Crispy baked cauliflower drenched in a sweet Hawaiian huli huli sauce, these tasty vegan cauliflower bites are the PERFECT appetizer or side dish!
What is Huli Huli Sauce?
Huli huli sauce is common in Hawaiian cuisine and is typically used for chicken dishes, but it’s quickly becoming a favorite of mine on vegan recipes as well. The sauce is sweet and tangy and tastes like a pineapple teriyaki sauce. The sauce tastes amazing on cauliflower for a plant-based version of this chicken dish!
You can purchase huli huli sauce premade or make it following the recipe below!
It’s so simple to make and is well worth it, my friends.
How to make huli huli sauce
Mix coconut sugar, tamari, pineapple juice, ketchup, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, red chili flakes, and flour together in a mixing bowl.
Transfer to a small saucepan and heat covered on low-medium heat until the sauce begins to bubble. Reduce heat and whisk frequently. This helps make the sauce nice and thick!
How to make baked cauliflower
- This method is far healthier than frying and the flour mixture gives the cauliflower a batter texture.
- Whisk together milk and flour.
- Add cauliflower and coat well.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a cooling rack on top of a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. This helps to remove excess batter.
- Toss the parchment paper and place cauliflower on a new piece of parchment paper or Silpat.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and brush on the sauce. Bake for an additional 10 minutes
Tip: For extra crispy cauliflower bites, broil for 2-3 minutes!
Cauliflower should have a nice golden-brown color when done! FYI, I broiled the cauliflower you see above.
Next, is time to mix with the remaining sauce.
Pour remaining sauce on the cooked cauliflower and mix well.
If you’re like me, you’re drooling just looking at these pictures of the saucy baked cauliflower!
Garnish with pineapple chunks and cilantro to complete the recipe.
These vegan cauliflower bites are seriously a kick-ass appetizer or side dish. Try making this recipe for game days, potlucks, Superbowl parties, or weeknight dinner.
They are way healthier (and lower carb) options than chicken and it’s a delicious way to get an extra serving of veggies into your day.
Variations of vegan cauliflower bites
- Use a GF flour blend instead of whole wheat flour for a gluten-free cauliflower bite recipe
- Pile cauliflower on a bowl of rice and roasted veggies for a wholesome vegan meal
- Add Sriracha to the huli huli sauce for a delicious spice kick
Storing and reheating cauliflower bites
Leftovers keep in the fridge for about 3-5 days in an airtight container.
To reheat, you can microwave them, but they will be on the soggier side.
I recommend putting the bites on a piece of foil and baking them at 350F until heated through.
If you tried these huli huli vegan cauliflower bites, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes? Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to see what I’m currently cooking up!
Vegan Huli Huli Cauliflower Bites
Huli Huli Sauce:
- 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks in juice separate the pineapple from the juice
- 1/4 cup tamari can substitute with low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar can substitute with brown sugar
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1.5 Tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and minced (about 1-inch piece)
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pinch red chili flakes or to taste (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour can substitute with cornstarch
- 1 head cauliflower cut into florets (about 6 cups)
- 1+1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk can substitute with another plant-based milk
- 1 cup whole wheat flour can substitute with all-purpose flour or a gluten-free blend
- fresh cilantro chopped
- pineapple chunks
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce. Transfer to a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a bubble on low-medium heat. Reduce heat and whisk frequently until the sauce is thick (about 10 minutes). Set aside
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and top with a cooling rack. Set aside.
- Cut the cauliflower: Remove the green leaves from the bottom and trim the stump. Turn the cauliflower right-side-up and cut into quarters. From each quarter, trim the center by making a cut diagonally. Using hands, break cauliflower into florets.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine almond milk and flour. Whisk to combine. The batter should be thick and pourable like a cake batter. Add more milk or flour if needed. Add cauliflower and mix with a rubber spatula until cauliflower is evenly coated.
- Using tongs, place cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and allow the excess batter to drip from the cooling rack to the parchment paper.
- Discard the parchment paper and grease the baking sheet. Transfer the cauliflower from the cooling rack to the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Brush huli huli sauce on cauliflower. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. To make them more crispy, broil for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to mixing bowl and mix with remaining sauce and pineapple chunks. Top with chopped cilantro and serve warm!
Huli huli sauce was adapted from Pineneedles in my Salad
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