This Crispy Orange Cauliflower with Coconut Rice has all of the elements you’d ever want in one dish: crunchy, texture-filled, sweet, spicy, savory, and absolutely delicious. The cauliflower is baked in the oven instead of fried, and the sauce comes together super easily, using mostly pantry staples! It’s an incredibly flavorful, simple weeknight meal that the whole family will love.
Oh my goodness, this crispy orange cauliflower is absolutely DELICIOUS. Give me anything crispy, coated with a sweet, savory, sticky sauce, and I am ALL there. This beauty of a recipe comes from my friend Jessica’s brand new cookbook (brand new as in it comes out today!), called Everyday Dinners. It’s absolutely beautiful, which is no surprise, if you’re at all familiar with Jessica and her blog How Sweet Eats. This book is filled with tons and tons of creative, vibrant, and approachable weeknight dinner recipes, which we all need!
When I think about the perfect bowl, I think about several things:
A carb-y base (in this case, the BEST coconut rice), something crispy (oven roasted super crunchy cauliflower!), something sweet & something savory (the delicious sticky orange sauce), and fresh herbs – scallions go so perfectly well here! This bowl truly has it all.
Jessica’s method of lightly breading the cauliflower, spritzing it with oil, and baking it in a hot oven is foolproof and perfect. The end result was incredibly crispy, golden brown cauliflower, with breading that actually STICKS to the cauliflower. The crunchy exterior even stayed crispy after drizzling it with the addicting, sweet and spicy, orange-y sauce.
Then, serving it on top of the coconut rice? Such a wonderful combination of flavors – like Jessica says in the book, it’s almost tropical. Ob-sessed.
Before we get into more details about this crispy orange cauliflower, let me tell you a little more about this beautiful book.
First of all, Jessica’s blog, How Sweet Eats, was one of the very first food blogs I ever started following, probably ten years ago at this point. I’ve always deeply admired her and her work, and she’s always been a huge source of inspiration to me. I’ll always have a soft spot for Jessica and her work – from her incredibly creative and innovative recipes, to her stunning photos, to the way you feel like you’re reading/talking to a friend. She has had such an impact on me and my life, and years ago helped me gain the confidence to start my own blog, for which I’ll be forever grateful.
I know I’ve said this many times before if you’ve been following along for awhile, but it is very clear that Jessica’s passion and admirable work ethic really shine through in everything she does and creates. Everyday Dinners: is no exception. She included such a diverse and exciting array of weeknight friendly recipes in this book – tons of meatless meals (which she does SO well), slow cooker recipes, sauces, dressings, side dishes, you name it. I want to eat EVERYTHING in this book, and that’s no exaggeration. She’s also included lots of tips and tricks for the recipes in the book, and how she meal-preps to make cooking during the week easier (and it’s not the kind of meal prep you’d think)!
You can grab a copy of the book here.
This coconut rice is the best I’ve ever made at home.
Rice at home can be tricky. Especially jasmine rice – I find that if it’s not cooked with the perfect ratio and timing, it can end up super sticky, gummy, and just not good. This coconut rice recipe is perfect – light, fluffy, and filled with coconut flavor. The coconut flavor comes from cooking it in coconut milk, and adding coconut oil, and shredded coconut at the end. Loved it!
It took all of my power not to eat this entire tray of cauliflower just by itself! Honestly, it would make a fantastic side dish or appetizer too. So addictingly good. The perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and savory. It’s sweetened mostly with honey and a little brown sugar, and the heat comes from chili garlic sauce, which is one of my favorite Asian condiments. The “savory” comes from the soy sauce and garlic, and the bold orange flavor comes from lots of freshly grated zest and orange juice.
Could not get enough of the sauce!
Here’s a quick rundown of how to make these crispy orange cauliflower bowls:
- Make the coconut rice. All you need is coconut milk, coconut water (I used regular water since I didn’t have any on hand), salt, coconut oil, and finely shredded coconut. Truly the best coconut rice I’ve ever made!
- Make the cauliflower. All you need is a simple breading station – eggs, and a mixture of breadcrumbs (seasoned breadcrumbs and panko), and flour. You just lightly bread the florets, place them on a wire baking rack, spritz them with your oil of choice, and bake! The best, crispiest, oven-roasted cauliflower ever. It is SO good.
- Next, the sauce. Honey, brown sugar, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, orange zest, orange juice, and garlic. How could you go wrong?!
- Lastly, we serve! Drizzle the crispy cauliflower with the sauce, sprinkle it with thinly sliced scallions, and serve over the coconut rice. My idea of the perfect meal!
If you’re looking for more meatless meals, here are a few of my favorites:
Double Tomato and Corn Bruschetta Pasta with Burrata
Red Lentil Dal with Toasted Coconut Rice
Green Olive Pasta with Toasted Lemon Breadcrumbs and Herbs
Crispy Lentil Salad with Arugula and Garlic Yogurt Sauce
Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables
Vegan Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti Squash Boats
Don’t forget to share a photo on Instagram and tag me @spicesinmydna if you make this recipe! Nothing makes me happier than seeing what you create in the kitchen!
Crispy Orange Cauliflower with Coconut Rice
This Crispy Orange Cauliflower with Coconut Rice has all of the elements you'd ever want in one dish: crunchy, texture-filled, sweet, spicy, savory, and absolutely delicious. The cauliflower is baked in the oven instead of fried, and the sauce comes together super easily, using mostly pantry staples! It's an incredibly flavorful, simple weeknight meal that the whole family will love.
For the coconut rice
- 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
- 1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
For the cauliflower
- olive oil spray
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 400℉. To make the coconut rice: Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the rice, coconut milk, coconut water, and salt. Stir, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, then stir in the coconut oil. Stir in the shredded coconut.
To make the cauliflower: Place a wire rack on a baking sheet (this helps everything stay crispy) and spray it with olive oil spray.
In one bowl, lightly beat the eggs. In a second bowl, stir together the seasoned breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, and flour. Take each cauliflower floret and dip it in the egg, then dip it in the bread crumb mixture, coating it completely. Place it on the prepared wire rack and repeat with the other florets. Once they are all breaded, spray them with the olive oil spray. This will help the outsides brown! Roast the cauliflower for 25 minutes, or until it's golden and crunchy.
While the cauliflower is roasting, make the sauce. In a saucepan, heat the honey, chili garlic sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, orange zest, orange juice, and garlic over medium heat. Whisk to combine. Cook until the mixture bubbles and let it simmer for a minute or two. Remove it from the heat and let it cool. It will thicken as it cools!
Remove the cauliflower from the oven and drizzle it with the sauce. Sprinkle with scallions and serve over the coconut rice.
Recipe is from Everyday Dinners: Real-Life Recipes to Set Your Family Up for a Week of Success: A Cookbook, by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats.
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