This recipe for crispy baked “popcorn-style” cauliflower nuggets with sweet and sour or chili sauce may remind of classic Asian chicken nuggets, but it’s healthier, lower in calories, and just as delicious! So if you’re looking for a healthy vegan snack, these easy veggie nuggets are perfect!
Crispy Baked Popcorn Cauliflower Nuggets
Not only are these delicious veggie nuggets perfect as finger food for a cozy movie night, but they’re also ideal as a party appetizer or side dish for any other day! You’ll only need a few minutes to prepare the breading and pop the florets in the oven.
Serve them alongside broccoli cheese nuggets, zucchini fries, and a variety of dips, and you’ve quickly whipped up a delicious, low-carb vegan party food platter for your friends!
Healthier than the Classic
Sitting in front of your TV while watching your fave sports game or Netflix series is not complete without a finger-licking snack to go enjoy! And sometimes, we can get carried away with how much of these “not-so-good” treats you and your kids are taking. So it is always better to make healthy plant-based alternatives such as this one.
Cauliflower is a great source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, so this recipe is a great way to encourage your kids to eat healthier without all the drama! The florets are crisp and fresh-tasting, making them perfect for this popcorn-like nugget recipe.
Plus, this vegetable is relatively cheap and has less calories! So you can buy a bunch of heads and make more if you have guests coming over. Since these vegan nuggets are baked instead of deep-fried, you will also be consuming less fat, while eating something downright delicious and nutritious!
Ingredients for Crispy Cauliflower Nuggets with Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Cauliflower: I used 1 medium-sized head and cut them into bite-sized florets.
- Chickpea flour: this gluten-free flour is perfect for making the crunchy coating. You can also use all-purpose flour if that is what you have.
- Water: mixed with the flour to make a thick batter that will allow the breading to stick and not fall apart as the nuggets bake.
- Salt and black pepper: for seasoning.
- Panko breadcrumbs: make the breading super crunchy!
- Paprika powder: adds a mild flavor and great color to the nuggets.
- Sweet and Sour sauce: Try my quick and easy homemade recipe or my Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. Otherwise, you can also use store-bought ones if you already have them.
- Sesame seeds: for sprinkling. It adds pops of nuttiness and texture!
- Spring onions: for some freshness!
How to make Crispy Cauliflower Popcorn Nuggets
As always, I recommend checking out this step-by-step instruction and the recipe video first. Then you’ll find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Prep cauliflower and “vegan egg” batter
Start by dividing the cauliflower into small florets. Next, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, water, a little salt and pepper to form a batter. In another bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs with paprika powder for the breading.
Step 2: Coat cauliflower and bake!
Dip the cauliflower florets one after the other first in the batter, then roll them in the breadcrumbs and then place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 392 °F (200 °C) for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the florets, until tender.
Tip: Spray the florets with cooking spray before baking to make them extra crispy.
Step 3: Serve with sweet and sour sauce
While the cauliflower nuggets are baking, prepare the sweet and sour sauce (or make it ahead the day before).
Drizzle the baked cauliflower with the sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions. Enjoy!
Tips when Making Cauliflower Nuggets
- The baking time will depend on how big your florets are. Make sure to keep them as uniformly sized as possible so they all cook evenly.
- If you like the nuggets extra crispy, you can spray the florets with cooking spray before baking.
- You can make this recipe gluten-free by using a gluten-free breadcrumb brand.
- If you like to add more flavor to your nuggets, you can add nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan into the breading. You can also add other spices like Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder, or cayenne and chili powder.
- You can also make these nuggets in your air-fryer and get the same crisp, golden results.
- These are also great are party appetizers! If you are serving them to a big crowd, give them other dips like Vegan Sour Cream, Guacamole, Hummus, Vegan Raita, or Vegan Tzaziki.
Serving and Storing Notes
The cauliflower bites taste best when served immediately once they come out of the oven and are still hot and crispy. Leftovers can be kept covered or in an airtight container separated from the sauce. Then reheat in the oven before serving.
These Crispy Baked Cauliflower Nuggets are:
- Easy to make
- Oil-free (Low Fat)
- Low Carb
- Gluten-free possible
- Soy-free prossible
- Perfectly seasoned
- Golden and Crunchy
- Perfect for snacking!
More vegan recipes for crispy finger food snacks
- Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets
- Indian Samosas
- Burrito Samosas
- Sweet Potato Falafel
- Spring Rolls
- Turkish Borek
- Barbeque Cauliflower Wings
- Polenta Fries
- Chili Cheese Fries
- Vegan Fish Nuggets
If you try this recipe for crispy vegan cauliflower popcorn nuggets, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you take a photo of your dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your creations! Enjoy! 🙂
Crispy Baked Popcorn Cauliflower NuggetsAuthor:
- 1 medium head of cauliflower
- ⅔ cup (65 g) chickpea flour
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- ⅓ tsp each salt and black pepper
- ¾ cup (80 g) panko breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs, if needed
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 Recipe Sweet and Sour Sauce or Thai Sweet Chili Sauce or store-bought sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp spring onions chopped
*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step instructions above!
- Preheat the oven to 392 °F (200 °C) and divide the cauliflower into small florets.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, water, a little salt and pepper to form a batter. In another bowl, mix the panko breadcrumbs with the paprika.
- Dip the cauliflower florets one after the other first in the batter, then roll them in the breadcrumbs and then place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the florets, until tender. (Optionally, spray the florets with cooking spray before baking to make them extra crispy).
- Meanwhile, make the sweet and sour chili sauce (or prep it the day before).
- Drizzle the baked cauliflower with the sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.
- The cauliflower nuggets taste best when served immediately once they come out of the oven and are still crispy. Leftovers can be kept covered or in an airtight container separated from the sauce. Then reheat in the oven before serving.
- You can also serve these nuggets with dips like Vegan Sour Cream, Guacamole, Hummus, Vegan Raita, or Vegan Tzaziki.
- The nutritional information is calculated without sweet and sour sauce, as everyone uses different amounts or even other dips/sauces.
- More tips and information about the recipe are mentioned in the post above!
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