Sticky Sesame Cauliflower

Battered, baked, and smothered in a sweet and spicy sesame sauce, this sticky sesame cauliflower is sure to be enjoyed by everyone!
Course appetizers, Asian
Cuisine gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian
Keyword sticky sesame cauliflower
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Total Yield 2 to 4 servings
Calories Per Serving 449 kcal
Author Yup, it's Vegan


For the baked cauliflower:

For the sticky sesame sauce:

  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil divided
  • 1/2 inch ginger minced or grated
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (to taste), minced or grated
  • 3 and 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar (or less, to taste)
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste like sriracha

For the sticky sesame cauliflower:

  • battered cauliflower (above)
  • sticky sesame sauce (above)
  • toasted sesame seeds for serving
  • chopped green onions for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, garlic powder, and salt. Add 1 cup of water and stir. Continue adding water 1 tablespoon at a time until a pancake batter-esque consistency is reached. You want batter that is thick enough to stay on a cauliflower floret but thin enough that you can easily shake off the excess. I usually need another couple of tablespoons of additional water.
  3. One by one, dip the cauliflower florets into the batter, gently shake off extra batter, and place them onto the baking sheet. Leave plenty of space between florets on the baking sheet so that they can get crispy. You may not be able to quite fit a whole head of cauliflower on two baking sheets.
  4. Bake the battered cauliflower for 20 minutes, rotate the position of the trays, and then bake for another 5-10 more minutes or until crispy and browned.
  5. Meanwhile, heat two teaspoons of the sesame oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and ginger and saute over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for about 60-90 seconds, or until the garlic and ginger are softened and fragrant.
  6. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir well. Continue cooking on medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and thickened slightly. Turn the heat to low and leave on the burner, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Stir in the remaining sesame oil just before mixing with the cauliflower. (I do this to make sure there's a nice noticeable sesame flavor).
  7. Once the cauliflower is done baking, use a spatula to gently mix it together with the sauce in a bowl or the saucepan if large enough. Spread it back out on the baking sheets, and return it to the oven for just 2-4 minutes, to thicken the sauce onto the cauliflower. Watch it carefully, as the sticky sesame sauce can burn quickly. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, sprinkled with sesame seeds and chopped green onions if desired.

Recipe Notes

The final result of this recipe will NOT be super crispy, but rather, sturdy yet tender after the sauce is added. I don't recommend eating it by hand.

Nutrition Facts
Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
Amount Per Serving (1 half recipe)
Calories 449 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 14%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Sodium 964mg 40%
Potassium 228mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 78g 26%
Dietary Fiber 8g 32%
Sugars 27g
Protein 16g 32%
Vitamin A 14%
Vitamin C 240%
Calcium 14%
Iron 27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.