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Gone are the days of eating sketchy sweet and sour pork with fried rice from the food court. This sweet and sour cauliflower on rice is sure to satisfy your tastebuds without breaking the bank.

And did we mention we use fresh, quality ingredients? What are you waiting for?!

Sweet & Sour Cauliflower
Sweet, sour, and everything in between

📖 About

Ah, the days of eating sweet and sour pork with that classic bright red sauce that looks like it was made in a laboratory. We can’t pretend we didn’t enjoy it though.

But, we wanted to create a dish that included all the sweet and sour elements without the animal products or other weird ingredients. We really love making simple dishes that don’t require a lot of cooking skill or a ton of ingredients. The reason for that is because it makes eating vegan easier and more approachable for the vast majority of our readers.

Our whole website contains recipes that are meant for all people on any side of the cooking and diet spectrum. It makes us so happy to hear from people who enjoy our recipes!

This recipe definitely falls into that “comfort food” category, and we know you won’t be disappointed. It’s filling, extremely palatable, and simple to make.

Sweet & Sour Cauliflower Ingredients
Ingredients for sweet & sour cauliflower

🍲 Key ingredients

  • Cauliflower: it’s so easy to be creative with cauliflower. Not only does it crisp up well, but it has a protein-like texture that becomes the star of this meal (not just a bland side dish that no one wants to eat). Not only does it absorb the flavor of any sauce that goes on it, but it has tremendous health benefits, too. It’s high in fiber and contains almost every vitamin and mineral you need! Talk about a superfood.
  • Rice wine vinegar: also known as rice vinegar, this ingredient is made by fermenting the sugars in rice into an alcohol, then into an acid. It differs from white vinegar in taste by having a soft, delicate flavor, with a hint of sweetness. Perfect for a sweet and sour sauce if you ask us. It’s also high in plant phenols, which are powerful antioxidants that come with a variety of health benefits.
  • Brown sugar: this delicious, rich sweetener is given its brown color from the percentage of molasses it contains. Light brown sugar is 3.5% molasses, whereas the darker variety contains 6.5%. We just use the light brown sugar in this recipe, so it doesn’t have too much of a molasses taste.
  • Liquid aminos: this ingredient may look and taste like soy sauce, but let us assure you it isn’t. Liquid aminos give a savoury and salty flavor to meals, and they’re gluten-free too (gluten-sensitive people rejoice). We opt for liquid aminos to ditch the preservative sodium benzoate because none of us need more preservatives in our diet than we already consume!
Cauliflower On A Baking Sheet
Line a pan with cauliflower

🔪 Instructions

To start this recipe off, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F, and line two pans with parchment paper.

Next, chop your head of cauliflower into bite size pieces. Toss those babies in some oil, salt and pepper. Then, lightly coat florets in corn starch.

Baked Cauliflower On A Baking Sheet
The cauliflower should come out crispy

Spread em’ out evenly on the two parchment-lined pans, and bake on 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until they’re turning brown (make sure you flip them halfway through). In the meantime, rinse and start to cook your rice.

While the cauliflower is baking, whisk together all the sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add everything to a saucepan, and simmer it on low for about 5 minutes, or until it’s starting to thicken.

Once the cauliflower is done baking, toss the florets in sweet & sour sauce. Serve them immediately over rice. And for a nice touch, top everything with some sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

🌡️ Storage

Because this is made with cauliflower and a thick sauce, it doesn’t store extremely well in the fridge. If you aren’t able to eat this meal right away, we wouldn’t recommend storing it for longer than 1-2 days in the fridge.

Sweet & Sour Cauliflower

💭 Budget tips

We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:

  • Replace the vegetable broth with water.
  • Purchase the tahini at your local Mediterranean market, or skip it altogether.
  • Serve this cauliflower without the garnishes.
  • Serve the cauliflower with more rice to make it go further.

🍴 Tasting notes

This vegan twist on a classic Chinese inspired dish will have you eating until your belly is full. It’s:

  • Sweet
  • Sour
  • Saucy
  • Tangy

If you try this cauliflower recipe, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!

Sweet & Sour Cauliflower

Sweet & Sour Cauliflower On Rice

Mitch and Justine
A vegan twist on a Chinese classic, this sweet & sour cauliflower sure puts the “comfort” in comfort food. It’s a perfectly balanced meal that will leave you satisfied after each bite.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Western
Servings 4 servings
Calories 455 kcal


  • Baking sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Chef knife
  • Pressure or rice cooker
  • Saucepan



  • 1 cup uncooked white rice ($0.44)
  • 1-2 cups water ($0.00)


  • 1 cauliflower head ($3.08)
  • 3 tbsp oil ($0.36)
  • ¼ cup corn starch ($0.11)
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste ($0.02)

Sweet & Sour Sauce

  • 2 tbsp liquid aminos ($0.36)
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp rice vinegar ($0.55)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar ($0.11)
  • 2 tbsp ketchup ($0.08)
  • cup vegetable broth ($0.08)
  • 2 tbsp tahini ($0.12)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 1 tsp corn starch ($0.03)

Garnishes optional

  • Sliced green onions
  • Toasted sesame seeds


  • Preheat oven to 425°F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Rinse rice, and add it to a pressure cooker with equal parts water. Set the time according to your pressure cooker instructions. Note: if you are using a rice cooker, double the amount of water to rice.
  • Chop cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Then, toss cauliflower florets in oil, salt, and pepper. Once coated, coat florets in corn starch.
  • Spread cauliflower evenly out on the two parchment-lined pans. Bake at 425°F for 20-25 minutes, or until turning brown. Make sure to flip halfway.
  • While cauliflower is baking, whisk together sweet & sour sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add everything to a saucepan, and simmer on low for 5-6 minutes, or until it’s starting to thicken.
  • Once the cauliflower is done, toss each floret in sweet & sour sauce.
  • Serve cauliflower over rice and top with green onions, cilantro, and sesame seeds.


  • Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price of this recipe.
  • Add a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil to cooked rice for an even better flavor.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 75.3g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 15.2g | Saturated Fat: 2.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8.9g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 657.3mg | Potassium: 775.7mg | Fiber: 5.8g | Sugar: 20.4g | Vitamin A: 49.5IU | Vitamin C: 101.5mg | Calcium: 105.7mg | Iron: 3.8mg
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How can I make the cauliflower more crispy?

The absolute best way to crisp up your cauliflower (other than baking it longer) is deep frying it. We just wanted this meal to be lower calorie, so we opted for baking.

Is the tahini necessary in this recipe?

No, the tahini is not necessary. We just like how it adds a creamy consistency to the sauce.

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