This crispy baked cauliflower in Chinese lemon sauce is a vegan version of the Chinese restaurant classic lemon chicken. It’s super easy to make, simply bread cauliflower florets in panko breadcrumbs and bake while you simmer a simple sticky, garlicky, lemon sauce. Drizzle the sauce over the baked cauliflower and enjoy while it’s deliciously hot and crispy.
Lemon chicken was one of my favourite dishes to order at Chinese restaurants when I was a child, waaaaaay before I was vegetarian (I hardly remember those days).
The good thing about lemon chicken is that it’s all about the Chinese lemon sauce, meaning that you can replace the chicken with whatever and still have all the flavour and deliciousness of the restaurant dish.
My first thought was to use tofu and follow the same procedure as my super yummy black pepper tofu, but knowing how trendy general tso’s cauliflower is right now I decided to try swapping the tofu for cauliflower.
It was great and since people always ask if my recipes can be baked instead of fried, I went ahead and baked them instead of frying! They baked up soft on the inside and crispy and light on the outside. Delicious! (Of course you can still fry them instead if you want more of a restaurant-style dish).
This post may contain affiliate links which help to offset the cost of running this blog with no additional cost to you.
You’ll probably want to serve this crispy baked cauliflower with a side dish or two since a big bowl of rice and cauliflower, no matter how delicious, might leave you wanting a little something more. Since I’m in love with my spiralizer, I made a super simple zoodle salad with lightly sautéed asparagus, edamame and radish.
It was a nice, refreshing and seasonal accompaniment to the crispy baked cauliflower but if you want something a little more Chinese-inspired, try this vegan hot and sour soup or these vegan scallion pancakes.
This crispy baked cauliflower in Chinese lemon sauce is a vegan version of the Chinese restaurant classic lemon chicken.
15 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- ½ cup of flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Pepper, to taste
- ½ cup of plant milk
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 – 2 green onions, sliced (optional)
- Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
- Rice, to serve
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated or finely minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger, grated or finely minced
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Pepper, to taste
- ½ teaspoon sriracha, or to taste (optional)
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Mix the flour with the sea salt and pepper in a small bowl. Put the milk and panko in two separate bowls. Drop a few cauliflower florets into the flour and coat. Then dunk them in the milk, shaking off the excess, and finally into the panko to coat. Place on the baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
- Let the cauliflower cool for a minute or two then drizzle over the lemon sauce and toss gently to coat. Serve on rice and sprinkled with sliced green onion and sesame seeds.
- Combine all the ingredients except for the cornstarch slurry in a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the cornstarch slurry and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened – just a minute or two. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly while the cauliflower finishes baking.