kung pao cauliflower

Kung Pao Cauliflower

  • Author: Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups


Elevate your cauliflower with sweet and tangy Asian flavors! Whether as a holiday side dish, for game day, or to simply try cauliflower in a new way, you’re sure to love it with kung pao flavor!


  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 scallions, dark-green and white parts separated, thinly sliced
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ¼ cup unsalted, peanuts or cashews
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • salt


  1. Stir wine, cornstarch, and 1 Tbsp. soy sauce in a medium bowl; set marinade aside.
  2. Stir hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and remaining 2 tsp. soy sauce in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Remove leaves and cut cauliflower into medium florets. Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high. Cook cauliflower, tossing occasionally, until browned in places and beginning to soften, 7–9 minutes.*
  4. Give reserved marinade a stir to reincorporate cornstarch and add cauliflower to bowl; toss to coat.
  5. Return cauliflower to wok with a slotted spoon; discard excess marinade. Cook cauliflower, tossing occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp-tender about 8–10 minutes. Add scallion whites, ginger, garlic, peanuts, and reserved sauce and cook, tossing often, until fragrant and cauliflower is tender, about 2 minutes. 
  6. Transfer to a bowl and enjoy!


* It can feel like this is taking a while but the cauliflower needs a lot of time to soften! It’s not as good if it’s still a little too hard.

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