This vegan gochujang cauliflower is a delicious pump-your-fist-in-the-air kind of delicious. I battered cauliflower florets in a spicy sauce with hits of deep umami flavors and a salty funk. We loved these flavor bombs served over rice!
I’m obsessed with this vegan gochujang cauliflower recipe. It’s so easy to make! The sauce clings well to the battered cauliflower, which is crispy on the outside and super soft on the inside. These vegan gochujang cauliflower wings are pleasantly spicy and feel so rich and bold with the soy sauce. It’s balanced out nicely with the sweetness of the agave and mirin.
The vinegar added at the very end balances out the sweet notes. Everything works so well in this sauce together. I want to put it on everything!
What is gochujang?
I’ve been craving gochujang lately. Gochujang is a Korean vegan condiment. Always check the label, but it’s typically vegan. It has a super-thick consistency and just makes me feel instantly happy. It’s made from gochugaru (red pepper powder), soybeans, sugar, rice and salt. These ingredients will vary based on the brand you purchase, but it’s almost always a naturally vegan food.
Gochujang is traditionally fermented over years in earthenware pots. During the fermentation process, the starches are converted to sugars, infusing the paste with a subtle sweetness. Some brands rely heavily on corn syrup to bypass this process.
The fermented soybeans give the paste its umami flavor while the chile peppers add heat to balance out the sweetness. It’s a perfect ingredient to build a sauce around! Check out my double-dredged tofu recipe for another way to enjoy gochujang!
How to make this recipe
This Korean gochujang cauliflower recipe is really easy and non-fussy. Here’s what I did:
- I whipped up a quick batter.
- I chopped a head of cauliflower into florets then dunked them into the batter to coat. Then I baked it until golden.
- While the florets baked, I simmered the gochujang and soy sauce over medium heat until thick, then added in rice vinegar.
- I then tossed the baked florets into the thick sauce and boom you have flavor bombs to serve over rice … delicious!
How to select a perfect head of cauliflower
I love cauliflower. It’s perfect sliced into steaks and battered, roasted and baked in a curry, roasted whole and pureed into soups. In your search for cauliflower, look for compact and bright white florets, no brown spots and crispy green leaves at the base. Kind of like this beauty!
In addition to the cauliflower, this recipe has two components: the batter and sauce. Both are easy to whip up. Make your batter and sauce while your cauliflower bakes.
For the batter
Rice flour: This adds some lightness to the batter. Rice flour is naturally gluten-free, and you can experiment with combining it with a gluten-free, all-purpose flour if you are avoiding gluten in your diet.
Double Zero (00) flour: This is durum wheat, very finely ground. It adds some body to the batter. It’s also great for pizza crusts!
Cornstarch: This is going to work with the lightness of the rice flour, strength of the 00 flour and add some crispiness and crunch.
For the Sauce
Gochujang: This super-umami Korean paste is going to add an explosion of flavor to this dish. It’s deeply crimson, pleasantly spicy and super rich.
Soy sauce: This adds more umami and beautiful saltiness to the sauce. I love both of these sauces separately but, when combined, they both become even more magical!
Agave: This is going to slightly caramelize when heated, adding a little bit of sweetness to balance out the salt and umami. It will help thicken the sauce, so it clings perfectly to the cauliflower.
Can I deep-fry this recipe?
You sure can! Baking is obviously easier and instructions for that are on the recipe card below. But I’m also including instructions here for deep-frying, which is heavenly. To deep-fry, you’ll want to follow this batter recipe and instructions:
Fry Batter Ingredients
- 1/2 cup white rice flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 to 1 cup cold fizzy water
- canola oil, for frying
- Combine the flours, cornstarch and salt. Slowly add in the 3/4 cup of fizzy water. Stir until smooth. You want the batter to be smooth but thick enough to cling to the cauliflower. Add an additional 1/4 cup of water if needed.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the cauliflower florets. Allow them to boil and soften for a few minutes.
- Using a skimmer or tongs, remove the florets from the water. Place onto a dish towel.
- Fold the towel over the florets. Gently press down on the cauliflower to get rid of some of the moisture.
- Transfer the florets into the batter. Using your hands, very gently coat them. Set aside.
- Place several inches of canola oil into a heavy pot over medium-high heat. After about 7 minutes, throw a pinch of batter into the pot. If it bubbles immediately, you are ready to fry.
- Working in small batches*, drop the battered florets into the hot oil. Using a skimmer, gently stir to ensure the batter doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Allow the florets to fry for a few minutes until golden. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
*It’s important that you work in small batches here—overcrowding the pot will reduce the temperature of the oil resulting in soggy, greasy florets. Keep the temperature between 350 and 375, using a fry thermometer if you need to.
Once fried, toss your deep-fried florets into the gochujang sauce and serve over rice!
How to serve this vegan gochujang cauliflower wings recipe
This recipe is perfect over rice, with chopped scallions, sesame seeds and crushed peanuts if you’d like. It can be the main dish for two or an appetizer for four. Serve it piping hot!
For more cauliflower recipes, check these ideas out!
Hungry for more recipe ideas using cauliflower? These cauliflower recipes are great ways to prep and serve this vegetable. Baked, fried or pureed, cauliflower is so versatile and delicious!
- Craving curry? This Cauliflower and Mushroom Curry recipe will satisfy! This is a great dish to prep on the weekend so you can enjoy it as a quick and easy weeknight dinner. It tastes best as leftovers!
- This gluten-free Firecracker Cauliflower is one of my favorites! Roast an entire head of cauliflower doused in a spicy firecracker sauce and slice open for a heavenly dish.
- Looking for some crunch? Check out this Vegan Bang Bang Cauliflower and prepare yourself for crispy cauliflower florets that are baked, not fried!
- I love this General Tso’s Cauliflower recipe, because the cauliflower is incredibly crispy and the tasty sauce clings so well to it.
This vegan gochujang cauliflower is easy to make and delicious! It’s inspired by Bon Appétit’s Sticky and Spicy Baked Cauliflower. This sauce is thick and clingy, and the cauliflower is the perfect texture inside, and slightly crispy on the outside. This gochujang cauliflower wings recipe is baked, but can also be deep fried. See those instructions for that in the blog post!
for the batter
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1/2 cup double zero (00) or all-purpose flour
- 3 TB cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- cooking spray
- one medium-sized head of cauliflower, chopped into florets (Bigger sized florets works well here. Try make the pieces as uniform as possible. This should make 4–5 cups of florets.)
for the gochujang sauce
- 1/3 cup vegan gochujang paste
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 TB agave syrup
- 2 TB mirin
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp rice vinegar (don’t add until the very end)
- cooked rice (see Notes)
- chopped scallions
- sesame seeds
- crushed peanuts (optional)
to make the cauliflower
- Preheat oven to 425. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the flours, cornstarch, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Add in the water and whisk to combine.
- Dump the florets into the batter, tossing them around with your hands to coat them evenly. Pick each piece up about an inch from the batter and give it a good, rigorous shake to get rid of any excess batter.
- Transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with all of the floret pieces.
- Spray the tops of each floret well with cooking spray.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Flip, then spray the other side with more cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes more.
- While you are waiting for the other side to bake, make your sauce.
to make the sauce
- Whisk the gochujang, soy sauce, agave, mirin and water in a small bowl.
- Pour into a wide, non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Simmer for 5-7 minutes, whisking occasionally until thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vinegar.
- Place the baked florets straight into the skillet and toss gently to coat. You may need to tip to the side and use a spoon to toss over the florets to evenly coat.
- Spoon rice onto two serving plates. Place the florets on top and garnish as desired.
If using a rice cooker, drizzle a few drops of oil into the rice before cooking. This will prevent the rice from sticking together as it cooks.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baked, Simmered
- Cuisine: Korean, American
Keywords: gochujang cauliflower, spicy cauliflower, baked cauliflower, gochujang cauliflower wings,