A delicious alternative to classic Kung Pao Chicken, Kung Pao Cauliflower is just as smoky and satisfying but lower in calories and fat!
Kung Pao Cauliflower
Happy New Year everyone!
I’m starting the year with a fiery kung pao cauliflower recipe that’s both light and healthy. As you may have noticed, December was a quiet month for me in the blogging front. I caught a really bad cold that dragged on for two long weeks and wiped me out completely. I wouldn’t have been able to smell spoiled milk if I tried, I was so congested! I spent Christmas day in bed and new year’s eve watching Zootopia on the couch with my darling husband. And though it was a bummer not to be able to take advantage of the three days off I looked so forward to enjoying, I’m grateful it didn’t happen in the middle of a vacation abroad. Anyway, that’s all in the past now – I got plenty of rest and now feel ready to kick off 2017 with a bang!
Move over kale and Brussels sprouts, food critics are saying that 2017 is going to be THE year for cauliflower. Whether you like it raw, baked, fried or in the form of a pizza crust, get ready to see cauliflower on lots of restaurant menus this year. And why not: cauliflower is versatile, takes on the flavor of other ingredients well and looks pretty!
Another food trend that will be taking over the food industry this year is to go flexitarian. If you are not familiar with the word, it literally means ‘flexible vegetarian’. The reason why this way of eating is getting a lot of attention is because it promotes a healthier lifestyle, without boxing you into any specific category. If you love food as much as I do, you will not want to abstain from sugar entirely nor skip a good steak if it’s put on your plate. Flexitarians eat a diet that’s primarily vegetarian – about 80% – and 20% meat, fish and dairy.
I do believe that many of us eat more meat than we need to and that it’s affecting our health and environment negatively. By making this quick and easy kung pao cauliflower, I want to show you that meat-free food is just as delicious, if not better, than dishes loaded with chicken or beef.
If your new year resolution is to lose weight or get healthier, then cooking dishes like this one is a great starting point! Instead of feeling like you have to give up on all your favorite foods in order to reach your ideal weight, you can take baby steps and start by substituting meat for vegetables. This way you still get the same satisfying flavors you love so much while feeding your body food that’s lower in calories and packed with nutrients! This is something I do every week and it’s an enjoyable way to eat and live. It’s virtually guilt free! Trust me on this; the more often you substitute meat for vegetables, the less you will crave it.
You can make this kung pao cauliflower spicy or not spicy. The Thai chili is what makes this dish fiery so if you prefer it on the milder side, skip it! It’s a very easy recipe to make – all you need to do is char the cauliflower in a cast iron skillet and toss it with sauce, peanuts and garlic. The final touch is brought to you by a sprinkle of freshly chopped scallions and voila! Dinner is served. Enjoy this delicious kung pao cauliflower with white or brown rice.
Other flexitarian dishes to try:
- Shrimp ankake donburi
- Beef miso curry
- Slow cooker chicken soup
- Mango & watermelon chicken salad
- Salmon tikka over quinoa
Did you like this Kung Pao Cauliflower Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!
- 1 small cauliflower head (about 1 pound), leaves removed and cut into medium size pieces (a little larger than bite size pieces)
- 1 tablespoon organic canola oil
- 1 red or green Thai chili, finely chopped (optional - if you like it spicy!)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup unsalted, roasted peanuts
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- For The Sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons low sodium chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon hot chili sauce (such as sambal oelek)
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large pan or cast iron skillet over high heat, add oil and cauliflower florets. Cook for about 8 minutes, tossing occasionally, until half of the cauliflower is golden brown.
- Stir the sauce and add it to the cauliflower. Toss and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add Thai chili, soy sauce, garlic, peanuts and toss well. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and transfer kung pao dish to a plate.
- Top with chopped scallions and serve with white or brown rice.