Healthy Kung Pao Cashew Cauliflower {gluten free, dairy free, soy free}

Appetizers & Side Dishes

Healthy Kung Pao cashew cauliflower is a fun and flavorful way to prepare cauliflower! It’s reminiscent of Chinese take-out orange chicken, but is way healthier and easy to make at home! This recipe is gluten free, dairy free and soy free because I used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. 

I often crave Asian food but don’t always want to be ordering out, plus Asian take-out is notorious for being high in salt and I can totally tell the next day because I feel super dehydrated after eating it!

It’s definitely a once in a while treat and for all the other times I’m a huge fan of  making an Asian stir fry with lots of veggies and dishes like this kung pao cashew cauliflower that don’t skimp on taste but also provide good nutrition! You almost have to do a double take because once the cauliflower is cooked and tossed with the sauce it really does look like chicken!

I think it’s safe to say that cauliflower has had the biggest glow up of the decade and I’m totally still here for it! Growing up my mom would serve cauliflower that was steamed with breadcrumbs on top and I remember hating it because steaming it made the whole house smell like farts (downsides of cooking cauliflower!) and I just didn’t like the taste at all.

Fast-forward to now and I’ll do cauliflower almost any way, especially like this with tangy Asian flavors in this recipe!

healthy kung pao cashew cauliflower

Ingredients for Kung Pao Cashew Cauliflower

  • head of cauliflower or 2 cups of cauliflower florets
  • coconut aminosthis is my favorite substitute for soy sauce. It has an extremely similar taste and actually does not taste like coconut at all. Coconut aminos have less sodium than soy sauce and is gluten and soy free (some soy sauces contain gluten so make sure you read the label if you’re avoiding gluten or intolerant!).
  • sesame seed oil
  • rice wine vinegar
  • cornstarch or arrowroot powder 
  • fresh garlic
  • fresh ginger
  • sesame seeds
  • green onion 


soy free kung pao cauliflower

How to Eat Kung Pao Cashew Cauliflower

Serve by itself as a side dish, or pair with other vegetables like peppers and pea pods in a stir fry. It would also be awesome served with salmon that was marinaded in coconut aminos, ginger, lemon and garlic!

I’m also planning on trying it in Asian-inspired fish tacos, and will keep you posted on how that turns out too!

Cauliflower is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. Since it is a cruciferous vegetable it may be harder to digest for some, causing bloating and gas. I find that eating it cooked vs. raw really helps me to better digest any cruciferous vegetable like cauliflower, broccoli, or Brussel Sprouts.

Be sure to follow me in Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at how I make this recipe and all of the recipes you see on Instagram and this blog!

Cashew Cauliflower

Kung Pao Cashew Cauliflower

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
If you love Asian food and flavors you will definitely love this tangy kung pao cashew cauliflower dish! It makes for the perfect party side dish too! 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 cups


  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 2 tbsp. coconut aminos
  • 1 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 scallions
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted cashews
  • 1 tbsp white or black sesame seeds


  • In a small bowl whisk together rice wine vinegar, cornstarch or arrowroot starch and soy sauce. Set aside.
  • Remove leaves and cut cauliflower into small to medium florets. Heat olive oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high. Add cauliflower and cook tossing occasionally, until some of the pieces have browned edges and the cauliflower is soft, about 7–9 minutes.*
  • Add the soy sauce mixture to the cauliflower and coat completely. Stir together on low heat. You will start to see the sauce thicken. 
  • Continue cooking and add sesame oil, garlic, fresh ginger and cashews. Continue stirring so that the cauliflower is well covered for about 3-4 more minutes. 
  • Remove from heat, add to bowl and top with scallions, sesame seeds. Enjoy! 


* I put a cover on the pan for some of the time to ensure the cauliflower would soften in the inside. 

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