Kirbie's Cravings

Kung Pao Cauliflower

Kung Pao chicken is given a healthier makeover with the use of cauliflower. Kung pao cauliflower is an easy 30-minute recipe that can be served with rice, noodles, or cauliflower rice.

close-up of Kung Pao Cauliflower in a skillet

Kung pao cauliflower is my latest cauliflower creation because I just can’t stop eating and cooking with cauliflower. One of these days I’m going to try the cauliflower rice from Trader Joe’s.

Last weekend we were watching Kung Fu Panda 2 because we realized we hadn’t already seen it. I don’t know how we missed it as we usually watch the animated movies once they are on DVD.

Then a few days ago, I was eating this Kung Pao Beef Jerky. And that is what led to this idea for Kung Pao Cauliflower. Yes, it is all a bit random.

This dish is similar to kung pao chicken with a spicy sauce and crispy-tender vegetables but made with cauliflower instead of chicken. It’s an easy meal that’s ready in 30 minutes.

overhead photo of Kung Pao CauliflowerIngredients

  • Cauliflower florets
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Chopped bell peppers
  • Dried red chili peppers
  • Sichuan peppercorns
  • Sliced scallions
  • Vegetable oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Shaoxing cooking wine
  • Granulated white sugar
  • Black vinegar
  • Water
  • Cornstarch

close-up of chopsticks holding a piece of Kung Pao Cauliflower

How to Make It

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower, bell peppers, peppercorn and dried peppers. Cook them until tender and then take them out of the pan and set them aside.

In a small saucepan, whisk the soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar, and vinegar. Bring the sauce to a low simmer and stir.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Once the cornstarch has dissolved pour the mixture into the sauce and stir constantly until it comes to a simmer again.

Continue to stir until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. The sauce will continue to thicken once it’s been taken off the heat.

Add the sauce to the pan with the cauliflower. Add the peanuts and stir-fry for a few minutes over medium heat until everything is evenly coated with sauce.

Garnish with the scallions and serve.


While you’re cooking the vegetables, if the pan gets too dry add a few tablespoons of water to help keep everything wet while cooking.

You can use any color of bell pepper that you like. I used a mix of green, red, and orange. You can also add garlic or ginger to the sauce.

If you can’t find Sichuan peppercorns, you can use red pepper flakes for spice, but the flavor will be different.

If you want to add a garnish, sliced green onions would work well. You could also drizzle some sesame oil over the top.

You can accompany this kung pao cauliflower recipe with some steamed vegetables, jasmine rice, or maybe cauliflower rice.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep well for a few days.

Kung Pao Cauliflower with chopsticks

More Cauliflower Recipes

Kung Pao Cauliflower

Kung Pao Cauliflower

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Chinese
Kung Pao chicken is given a healthier makeover with the use of cauliflower. Serve it with steamed vegetables, rice, or maybe cauliflower rice!


  • 1 medium head of cauliflower cut into small florets
  • 2 heaping tablespoons roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped bell peppers (see note)
  • 6 dried red chili peppers
  • 1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns (see note)
  • 1 green scallion finely sliced
  • 1 tsbp vegetable oil


  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing cooking wine
  • 2 tsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp black vinegar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • tsp cornstarch


  • Add oil to a wok or large pan over medium-high heat on the stove. Once the oil is heated, add the cauliflower, bell peppers, peppercorn and dried peppers. Stir and cook until cauliflower and bell peppers are tender. If the pan gets too dry while cooking, add a few tablespoons of water to help keep everything wet while cooking. Once cauliflower and bell peppers are cooked, set aside.
  • In a small saucepan add all sauce ingredients except cornstarch and water. Bring to a low simmer and stir to mix. In a small bowl, add cornstarch and water and dissolve cornstarch completely in the water. Pour into the sauce mixture and stir constantly  (otherwise your cornstarch will cook in clumps) until it comes to a simmer again. Continue to stir until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Keep in mind that sauce will thicken more when removed from the heat.
  • Scrape sauce into the pan with cauliflower. Add in peanuts. Stir-fry for a few minutes over medium heat until everything is evenly coated with sauce. Serve while warm and garnish with fresh chopped scallions.


  • You can use any color of bell pepper that you like. I used a mix of green, red, and orange.
  • You can replace the Sichuan peppercorns with red pepper flakes, but the flavor won't be quite the same.


Serving: 0.5of recipe, Calories: 265kcal, Carbohydrates: 38.9g, Protein: 12.8g, Fat: 9.4g, Saturated Fat: 2.2g, Sodium: 1591.6mg, Fiber: 9.6g, Sugar: 18.3g, NET CARBS: 29

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!



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3 comments on “Kung Pao Cauliflower”

  1. Oops, meant cauliflower fried rice hahah 🙂 

  2. Seems like Trader Joe’s cauliflower rice is all the hype recently-should probably buy a bag so I can make some cauliflower rice and I need to give this a try too!!