Kung Pao Cauliflower – Vegan and Gluten Free


Vegan, Gluten Free Kung Pao Cauliflower served in a blue bowl

Look no further for a healthier Kung Pao Cauliflower recipe! I’m always looking for healthy new meat free dishes and I’ve definitely found one in this deliciously spiced dish. Tender crisp cauliflower, zucchini and red bell peppers are dressed in a spicy sweet sauce for a wholesome, satisfying dish that brings make your own take out to a whole new level.

I’m super enthusiastic about this dish for so many reasons! First of all, it is perfect for busy days because it comes together in about half an hour. Full of nutrition, it’s vegan and can be gluten free, and even some people who don’t like cauliflower will like it. I know this is a bold claim, but I make it with great confidence. I confess, cauliflower is not my favourite vegetable. However, I love this recipe! For some reason the sauce just lifts the flavour of the cauliflower and because it’s lightly cooked, the texture is more to my taste as well.

Why Choose Cauliflower?

Cauliflower is low in calories but high in vitamins, especially vitamin C. Fibre and protein make it the perfect choice if you are trying to stick to a healthy eating plan. It can even help regulate your blood pressure. Cauliflower‘s hearty texture make it perfect for vegan and vegetarian dishes too as it adds bulk as well as flavour and nutrients.

Vegan and Gluten Free Kung Pao Cauliflower served in a blue bowl

Hints and Tips for Making Kung Pao Cauliflower

This dish comes together really quickly, so be sure to get all your ingredients together before you start.

Don’t skip the first step of pre-cooking the cauliflower. It really doesn’t take long, and it means the dish cooks really quickly. Most important of all, the cauliflower comes out perfectly tender crisp instead of overly crunchy.

This is definitely a healthier, lower calorie version of many other Kung Pao Cauliflower recipes, as the cauliflower is not breaded or deep fried. The sauce is sweetened with a small amount of honey, so there is no refined sugar either. Be sure to use unsalted peanuts or the dish will be too salty.

Don’t forget to cook your rice or noodles!

Is Kung Pao Cauliflower Gluten Free?

Provided you use Tamari instead of soy sauce, and serve it over rice or gluten free noodles, Kung Pao Cauliflower is naturally gluten free.

Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or just trying to eat less meat like me, this delicious recipe makes dinner easy any night of the week!

Kung Pao Cauliflower – Printable Recipe

Kung Pao Cauliflower - vegan and gluten free - ready to serve

Kung Pao Cauliflower - Vegan and Gluten Free

Course Vegan
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword gluten free, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author adapted from a recipe by Ree Drummond


  • I large head of cauliflower, divided into small florets
  • 3 red peppers, de-seeded and chopped in squares
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut in half moons zucchini are also known as courgettes
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • cup soy sauce or Tamari use Tamari if you need the recipe to be gluten free
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Zest of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped red chilis, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger Fresh ginger is lovely, but I often used dried
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • cup peanuts, chopped plus extra for garnish Be sure to use unsalted peanuts or the dish will be overly salty
  • a teaspoon of dried flat leaf parsley or a couple teaspoons of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Hot cooked rice or noodles to serve Be sure to use rice or gluten free noodles if you need the dish to be gluten free.


  • Make sure all your vegetables are chopped and prepared.
  • Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling, salted water for three minutes.
  • Drain and set aside.
  • Mix the soy sauce or Tamari, rice wine vinegar, honey, the lime zest and juice, pepper, chili and ginger in a bowl or jar. Whisk or shake together well.
  • Add the cornstarch to the sauce ingredients and whisk or shake again. Set aside.
  • Cook your rice or noodles according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a large saucepan or wok.
  • When the oil is hot, add the chopped red onion and sauté for a minute or two.
  • Now add the cauliflower and stir fry for two to three minutes.
  • If the pan needs it, stir in a bit more sesame oil.
  • Add the red pepper and zucchini and stir fry until tender crisp.
  • Whisk or shake the sauce again and add it to the vegetables in the frying pan or wok.
  • Stir the vegetables to coat with the sauce, and let the sauce thicken over the heat.
  • If the sauce seems to thick gradually add a bit of hot water, a spoonful or so at a time. (Remember you can always add more water, you can't take it away!)
  • Stir in half the chopped peanuts.
  • When the sauce has thickened and heated through, serve the Kung Pao Cauliflower over the cooked rice or noodles.
  • Garnish the Kung Pao Cauliflower with the parsley and the remaining chopped peanuts.

More Make Your Own Take Out Recipes

Vegetable and Cashew Stir Fry with Vegan and Gluten Free Options

Vegan Pad Thai with a Gluten Free Option

Healthier Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chicken with Cashew Nuts

Honey and Garlic Chicken in the Slow Cooker


The post Kung Pao Cauliflower – Vegan and Gluten Free appeared first on April J Harris.

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