sea salt by up to half.
*If avoiding corn, you can omit cornstarch and it will still be flavorful, but it won’t be crispy.
*Adapted from our General Tso’s Tofu and Korean-Style Cauliflower Wings.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 side serving Calories: 151 Carbohydrates: 21.8 g Protein: 5.2 g Fat: 5.7 g Saturated Fat: 0.8 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.8 g Monounsaturated Fat: 3.7 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 1291 mg Potassium: 641 mg Fiber: 4 g Sugar: 6.9 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 92 mg Calcium: 55 mg Iron: 1.2 mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @minimalistbaker on Instagram and hashtag it #minimalistbaker so we can see all the deliciousness!

If you love this recipe...

Get Our Fan Favorites eBook Here!

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment & Rating!

Have a question? Use ctrl+f or ⌘+f on your computer or the "find on page" function on your phone browser to search existing comments! Need help? Check out this tutorial!

My Rating:




  1. Stac says

    This is one of the best cauliflower recipes I’ve ever made. Didn’t change a thing. My kid doesn’t ordinarily like cauliflower but if I mince his portion and mix it in with the rice he loves it. Goes great with fresh summer rolls or a simple side of steamed/sauteed kale or broccoli. Highly recommend it.

  2. Valentina says

    This recipe was absolutely delicious!! The only thing I did differently was use soy sauce in place of tamari/aminos and it worked great. We ate it with green beans, edamame, and rice. I was impressed by how crispy it came out.

  3. Danielle says

    Absolutely loved this! Made it for dinner tonight and was blown away by the flavour!

    Thank you so much, your recipes make eating healthy and plant based so much easier by not missing out on deliciousness.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad to hear it, Danielle. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  4. Nicole says

    I’ve made this three times already and it’s officially my new favorite way to eat cauliflower. :)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad you enjoy it, Nicole. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

    • sarah says

      I’ve made this 3 times and agree – easy and delicious. Using 3 tsp chili garlic sauce is the right heat to sweet ratio for us. Only had leftovers once and they were great cold as an appetizer the next day!

  5. Patricia says

    Made this last night and it was a hit. My non vegetarian partner loved it, so will definitely be another of your go to recipes in our home. So easy and quick, despite having to bake the cauliflower twice. I used soy sauce as had run out of tamari, so it was a little too salty, but I hadn’t read your notes, so my mistake. Thanks again!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you both enjoyed it, Patricia! Thank you as always for sharing! xo

  6. Kira says

    I am a HUGE fan of the general tso’s tofu recipe on this site – a staple recipe that I have made over and over again. So when I saw this I was excited to try another version. It is delicious but I think I would still turn to the tofu version. This is a great option though for those that don’t like tofu/have allergies.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Kira. We’re happy you enjoy both recipes! xo

  7. Carole says

    Made this the other night and wow- loved how simple it was! I didn’t have fresh ginger so I substituted powdered. Once again, another recipe that’ll become a staple in our house!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad you enjoyed this one, Carole. Thank you for sharing! xo

  8. KYLEIGH says

    I don’t know if my cauliflower pieces were too large or I didn’t use enough salt or something, but baking it for 25 minutes up front made it super soggy/mushy. Normally when I make buffalo cauliflower, I only cook for 15 mintues and then another 8-10 after adding the sauce and it comes out perfect. The flavor was great though.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kyleigh, sorry to hear the texture didn’t turn out quite right! If they were too large, that could be the issue. Did they look similar to the photos?

  9. Anita says

    Fabulous! Simple and delicious, love it…yet again!! Enjoyed this with brown rice and steamed broccoli tonight!

  10. Nikki J Evans says

    I’m allergic to avocado. Is it best to sub in olive oil, canola oil or is there a different option? Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nikki, a high heat oil is best here. Sunflower oil or grapeseed oil would be our recommended alternatives to avocado oil. Hope you love it!

  11. Ana says

    Another easy and delicious recipe!! I didn’t have corn starch so I used potato starch and worked perfect! Definitely will be adding this to my favorite dinner recipes!! Thanks!

    • Renee says

      This was so delicious! I was pleased by how simple and hands off it was, yet so flavorful and satisfying. My only qualm is that in my personal opinion, with the recipe written as serving four, it’s not quite enough. Not a huge deal, but next time I just might 1.5 the recipe. Thank you for sharing this one!

      • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

        Thank you for the feedback, Renee! We’re glad you still enjoyed it overall! xo

  12. Ruth says

    This looks so delicious! I bought cauliflower tonight so I can make it this weekend. Do you think I can substitute red curry paste for the chili garlic sauce?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      That might work! Or an alternative we’d recommend is more garlic and more red pepper flakes. Let us know how you like it!

      • Ruth says

        Well, I don’t know how the taste differs from the original recipe, but substituting red curry paste for the chili garlic sauce is a winner. I thought it tasted great! I served it with coconut rice (your recipe) and steamed broccoli. This is one of my new favorite recipes 👏👍🏼😋

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Amazing! Love that coconut rice idea too. Might have to include it in the recipe =) Thank you for sharing, Ruth! xo

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Patty, we don’t have much experience with an air fryer, so we’re not sure! If there’s a convection bake setting, perhaps try that. Let us know how it goes!

  13. Heather says

    Has anyone experimented or had ideas about substitutes for corn starch? Arrowroot powder, perhaps?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Heather, we’d suggest omitting it or perhaps potato starch? Let us know if you try it!

  14. Whitney says

    This looks delish! Does the cauliflower stay crispy after soaking it in the sauce and then back in the oven? Don’t want to ruin the crisp obtained with the cornstarch! Wondering if it would be better to put the sauce on at the very end.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Whitney, the cornstarch provides just a subtle crispiness (an air fryer might get it more crispy though!), while the sauce provides MEGA flavor and infuses into the cauliflower better with baking. So we wouldn’t recommend only adding at the end. Let us know how you like it!

  15. Ramae says

    This recipe looks wonderful, and I would love to try it. The chili garlic sauce in your link contains sodium bisulfite, which I avoid. Do you know of any more natural substitutions? Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ramae, you could sub more garlic and red pepper flakes. Let us know how it goes!

  16. Sandy says

    Hi, thanks for this great looking recipe. Can’t wait to try it but would arrowroot work instead of cornflour please?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sandy, We think it would be better to omit it in this one vs. using arrowroot. Hope you love it!

      • Sandy says

        Thanks for your reply. Any chance Tapioca starch would work please. Just love the idea of the crispiness but don’t eat corn.

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Sandy, it’s a subtle crispiness, which is why we think leaving it out would be fine. We think both tapioca and arrowroot would be prone to getting slimy because the cauliflower releases moisture. The next best alternative would probably be potato starch? Or using an air fryer or convection setting would help with crispiness too.

  17. Jenny says

    This sounds absolutely perfect! Do you think it will work with arrowrot starch instead of corn starch?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jenny, We think it would be better to omit it in this one vs. using arrowroot.

      • Kat - the other 1 says

        I have used a mix of almond flour and a little rice flour or potato starch (or whatever else was on hand) successfully with the buffalo “wings” , I don’t see why that wouldn’t work here.

        Ps.
        Instead of just serving with broccoli & pea pods, cook them in the sauce too! I can’t eat this recipe, but I’ve done the same with my version of the buffalo wings and was shocked that the broccoli was even better than the cauliflower! O.O

      • Heena says

        This was an easy and flavorful recipe, I added a pinch of 5 spice powder along with salt with before baking the cauliflower. I love cauliflower and this recipe took it to a whole new flavor level