This past week, we had a double date night with some good friends. They are vegetarian, so I figured my dinner options would be limited. Thanks to kitchen gadgets though, I was able to whip up a good vegetarian meal for the four of us. Even their two year old ate all his veggies. I made healthy Chinese food. To replace orange chicken, I made roasted cauliflower. Then to replace chow mien, I made zucchini noodles. With the right tools and the right sauces, even veggies can taste delicious.
- 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs (Kikkoman brand preferred for even baking)
- 2 large eggs, whisked
For the sauce:
- 6 tbsp honey
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 6 TBS water + 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 TBS low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 TBS sriracha sauce
For the chow Mien:
- 2-3 medium zucchinis
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 3 TBS soy sauce
- 1/3 head of shredded cabbage (optional)
- 2 carrots, shredded (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Set whisked eggs aside in a small bowl. Set panko crumbs aside in a separate bowl. Dip cauliflower pieces in egg and then roll in panko until fully coated, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all cauliflower is coated. About halfway through, your breadcrumbs may start to clump together from the egg coating touching it, making it harder to stick to the cauliflower. To help get these clumps to stay on the cauliflower, gently press them on when coating the cauliflower.
- I was taught you have a wet hand and a dry hand. This means use one hand to dip into the egg and the other to toss with the bread crumbs. This will help avoid clumping. I am pretty bad at this, but it does work, I promise. I did not get a single clump.
- At the end of the dinner everyone wanted more cauliflower, so err on the side of more rather than just enough.
2. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until coating is a dark golden brown and crunchy.
3. While the cauliflower is cooking, make sauce on the stove. Add all sauce ingredients except the cornstarch + water. Bring to a simmer and stir until completely mixed. In a small bowl, completely dissolve cornstarch in water, then add to the mixture. Stir until sauce reaches a low boil again and cook until sauce thickens (about 2 minutes). Toss cauliflower in sauce and coat. Serve warm. Garnish with fresh chopped scallions if desired.
- To be honest, I did not make the sauce. But with how well the cauliflower turned out, I would say the sauce is good as well. Working in a kitchen, we have companies bring us samples of things, and recently we got orange sauce and sweet and sour sauce. I figured it would be perfect to try them out.
4. Use your kitchen gadget to spaghetti the zucchini, skin and all. Pat dry and toss in the olive oil. Put in a skillet and sauté until al dente. Then add all the other ingredients. Cook till tender.
I have always been a fan of Chinese food ever since I went to China when I was 16. I never thought a vegetarian option would make a solid substitute. This recipe proved me wrong. Every one of us enjoyed the meal, so much so that we had no leftovers. Plus, it is so much healthier than deep frying anything.