Kung Pao chicken is top-tier comfort food. Its signature sauce – sweet, sour and with a bit of heat from Chinese peppercorns – makes the perfect accompaniment to stir-fried chicken cubes. But if you're looking for a vegan alternative to this dish, trying using cauliflower instead of chicken.
This cruciferous vegetable is usually snubbed in favor of its more famous relatives, such as broccoli and spinach, because of its relatively bland flavor and unassuming pale florets. But when incorporated into the right dish, cauliflower can be incredibly flavorful. It also introduces a grain-like texture to dishes when shredded, which makes it ideal for gluten-free dishes.
Cauliflower is packed with fiber
, which supports digestion and promotes bowel movement. It is also full of sulforaphane, a potent antioxidant capable of fighting inflammation and reducing blood pressure levels. Numerous studies also indicate that sulforaphane may potentially prevent cancer.
So instead of getting some Kung Pao chicken delivered, grab a cauliflower head and cook up a healthier, gluten-free version
with this recipe.
Ingredients for 3 servings:
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
Cauliflower is an incredible superfood
- In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, coconut aminos, agave nectar, hoisin sauce, ginger, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce and garlic. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the florets in an even layer. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Sear, undisturbed, for around 3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and sear for another 3 minutes or until golden brown.
- Add the sauce and reduce heat to medium.
- Toss the cauliflower in the sauce. Saute for 3 more minutes or until the sauce thickens.
- Add the sesame seeds, scallions, peanuts and cilantro. Stir well to combine.
- Season to taste with more salt and black pepper. Serve hot.
. It is a great vegan substitute for meat or grains in savory dishes. To reap the benefits of this cruciferous vegetable, try the Kung Pao cauliflower recipe above.