Skip to Content

Vegan Orange Chicken

$5.77 Recipe/$1.44 Serving

Orange cauliflower is the vegan version of the classic Chinese take out dish orange chicken. Crispy cauliflower is coated in a sticky sweet and spicy orange sauce. This is the perfect way to indulge in your take out cravings! The cauliflower is baked not fried and this vegan orange chicken is also gluten free!

Chopsticks holidng a piece of orange cauliflower.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Easy to make: This recipe is quick and simple and cuts out many of the time consuming steps in other recipes. Get everything you love about orange chicken: crispy cauliflower + sweet and spicy sauce without any extra steps!
  • Great way to get in more veggies! If you have a picky eater in the house, this is a great way to get them to eat more veggies!
  • Satisfy that take out craving! This cauliflower orange chicken is baked not fried and is much healthier than take out options! Although it may take more work, the end product is worth it, especially if you are trying to eat healthier.
  • Quick and simple! This recipe is very simple to follow. Many of the other orange cauliflower recipes require you to batter each indivdual piece of cauliflower at a time. I don’t have time for that and I’m guessing you don’t either!
Ingredients to make orange cauliflower.
This post contains affiliate links. As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Click here to read my policy and more about affiliate links.

Ingredients

Crispy Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower – you want to make sure you cut the cauliflower florets into bite size pieces. Try to make them all a similar size so they cook evenly.
  • Oat flour – oat flour is made from ground up oats. You can easily make it at home if needed. It’s a bit denser than traditional flour. If you don’t have any, you can use any gluten free flour you have on hand.
  • Almond flour – almond flour provides some texture to the batter and helps create a crispy crust on the cauliflower. If you don’t have almond flour or cannot tolerate nuts, you can instead use gluten free panko breadcrumbs or breadcrumbs instead. You will want to drop the battered cauliflower in a separate bowl of breadcrumbs instead of mixing them in to the batter like you do the almond flour.
  • Dairy free milk – use any unsweetened dairy free milk you have on hand to help make the batter.
  • Salt and garlic powder – these help flavor the cauliflower so they are delicious even without the orange sauce.

Orange Sauce

  • Orange juice – I used organic orange juice from the grocery store, I don’t typically have freshly squeezed on hand but if you do, the flavor will be even more intensely orange.
  • Coconut aminos (or soy sauce) – these help to give the sauce a good balance so that it’s not overly sweet.
  • Rice wine vinegar – vinegar helps to also cut the sweetness of the dish while also helping to intensify the flavors.
  • Maple syrup (or honey) – this is to add more sweetness to the orange juice. Be sure to really stir well if you decide to use honey to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the sauté pan and burn.
  • Spices: Ginger powder, red pepper flakes and salt – you could also use fresh ginger but I don’t always have that on hand and didn’t want to add another ingredient you had to remember at the store. If you use fresh, you will want 1-2 tablespoons depending on how much ginger you like. Red pepper flakes add some spice to the sauce. If you need it to be very mild for children, you can omit and add them at the end to your own dish.
  • Arrowroot powder (or tapioca or cornstarch) + water – arrowroot is a thickener and will quickly make your orange sauce thick and sticky. You have to be careful when adding arrowroot to hot sauces, as it will clump if it’s not first dissolved in room temperature water. That is why you are always advised to make a slurry – water mixed with arrowroot power and whisked until there are no lumps before adding it to the hot sauce.

How to make vegan orange cauliflower

Start by preheating the oven to 425F.

Next cut the cauliflower off the stalk and into bite size florets. Remember it’s best if they are all a similar size.

Cauliflower florets cut into equal pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, almond flour, dairy free milk, salt and garlic powder. Stir well. It will be thick.

Batter for crispy cauiflower before and after stirring.

Add the cauliflower florets to the batter and stir well, working hard to coat as many of the cauliflower florets as possible.

Cauliflower florets before and after mixing in batter.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray it with avocado oil or olive oil spray. Add the cauliflower florets to the baking sheet. Take the time to separate each floret so it can get crispy, don’t overcrowd the baking sheet.

Coated cauliflower florets on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Bake at 425F for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, remove the cauliflower from the oven and carefully flip each one over so it can brown on both sides. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.

Crispy cauliflower pieces after baking before adding sauce.

While the cauliflower is baking a second time, make the orange sauce.

In a medium size skillet, combine all the orange sauce ingredients and stir well. Turn the stove onto medium low heat and allow the orange sauce mixture to come up to a simmer.

Orange sauce before and after stirring.

In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot flour and water, stir well to ensure there are no lumps.

Once the orange sauce mixture is simmering well, add the arrowroot slurry and whisk immediately. I like to actually start whisking while stirring in the arrowroot slurry to ensure no lumps are formed. Cook 1-2 more minutes until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. You should be able to run a spoon through the center and the sauce not quickly run back together. Once you get to this point, turn off the heat.

Orange sauce after cooking with line down center to show thickness of sauce.

When the cauliflower is done baking, add it to a large bowl and pour the orange sauce over top. Toss well to coat the cauliflower.

Crispy cauliflower after being tossed with orange sauce in large silver bowl.

Once coated in sauce, return the cauliflower to the baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes to ensure it’s crispy, crunchy and full of flavor.

Orange cauliflower after baking.

Let the cauliflower rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the sugars in the orange sauce to harden to make an even crispier crust. Serve with rice and additional orange sauce if desired.

get my 10 greatest recipes ebook by signing up for my newsletterGET 10 OF MY ALL TIME GREATEST RECIPES
IN THIS FREE EBOOK

Top tips

  • If you love a saucy orange chicken, double the orange sauce and reserve half for plating. Drizzle the additional sauce on right before serving.
  • Be sure to take the time to cut the cauliflower florets into similar size pieces so they cook at the same time. Otherwise, you could have pieces that burn while others are undercooked.
  • If you want a thinner batter, increase the milk up to ¾ cup. You will need to spoon out the cauliflower with a slotted spoon to ensure you are not putting extra batter on the baking sheet. This requires more steps but may produce a more uniform coating on the cauliflower.
  • Be sure to make the arrowroot slurry with room temperature water so that the arrowroot does not get clumpy.
  • When whisking in the arrowroot slurry into the hot orange sauce, start whisking the sauce before adding in any of the slurry. This helps to ensure you don’t get any lumps. The sauce will start to thicken quickly so don’t walk away and continue to stir.
Orange cauliflower over rice in a white bowl.

Other additions

  • More spice: You can add 1-2 teaspoons of sriracha to the orange sauce to get a different kind of heat to the sauce besides the red pepper flakes.
  • Veggies: If you want to add even more veggies, you can saute red, yellow or orange bell peppers and onion in a separate sauté pan and add them at the end for more veggies. Coat them in the extra orange sauce if you make it
  • Fresh garlic – you can add fresh garlic to the orange sauce if you wish. I find that fresh garlic can sometimes overpower a dish, especially if it burns while you are cooking it. You will want to quickly saute the garlic before adding the rest of the orange sauce ingredients to the saute pan. If you have fresh ginger, you can saute it along with the garlic.

What to serve this with

Vegan orange chicken on jasmine rice in a bowl.

How to make your own oat flour

Making your own oat flour is quick and simple. Add rolled oats or quick cooking oats to a high speed blender. Blend on high until the oats resemble a fine powder. You may need to stop and shake the blender a few times to ensure all the oats are finely ground. You can pour this through a sieve or fine mesh strainer to get out any large pieces that didn’t get finely ground. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Storing leftovers

Fridge: This vegan orange chicken dish is best made fresh or reheated in the oven or air fryer to get the crispy coating back. The coating will get soggy in the fridge. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Freezer: I do not recommend freezing this since the cauliflower will be soggy when defrosting.

To reheat

  • Oven: Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and heat at 425F for 5 minutes.
  • Air fryer: 375F for 3-4 minutes until crispy.

Substitutions

  • Coconut aminos- these are a soy free, gluten free substitution for soy sauce. Coconut aminos tend to be a bit sweeter than soy sauce as well. You can use gluten free tamari or soy sauce in place of coconut aminos. Note you may need to add 1 more tablespoon of maple syrup since these are not as sweet as the coconut aminos.
  • Rice wine vinegar – rice wine vinegar is traditionally used in many Chinese inspired dishes. You could also use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • Maple syrup – as I mentioned, you could also use honey in place of maple syrup. You will want to be sure to stir the orange sauce well to ensure the honey doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. I have also made this with date paste and it was very good.
  • Ground ginger – you can use fresh ginger (about 1 tablespoon) in place of ground ginger. I recommend you grate it on a microplane so that you do not bite down on big chunks of ginger.
  • Cauliflower – if you don’t have cauliflower, you could try this with extra firm tofu (vegan) or chicken. I have not tried this but the method would be similar. Be sure to cut these into bite size pieces before coating/cooking.
  • Oat flour – oat flour is very inexpensive, especially when you make it on your own and it’s very filling, which can make this vegan orange chicken more filling. If you do not have oat flour or cannot tolerate oats, you can use whatever your favorite gluten free flour is (not coconut flour or the batter will be too thick).
  • Almond flour – if you cannot tolerate almonds or do not have almond flour, you can use gluten free breadcrumbs or gluten free panko breadcrumbs in place of the almond flour. Instead of mixing it into the batter, you will want to first toss the cauliflower in the oat flour/milk batter and then carefully transfer it to a separate bowl with the breadcrumbs to form a crust on the outside.
  • Dairy free milk – use whatever milk you typically drink/cook with. You could also use regular milk if you can tolerate it or water if needed.
Vegan orange chicken in a bowl with chopsticks picking up a piece.

If you love this recipe, you should try

★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
Bowl filled with vegan orange cauliflower.

Vegan Orange Chicken

$5.77 Recipe/$1.44 Serving
Orange cauliflower is made with baked crispy cauliflower coated in a sticky sweet and spicy orange sauce. Easy to make and packed with flavor! Gluten free, vegetarian and naturally sweetened.
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: orange cauliflower, vegan orange chicken, vegetarian orange chicken
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Rest time: 5 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Crispy Cauliflower

Orange Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Cut the cauliflower florets from the stem. Cut the florets into bite size pieces, trying to keep them equal sizes if possible.
  • In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, almond flour, dairy free milk, salt and garlic powder. Sitr well.
  • Add the cauliflower to the batter in the bowl and stir well. Try to coat as many of the cauliflower florets as possible with the batter.
  • Put a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spray with avocado oil or olive oil spray.
  • Pour the coated cauliflower onto the baking sheet, trying not to get any excess batter from the bowl on the tray. Take the time to space out each individual piece of cauliflower so they can brown without steaming.
  • Bake at 425F for 25 minutes.
  • After 25 minutes, remove from the oven and flip each piece of cauliflower. Return to the oven and bake 10 more minutes.
  • While cauliflower is baking, make the orange sauce. Combine all the ingredients except the arrowroot and water in a medium skillet.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium low heat.
  • While the sauce is coming up to a simmer, combine the water and arrowroot flour in a small bowl. Stir well to ensure there are no lumps.
  • Once the orange sauce is simmering, begin to whisk it as you pour in the arrowroot slurry you just made. Stir well. Cook 1-2 more minutes until the sauce is thick. Be sure to turn off the sauce when it reaches the consistency you like or it will continue to thicken.
  • Remove the cauliflower from the oven. Carefully transfer cauliflower to a large bowl. Pour orange sauce over the cauliflower and stir well.
  • Once cauliflower is well coated, return the cauilflower back to the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cook for 10 more minutes at 425F.
  • After baking, allow the vegan orange chicken to cool at least 5 minutes to let the coating get extra crispy.

Notes

Tips:
  • If you love a saucy orange chicken, double the orange sauce and reserve half for plating. Drizzle the additional sauce on right before serving.
  • If you want a thinner batter, increase the milk up to ¾ cup. You will need to spoon out the cauliflower with a slotted spoon to ensure you are not putting extra batter on the baking sheet. This requires more steps but may produce a more uniform coating on the cauliflower.
  • Be sure to make the arrowroot slurry with room temperature water so that the arrowroot does not get clumpy.
  • When whisking in the arrowroot slurry into the hot orange sauce, start whisking the sauce before adding in any of the slurry. This helps to ensure you don’t get any lumps. The sauce will start to thicken quickly so don’t walk away and continue to stir.
Storing leftovers
  • Fridge: This vegan orange chicken dish is best made fresh or reheated in the oven or air fryer to get the crispy coating back. The coating will get soggy in the fridge. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: I do not recommend freezing this as the cauliflower will get soggy when defrosting. 
To reheat
  • Oven: Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and heat at 425F for 5 minutes.
  • Air fryer: 375F for 3-4 minutes until crispy.
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
269
Fat
 
10
g
Carbohydrates
 
40
g
Fiber
 
6
g
Sugar
 
16
g
Protein
 
10
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?Let others know by rating and leaving a comment below!

Recipe Rating