Spicy Hunan Cauliflower

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Cauliflower florets are roasted until tender and tossed in spicy sauce with chunks of bell peppers to create this healthy and flavorful Hunan cauliflower.

Remember when I stole the idea for my sesame sriracha tofu idea from Wegmans? Well I did the same thing with this recipe. Actually, I got both ideas on the same trip. I was really hungry that day, and apparently indecisive as well. I grabbed a scoop of both dishes out of the vegetarian buffet and decided both would eventually be recreated in my kitchen. I guess I figured I’d be slick and space the posts way apart so nobody would notice, but I’m not the slickest.

So, on that particular hungry trip to the supermarket, I kind of had to give the Hunan cauliflower a try. I’ve seen Hunan chicken on a million different restaurant menus, but I’ve never tried Hunan anything. I guess I was waiting around for a vegan version of Hunan chicken to pop up on a Chinese vegetarian menu at some point, but it hasn’t happened yet. Given my limited experience with this particular type of dish, I decided to just recreate exactly what I ate, to the best of my ability. And I did a pretty darn good job.

Savory, spicy, and a little bit gingery is how I’d describe the sauce. I considered doing batter coated baked cauliflower like I did for my sticky sesame cauliflower, but I’ve gathered from reader comments that some of you have trouble with that one, so I decided to keep things simple. Cauliflower gets tossed in cornstarch and roasted while the sauce simmers with some bell peppers. Once the cauliflower is done, douse it in the sauce and serve everything up with rice.

The sauce is delicious and would be excellent on all kinds of veggies, or even tofu, so feel free to experiment if you’re not feeling the cauliflower.

5 from 3 votes Print

Spicy Hunan Cauliflower

Cauliflower florets are roasted until tender and tossed in spicy sauce with chunks of bell peppers to create this healthy and flavorful Hunan cauliflower. CourseEntree CuisineAmerican, Chinese Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Servings 4 Calories 235 kcal Author Alissa


  • 1medium cauliflower crown,broken into florets
  • 2tablespoonsvegetable oil
  • 2tablespoonscornstarch

For the Sauce:

  • 1tablespoonvegetable oil
  • 3garlic cloves,minced
  • 2teaspoonsfreshly grated ginger
  • 4-6dried chile peppers,cut into thirds (remove the seeds for a milder sauce)
  • 1cupwater
  • 3tablespoonssoy sauce or tamari
  • 2tablespoonsdry sherry or Chinese cooking wine
  • 2tablespoonsrice vinegar
  • 1tablespoonmaple syrup
  • 1teaspoonsesame oil
  • ½teaspoonblack pepper
  • 1star anise
  • 1bell pepper,any color (I used half of a red and half of a green)
  • 3tablespoonschilled water
  • 2teaspoonscornstarch

For Serving

  • 3scallions,chopped
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Red pepper flakes,for extra heat (optional)
  • Cooked rice


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Place the cauliflower into a large bag with the oil and cornstarch. Toss to coat. Arrange the cauliflower florets in an even layer in a roasting pan or oven-safe skillet. Bake for about 30 minutes, until cauliflower is tender and lightly browned, flipping once about halfway through.
  2. While the cauliflower bakes, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger, and dried chile peppers. Sauté until very fragrant and the chile peppers darken, about 1 minute. Add the water, soy sauce, sherry, vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, black pepper, and star anise. Raise heat and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by about a third, stirring occasionally. Stir in the bell pepper and allow to simmer about 5 minutes more, until the pepper is tender.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water, then add it to the sauce. Allow the sauce to continue simmering for a minute or two, just until it thickens up.
  4. Once the cauliflower is finished baking, remove it from the oven and pour the sauce over top. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.
  5. Divide onto plates and serve with rice.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition information does not include rice.

Nutrition FactsSpicy Hunan CauliflowerAmount Per ServingCalories 235Calories from Fat 108% Daily Value*Fat 12g18%Saturated Fat 1g5%Sodium 726mg30%Potassium 587mg17%Carbohydrates 21.9g7%Fiber 4.8g19%Sugar 8.4g9%Protein 4.5g9%Calcium 50mg5%Iron 1.6mg9%* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.« Vegan Greek PizzaVegan Salisbury Steak Meatballs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Mushroom Gravy »

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Made your Spicy Hunan Cauliflower last night and it was delicious! We will definitely be making this one again soon. Thank you for another great recipe!


  • The first time I had the Wegmans version it was pretty spicy but that didn’t stop me from trying it again! I had it a few times since where it was a little less “dragonish” and that’s so much more my speed…LOL
    I never worked with chilies before and decided to go with 4 and remove the seeds. Your recipe is delicious…but for anyone like like me, 4 puts the dragon in the pan! Next time I will try one seedless, leave it whole so I can take out the pieces and up the sweetener a little bit (I used 1 tblsp of honey). Thank you so much for posting this…I would have had no idea where to start and this recipe gave me the perfect base😊


    • This is one of our absolute FAVORITE recipes! I like to add some tempeh as well! Thank you SO much for sharing!


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Hi, I’m Alissa! I’m a former attorney turned professional food blogger. I love creating vegan recipes with bold flavors!

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