Get two new free healthy recipes each week. Sign Up

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower – the sweet, sticky, & addictively delicious dish that tastes like a better-for-you version of Panda Express!

Sweet, sticky, addictive sesame cauliflower, a healthy & delicious meatless recipe

A few weeks ago, I got a text from a friend saying his sister was trying to add more vegan meals to her diet and asking if I had any good tips.

The first advice I had was something I always recommend to anyone who wants to incorporate more plant-based meals into their diet, especially for non-vegans just trying to eat more meatless meals in general.

My first recommendation is to NOT replace meat with vegan meat substitutes, which can just set you up for disappointment when you expect one thing and get another.

Instead, think of it as an opportunity to explore new recipes and look at vegetables in a whole new light.

The popular Buffalo Cauliflower Wings are especially delicious!!!

So many people never venture further from preparing vegetables in a “mainstream” way—such as steamed or in a side salad—but when you start looking at vegetables as the main event, it opens up a brand new realm of possibilities.

Try taking one of your favorite meat-based recipes and recreating it with your favorite vegetable instead.

Think Kung Pao Eggplant, Mushroom Stroganoff, Sweet Potato Tacos, or Crispy Lemon Cauliflower.

vegan cauliflower

Or this sticky-sweet sesame cauliflower.

The best part of sesame chicken has always been the sauce…

It’s the sauce, not the chicken, that makes you crave Panda Express every time you walk past the food court in the mall.

It’s the sauce, not the chicken, that makes sesame chicken so addictive.

And this healthy meatless makeover of the classic recipe keeps all the goodness of that sticky-sweet sesame sauce intact. Plus, since you’re not using a fake meat substitute, there’s no expectation—subconscious or otherwise—that the dish will taste like chicken.

Non-vegan dinner guests won’t be wary of trying a taste.

And then another taste…

And then one more…

Trending Right Now: Veggie Burger Recipe – Just 6 Ingredients

cauliflower raw
sesame cauliflower recipe

Cauliflower—the darling vegetable of the year—is definitely having a moment.

And with more and more cauliflower-based products hitting shelves each day, the cauliflower excitement doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I’ve loved cauliflower since long before it was trendy.

The following are just a few of the cauliflower recipes you can find on my blog.

Starting with the craziest first:

Healthy Chocolate Cake

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower Soup Recipe

I’m predicting cauliflower is going to be the most popular vegetable of next year as well!

Note: When I researched soy sauce alternatives online, I found a few comments who said you can combine 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce with a tbsp or two of water to replace half cup of soy sauce. I haven’t tried it, but if anyone successfully tries this or another option, please feel free to report back for other readers.

Secretly Healthy Sticky Sesame Cauliflower (Vegan)

Also be sure to try this Cauliflower Mac And Cheese and these BBQ Cauliflower Wings.

Pin it now to save for laterPin Recipe

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower

This delicious secretly healthy sticky sesame cauliflower tastes like a better-for-you version of Panda Express!
4.81/5 (131)
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 3 – 4 servings


  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped (6 1/2 cups florets)
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sesame seeds and scallions, for garnish


  • Preheat your oven to 450 F. Grease a baking pan or line with parchment. Cut cauliflower into florets, then slice so one side of each floret is flat. Arrange in a single layer in the greased pan. Bake 10 minutes on the center rack. Meanwhile, whisk together the soy sauce, sweetener, vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, and ginger in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. While waiting, stir together the cornstarch and water until cornstarch dissolves fully, then slowly whisk this into the saucepan as soon as it boils. Turn heat to medium and cook 2 minutes, stirring more frequently once it returns to a boil. Cook until thick. You can also make the sauce ahead of time if desired, and it thickens more as it sits in the fridge. Flip cauliflower florets and bake 10 additional minutes. If desired, you can now move the pan to the top rack and broil 1-2 minutes. Pour sauce over florets. Sprinkle sesame seeds and optional scallions on top, and serve.
    *A few readers have commented to say this works in the instant pot, but I've not tried it. If you try, be sure to let me know how it goes!
    View Nutrition Facts


Leftover cauliflower? Use it up in this Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce!

Have you made this recipe?

Tag @chocolatecoveredkatie on Instagram


More About The Cookbook

Reader Favorite Recipes:

Chocolate Mug Cake Recipe

One Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

Low Carb Ice Cream

Keto Ice Cream (Low Carb)

Chocolate Keto Fat Bombs

Fat Bombs (Keto, Vegan, No Bake)

chocolate chia pudding

Chia Pudding Recipe

Who Is Chocolate Covered Katie?

4.81/5 (131)

Rate this recipe

Published on May 16, 2020

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
featured on The 
Today Show, CNN, 
Fox, The 
Huffington Post, and 
ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

Learn more about Katie

Get Free Recipes

Don’t Miss Out On The NEW Free Healthy Recipes

Sign up below to receive exclusive & always free healthy recipes right in your inbox:

Chocolate Covered Katie The Healthy Dessert Blog Recipes

Popular Right Now

Reader Interactions


Leave a comment or reviewLeave a rating
  1. Darcy says

    This was super easy. Very delicious. Loved the clean ingredients. If too thin just add a touch more of tapioca flour…..I am so excited to keep making this. A huge hit with my entire family!

  2. Krystle says

    The sauce for this was so good! I fried the cauliflower in coconut oil on the stove top after I mixed it in cornstarch since I didn’t want to turn on the stove and heat up the kitchen. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Renee says

    This was delicious. Great recipe!! I didn’t have sesame oil so I used olive oil instead. I also added some cayenne pepper and a packet of stevia to the sauce to give it some heat (hubby loves spicy food). I also added peanut halves and chopped bell pepper to the cauliflower during the broil portion (for texture). Took it from sweet and savory to a bit more like a Kung Pao.

  4. Angela says

    My sauce looked beautiful until I added the slurry to it then it became a dough ball that refused to cover the cauliflower!

  5. Katherine says

    I added juice from an orange to cut the intensity of the vinegar flavor, as well as a half cup of cashews to give it more substance. A great weeknight option!

  6. Holly says

    This recipe was great! I roasted chickpeas with the cauliflower and will probably add broccoli and serve over noodles for next time. My husband liked it too!

  7. Shauna says

    Hello! I am so excited to try this recipe! If I want to make it tonight and don’t have rice vinegar on hand, is there a suitable substitution? Thank you so much!

  8. kellyannabee says

    Waaaay too sweet for me. I will make it again and cut back on the sweeter (I used honey). I added some crushed red pepper and served over rice. Next time I will add peas to round it out as a main course meal.

  9. Alyssa Hamilton says

    I’ve made this recipe three times this week! So delicious!!!! I also added some broccoli as well. It’s an amazing recipe!

  10. Meghan says

    So disappointed! Made the recipe twice and added more corn starch the second time and the sauce was still thin! The taste is great, the sauce just looks nothing like the picture Any ideas? I boiled the sauce and stirred it for over 15 minutes and didn’t se ea change in consistency.


    • CCK Media Team says

      Hmm, based on all of the other reviews and our own positive experience with the recipe, it just sounds like something is probably wrong with your cornstarch. Have you tried it in other recipes? That amount of cornstarch not thickening a recipe shouldn’t happen if the cornstarch is good.

See More Comments

Leave A Reply

Get Free Recipes

Don’t Miss Out On The NEW Free Healthy Recipes

Sign up below to receive exclusive & always free healthy recipes right in your inbox:

Chocolate Covered Katie The Healthy Dessert Blog Recipes