This recipe for Orange Cauliflower is a vegetarian’s solution to the apparently amazing Orange chicken that is available at Panda Express. A sweet and sour (tending towards sweet) sauce flavored with freshly squeezed orange juice… new realms of joy!

Orange Cauliflower

Blogging has been a roller-coaster ride for me. I know I know. Life itself is a roller-coster ride and the one who meets ups and downs with the same gusto emerges the winner. Blah blah blah! The meeting with same gusto thing is much easier said than done especially for someone like me who explodes with emotions at the drop of a hat! There’s one day when I am jumping up with joy and am sharing joyful news of magazine publication like this. And then there are days when it takes every ounce of energy in my body to post a recipe because I am not sure if anybody but my mom reads it (I can as well tell her that over the phone right?!)

Vegan Orange Chicken

That gets me thinking. Would I enjoy the process of blogging if it were to be an overnight star? If I did not have to work so hard to put my best out there and wait for the results to show up? Meh! I am not saying that I can remain calm through the ups and downs. I am saying that I am going to cry and sulk through the lows and party through the highs. There is no reason to remain calm. I am going to strap myself tight, ride the waves and surf through the medley of emotions (Yo Baby!)

Vegetarian Orange Chicken

Echoing my style of living it up is the recipe for Orange Cauliflower (Panda Express makes only Orange Chicken. Why should non vegetarians have all the fun?!) Succulent pieces of cauliflower tossed in a sauce which is……. You got it! A medley! A melodic  medley of flavours! if you can’t wait.dive into it and enjoy it as an appetizer (like the popular Indian gobi manchurian) or have it with rice as a side and finish your meal!

Vegetarian Orange Chicken

So, enjoy homemade take-out food with this recipe for 

Orange Cauliflower 


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 2-3



  • 1 medium sized cauliflower broken into florets (made approx. 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup diced bell peppers (Mixed colors)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (maida)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water (to make a batter)
  • Oil for frying + 1 tbsp
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (Or any other red chili paste/sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp green onion, thinly sliced


  1. Heat oil for frying
  2. In another pan, heat half tbsp. oil and add the diced peppers. Sauté them for a min or 2 until they turn golden. Make sure that you are not overcooking the peppers. Set aside once they are done.
  3. Mix the corn starch and all-purpose flour with a pinch of salt and water to make a thick batter.
  4. The batter should be thick enough to coat the cauliflower florets evenly.
  5. Dip each cauliflower floret into the batter and add them into hot oil for frying.
  6. Fry them in batches so as to not overcrowd the pan.
  7. Once the batter covering the florets turns crisp, drain them out of the oil and place them on paper towels.
  8. Once you are done frying all the florets, you have to keep them crisp until you are ready to toss them in the sauce. You can do this either by keeping them warm in a pre-heated oven or re-frying them in hot oil for just a min before adding them into the sauce.
  9. For the sauce, heat 1/2 tbsp oil in the pan you roasted the peppers in. Add minced ginger and garlic.
  10. Sauté them for a min until they turn golden. Add the orange zest in.
  11. Add the broth, orange juice, sriracha, soy sauce, sugar and mix well.
  12. Meanwhile, mix 2 tbsp of corn starch in water to make a thin paste.
  13. Once the broth-orange mixture begins to boil, lower the heat. Add the crushed black pepper and salt (if required only)
  14. Add the corn starch paste into the boiling mixture in a slow steady stream. Make sure you are constantly stirring the simmering mixture with your other hand while adding the corn flour paste.
  15. Once the mixture thickens, toss in the fried cauliflower and the sautéed bell peppers.
  16. Mix well and increase the heat up a notch. Heat for a min or 2.
  17. Transfer it to a serving dish and garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

My Take:

If the oranges you have used are too sweet, add about 2 tbsp white vinegar into the sauce while the mixture is boiling.

If the oranges you have used are too sour, add a little more sugar to suit your taste.

Use a minimum amount of salt and only if required.

Yummily Yours'


Note: Recipe for Orange sauce adapted from Damn Delicious

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  1. I love this vegetarian version! Looks so delicious!

  2. A divine recipe. Looks scrumptious.

  3. This recipe looks sooooo good! I have seen Tofu version of the Orange Chicken recipe but they are not well done. Cauliflower, on the other hand, is a wonderful choice! Do you think this recipe will work just as well with store bought orange juice?

    • Thank you Rini! I think the store bought juice should be a good replacement, specially the 100% natural ones (as opposed to the ones from concentrate).

    • I know this is an old post but just in case someone wanders, I used Florida’s Natural and although I found it a little bit more tangy than the regular Orange chicken it still turned out delicious. I also added just a bit more of the sriracha.

  4. This looks amazing! I had no idea that it, in fact was not orange chicken and instead cauliflower. I used to love the orange chicken at Panda Express, but I don’t eat there anymore and this looks like a great alternative!

  5. Amazing. I love this type of sauce. Who would have ever thought to use cauliflower. So much better than using tofu.. thanks pinning this for later.

  6. This really does look so delicious! I haven’t had Chinese food in AGES, and I really do love the takeaway stuff – when I’m in the right mood it doesn’t matter how greasy and unhealthy it is, I gobble it anyway. Only trouble is, I wouldn’t be able to actually MAKE it, I can only manage it if I haven’t seen what’s gone into it… I’d love to give your recipe a shot though, it sounds delectable AND healthy:D

  7. Wondering if anyone has tried this with gluten free all purpose flour and if it turns out well. I’d love to try it if I can find a suitable flour.

    • Hey Kate, I think this option might work. Replace the 1/4 cup all-pupose flour with less 1/4 cup Garbanzo bean flour. It is easily available at any Indian store sold by the name Besan. It is commonly used to make Indian fritters and serves the same purpose of coating the veg.

  8. Just wanted you to know that someone read it and I cant wait to try this, it looks and sounds amazing!!!

  9. fabulous recipe, I’ll be making this for supper one evening this week. Just a question though, in direction 11 you say add the ‘sriracha’..what is that?

    • Hey Annie, Sriracha is just a kind of a hot chili paste. I forgot to mention it in the ingredient list. I have mentioned it now. You can substitute it with any other chili sauce or fresh chili paste too.

  10. Can’t wait to try this one.looks delicious.

  11. How much sriracha? I don’t see it in the ingredients list. I’m definitely going to make this. Finding out about using cauliflower for Buffalo “chicken” was one of the happiest days ever!

    • Hey Susan, Thanks for pointing that out 🙂 Just updated the ingredient list. You an increase or decrease the quantity to suit your taste. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

  12. Is it just me or is there a hair in the last photo to the left?? Anyways it looks amazing!! Thanks for sharing I will have to try it!! <3

    • You’ve got a keen eye Ashley! 😀 Call it beginner’s errors or photographic circus to capture the right shot, my hair dropped into the bowl. Lol but I promise it did not contribute to the taste 😛 I have replaced it with a photo without the beauty! 🙂

  13. It sounds good. I wonder if I could skip the soy sauce and still have it taste good. I’m sensitive to the soy and can’t have it anymore. I sure miss Chinese food!

    • Hi Timaree, Sure, you can skip the soy sauce altogether. Add a little bit of salt + 1/2 tsp of vinegar to replace it. You will not realize the absence of soy in taste!

  14. Absolutely phenomenal!! Made this recipe with rice flour, macadamia oil and coconut sugar! Delicious!!! Even better than the chicken version! Kudos to you Prash! Well done:) Thanks so much for sharing:)

    • Thank you Jamie. I am happy you shared your feedback 🙂

      • Hi,
        i cant wait to make this version ..especially since i am you have any idea if we could make this without frying…how do we bake the what temp..thnx

        • Hi Deepika,
          Although I have not made this recipe with baked cauliflower, I see no reason that baking wouldn’t work. Try baking for about 30-45 minutes at 350 F. Although, Please do check on them and increase/decrease time accordingly. I have provided you with a guess that I would use if I were to try baking in this recipe.
          Hope this helps 🙂

  15. Can I say one ginormous thank you !!!! This was amazing !!! You are a genius lol. Can you tell I liked it ALOT haha . Followed recipe to a t but I am thinking some pineapple chunks in this would really kick it up and maybe even just over steamed couliflower could work for a quick version and less oil can’t wait to make again

  16. The sauce turned out well, and overall it tastes okay, I didn’t have any chili paste so added ground chili so maybe that’s why it tastes under seasoned, but when I fried the cauliflower it didn’t get crispy, the batter just gelled. I’m going to try this again but with a different batter mixture

    • Hi Sierra,
      About the seasoning for the sauce,
      1) May be that’s the reason. no two chili varieties taste the same. You know the heat/spice levels of the chili you have at home. You would be the best judge.
      2) Seasoning is a personal choice. Some could want more, some less. The recipe gives a general platform acceptable to most (Pl customize to suit your taste).

      About the batter,
      1) you have make a thick pancake like batter to evenly coat the florets.
      2) drop them in 1 at a time to avoid a mass gelling
      3) you have to fry it completely. Half way through always appears more gelled and it absorbs way more oil than when fully fried.
      4) If you are unable to work with the batter, (consistency varies with brands), add another tbsp or 2 of all purpose flour. You could also try adding garbanzo bean flour (besan) which helps in making it crispier.

      Hope this helps 🙂


  18. Unnati Kathrani

    Lovely recipe

  19. Just posted cookies and my tantrum about oranges!!! So happy to see this dish… I can use at least a few oranges this way ;)Having cauliflower on hand too… Let me make it today itself… Will get back to you by tmrw with a pic <3

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  21. Tried this this evening, it turned out great! My husband “loved it” which was surprising to hear him say about a vegetarian dish! Will definitely make this again in the future!!

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  24. This dish is amazing! My aunt made it for my birthday and I was in heaven. I saved and reheated the leftovers in a 400 degree convectional oven. It got crispy in spots. Even not as crispy it was still to die for!

  25. I LOVED the sauce (I used Tapatio sauce instead of sriracha). I battered , bread crumbed and baked my cauliflower and it completely satisfied my craving for orange chicken. THANK YOU

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  30. So the cauliflowers are raw?

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  32. I just tried this today, and I have to say, I LOVE it! The cauliflower is delicious fried, crispy outside and soft inside. I found myself nibbling on just the fried cauliflower while I was making the sauce. Wonderful recipe. Thank you!

  33. Yowsers is this a good recipe, I love it but as a few others have said very difficult not to munch on the cauliflower before bringing the dish together!

  34. Pingback: Orange cauliflower(a vegetarian’s orange chicken) | Vegetarian Recipes & Ideas

  35. This was delicious. I ended up adding some more orange juice concentrate to give it a little more oranginess (pretty sure that’s not a word, oh well), and the recipe was a little involved, but it was worth the effort!! The batter had such a great chewiness around the cauliflower that my daughter, who hadn’t been told that it was cauliflower, had to ask what she was eating; she thought at first it was chicken, but knew the consistency couldn’t be right 🙂 Even my son, who doesn’t like “replacement” type meals said it was delicious; he says he still would’ve preferred chicken, but I think if he hadn’t seen the cauliflower when we were cooking it, he too would’ve had no idea.
    For me, that’s a win!! Thank you for sharing!!


  37. This looks amazing! I wrote down the recipe, I have a head of cauliflower in my fridge (never cooked cauliflower before), super excited! Thanks for the amazing recipe. 🙂

  38. I made this tonight and it was absolutely fantastic!! What an amazing recipe, I can’t believe it was cauliflower.
    Thanks so much!


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  41. Thank you so much! Made this for my wife last night and it was hit!
    Dan & Maritza at Healthy Gardnen Life
    link on our site

    • You are a sweet husband Dan 🙂 Thank you for the feedback. I checked the photograph on your blog and it was goood 🙂

  42. Looks like a nice recipe. I make something similar but with broccoli! It’s amazingly delicious!

  43. This is going to be attempted by me, oh yes it is! “Get in my belly!” Thank you for this recipe. I’ll let you know how ours comes out.

    • Ha ha, you have such an amusing way of expressing 🙂 Thank you Amybeth, I’ll look forward to your feedback 🙂

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  45. I made this for the first time tonight and it truly taste just like the real thing. Thank You so much even my 10 year old kid liked it.

  46. Hi,
    I just made this for dinner and it was AMAZING. I have never had a batter turn out so crispy. Thank you. I even got a compliment from my husband who is hard to impress.

  47. Made this last night and it was amazing! I put it over brown rice and added snow peas. Even my 4 year old loved it!

  48. Great recipe! I love how crispy the cauliflower turned out, it was my favorite part of the whole recipe. I think I now like batter-fried cauliflower better than batter-fried chicken! I tried some of the leftover cauliflower with hot sauce and some homemade ranch dressing, it was delicious.

  49. oh my! I just made it and I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to the chicken or tofu version ever again. It is delicious and so crispy!! Thank you so so much 🙂

  50. Hi,
    Its great. I would try and avoid frying bit as well. I will try and blanch and just toss the veggies in a tsp of oil on high to retain the crunch. will use the millet flour to get the slurry effect. will let you know how it turns out.

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  53. Can you bake the cauliflower instead of frying it? If you want to watch the oil calories?

  54. Just made this tonight! It was amazing! My family isn’t vegan only me and they loved it so much! I did add a little extra siracha and used arrowroot instead of cornstarch. Absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for this recipe!

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  58. Renee Wilson-Wright

    Tried this tonite with both cauliflower and chicken, neither my husband or myself are vegetarian so I just did both. It turned out wonderfully. Thank you.

  59. I’ve made this two days in a row now, it’s absolutely a hit!!! I decided to go vegan last month and have tried new recipes almost every day, but this has been the number 1. I followed your recipe to a T and it’s just perfect. Usually I like to add/subtract/substitute ingredients to recipes, but with this one there is just no need. Thank you for the perfect dish!

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