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Sticky Pineapple Cauliflower

5 from 4 votes

This restaurant-style sticky pineapple cauliflower tastes so much better than takeout, and it’s healthier for you too!

Vegan Cauliflower Recipe

I know… vegan food is so boring, right?

Nothing but iceberg salads and rabbit food around here.

The funny thing is that my diet became much more varied after I stopped eating meat.

While I’d previously eaten the same six or seven meat-based meals on permanent rotation (and a predictable turkey sandwich every day for lunch), changing my diet forced me to branch out, and suddenly I found myself trying new foods I’d never even heard of before.

Becoming a vegetarian really taught me to love not just the cooking process, but also the artistry and creativity that can be involved.

Which brings me to these pineapple cauliflower bowls, inspired by the popular recipe for Sticky Sesame Cauliflower.

Sticky Pineapple Cauliflower Recipe

It’s like Hawaii in your own kitchen.

I don’t know what was more fun, making or eating them!

You know what’s boring?

Eating nondescript fast-food chicken from a styrofoam takeout container, when you could be eating this completely plant-based dinner out of a pineapple!

Trending Right Now: Cauliflower Soup Recipe

cut pineapple
breaded cauliflower

The pineapple bowl is optional of course, and the cauliflower still tastes delicious when served on a plate.

It’s also really good with rice to soak up all of the sticky-sweet pineapple sauce – maybe with this Half Calorie Rice Recipe?

One of the best parts about this easy-to-make and healthy pineapple cauliflower is that there’s no added sugar in the recipe at all – it’s sweetened naturally from the pineapple juice.

Similar recipes made with chicken can often have up to a full cup or more of brown sugar.

Vegan Girls Eating Fruit

If you do opt to make the pineapple boats, simply cut the pineapple in half carefully with a large knife, then go around the edges and cut into squares as shown in the photo above in this post.

As a bonus, you’re now left with a ton of fresh and juicy pineapple that you can snack on while you’re cooking dinner or save to stir into the finished cauliflower dish.

Or use it for something else entirely, like this summery soft-serve Pineapple Dole Whip Recipe.

Secretly Healthy Sticky Pineapple Cauliflower Recipe (Vegan, Easy)

Leftover Cauliflower? Make Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

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Sticky Pineapple Cauliflower

This sticky pineapple cauliflower recipe is a delicious and totally vegan dinner!
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 3 – 4 servings
5 from 4 votes


  • 1 small or 1/2 large cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal or flour
  • 1-3 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup crushed breadcrumbs, regular or gf
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp white or cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot
  • optional 1 pineapple


  • Measure out the 1/2 cup breadcrumbs after crushing (either in a blender or by placing them in a bag and crushing with a rolling pin or heavy object). Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut the cauliflower into florets. Combine cauliflower, milk of choice, cornmeal, oil, and 1 tsp salt, then toss in a large ziploc. (If you want to use oil spray instead of oil, feel free to experiment. I can’t say how it would affect taste/texture.)  Put the coated cauliflower in a colander to drain off excess batter. Toss with the breadcrumbs. Arrange in 1 layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 40 minutes on the center rack. Meanwhile, make the pineapple sauce by whisking all remaining ingredients except cornstarch in a saucepan. Quickly whisk in cornstarch. Turn heat to medium. Stir frequently; it thickens quickly. Remove cauliflower from oven, combine with the sauce, and serve – in pineapple boats with sesame seeds and sticky rice if you want to be super fancy!
    View Nutrition Facts


Also be sure to try this easy Pineapple Pie.

Have you made this recipe?

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Published on July 26, 2018

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  1. sabrina says

    I’m really impressed with the creativity of this recipe, even if served on a plate, as your also suggest, it’s a wonderful way to serve maybe the most boring vegetable there is, so much appreciated and thank you also for the low calorie rice recipe

  2. Ness says

    I feel the same way about being vegan! My meals have become so vibrant and much wider in variety. I think it’s because we are forced to be a little creative when it comes to vegan cooking. This looks so amazing and I love pineapple so much, what a perfect recipe! I might try this with tofu this week. 😀 Thanks for the recipe Katie!

  3. Natalia says

    This recipe is delicious!! I made it last night with a few swaps: I used gluten free flour instead of cornmeal. I also used canned pineapple (in pineapple juice, no sugar added) instead of fresh because I happened to have a can kicking around. For the cornstarch I just used extra flour to thicken it as I didn’t have any more corn starch. It turned out perfect and my boyfriend loved it. Kind of tastes like popcorn shrimp 🙂

    Thank you for the recipe!

  4. Natasha says

    I have tried and loved all of your Chinese takeout makeovers. If you do not mind taking a request, I would be so excited to see a cauliflower version of General Tso’s chicken.

    • Jason Sanford says

      We haven’t ever tried so unfortunately can’t say, but it sounds like a really great experiment. Please be sure to report back if you try!
      Jason (media relations)

  5. Mandee says

    Sadly this recipe isn’t working well for us, is there more details on the mixing part? Should you add liquids in a certain order? Or should the cauliflower be oiled or wet before adding to the bag? None of it is sticking to the cauliflower we have dough balls next to non coated cauliflower in our bag. 🙁

    • Jason Sanford says

      Hmm, I didn’t have that problem but definitely want to help troubleshoot! Can you tell me more about the ingredients you’re using, such as flour and sweetener type?

      • Mandee says

        well… the problem turned out to be me and my inability to read the recipe correctly. I had the breadcrumbs in the bag at the start. So instead of the milk and oils clinging to the Cauliflower, they were making dough balls! *SMH
        Tonight I’ve tried it again, the RIGHT way and it looks good so far. in about 40 mins I’ll know for sure. 🙂
        I am using Flour not cornmeal as my husband has a corn allergy, so we have to use gluten-free options and no corn.

        • Jason Sanford says

          Ha well if it makes you feel any better, I have done that so many times with recipes! Or I will forget an important ingredient like the salt or sugar. One time I added a tablespoon of baking powder to a cookie recipe that called for a teaspoon ?

  6. Virginia says

    I made this tonight-Really delicious!
    I made a few personal adjustments:
    Baked it 8 minutes less as I thought it started to get too soft and I prefer a bit more texture.
    I toasted the Sesame Seeds for added flavor.
    Also, I thought the sauce needed a bit more color and the addition of a pinch of Tumeric and red pepper gave the sauce a “sunny” glow.
    This recipes a keeper. . .Thanks!

    • Jason Sanford says

      Sorry we have not tried so honestly don’t know! If you experiment, be sure to report back!
      Jason (media relations)

    • Kat says

      I always use frozen cauliflower! It’s the only thing they sell here! (lol)

      I put the whole bag of cauliflower (12-16oz) in a bowl – remove bag- and microwave, on medium for about
      3 minutes. Check and see if there is still ice on it. If there is microwave an additional minute at a time, just until it is not frozen or icy anymore.
      May be warm or hot and slightly cooked at this point.

      Drain and dry if necessary, then allow to cool before adding to recipe.

      Reduce heat by 25 degrees (Fahrenheit).

      Start checking for doneness about 15 minutes before the time given in the recipe.

  7. Molly says

    This was great and so easy! My husband is a big carnivore and he asked for more and said it was the best cauliflower he has ever had!

  8. Chantelle says

    So am I to understand that your not using any fresh pineapple in the recipe itself, just using the boats? And can you replace the breadcrumbs with panko?

    • CCK Media Team says

      Panko is fine. It’s just the pineapple juice in the sauce giving the pineapple flavor, but you can absolutely stir in some diced pineapple before serving!

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