Do you ever just get a craving for fried foods? Eating healthy usually means avoiding fried foods, but sometimes we crave crispy crunchy fried food. And while fried anything creates inflammation and shouldn’t be a mainstay in your diet, there are ways to make it a healthier choice. A popular replacement for fried chicken wings is fried cauliflower, and I’ve got a delicious vegan cauliflower bites recipe for you.
In our perfectly imperfect lives we can’t always eat how we should, and that’s okay. You should never feel guilty about not eating “perfectly” all the time. Keep living your healthiest life and you’ll be just fine, even when tempted by an occasional fried snack. :)
Cauliflower bites have become a popular snack because of their satisfying flavor and texture. I’m working with Harmless Harvest to bring you these vegan cauliflower bites plus two different sauces that will not only dazzle your taste buds, but will be more kind to your body and your health than other fried snacks.
Do you want a tangy, fruity flavor with a spicy kick? Try the pomegranate drizzle!
Looking for a complex, savory flavor? You’ll love the tahini sauce.
So if you’ve ever wondered how you can make this “healthier” snack or appetizer at home, here’s the perfect recipe for you. But first, just a few reasons these bites aren’t all bad for you.
The Health Benefits of Cauliflower
This crisp and refreshing vegetable is low in calories but high in nutritional value. It’s an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Cauliflower is also an amazing source of antioxidants, which help keep you looking and feeling beautiful.
Cauliflower is also very high in fiber, which is great news for your gut health and digestion!
If you haven’t tried them yet, cauliflower rice and cauliflower pizza crusts are great plant-based alternatives to flour versions and rice.
Can I Use Frozen Cauliflower to Make Cauliflower Bites?
Yes! You’ll need to do a little extra prep work to make sure your bites don’t turn out soggy though. Before you prepare your cauliflower for frying, you’ll want to put the frozen florets into a small bowl and pour hot water over them for a few minutes to thaw them out.
After that, be sure to thoroughly dry them off and you’re ready to go!
Delicious Dairy-Free Yogurt
Dairy-free, plant-based yogurt can give you all the benefits of dairy yogurt, but without the unpleasant health effects of dairy like acid build-up and acne!
Dairy-free yogurt is an amazing source of important nutrients like calcium and protein, as well food-based probiotics. If you’ve been here a while, then you know how important the right probiotics are to not only your digestion, but to your entire body. Your gut and skin microbiomes are closely related, so when you take good care of one, you help take good care of the other.
Harmless Harvest’s plain yogurt is made with organic hand-scooped coconut meat, and blended until it’s smooth and creamy. It’s perfect for an easy and refreshing snack, and contains 7 live and active yogurt strains that’ll keep your gut happy and your skin beautiful.
Health Effects of Pomegranate Seeds
Pomegranates are an amazing fruit. Instead of the fruits themselves, we eat the seeds and arils— the red, juicy part covering the seed. Pomegranates and their seeds are full of powerful antioxidants called punicalagins, which have amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
Pomegranates can even reduce your risk of certain illnesses including heart disease, arthritis and inflammatory conditions.
Tahini is such a wonderfully simple, but also nutrient-rich and healthful food. It’s made from sesame seeds, which contains lots of healthy compounds, such as sesamin, as well as healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
All these amazing compounds make tahini an antioxidant-rich food, which can help protect your body against the free radicals that can potentially cause disease. The antioxidants in tahini are also amazing for fighting inflammation, and may even have antibacterial properties as well! This makes tahini a powerful health food that can help keep you feeling great for a long time. Plus, it’s delicious too. :)
Is Oil Good for You?
The first bite into fried foods is so satisfying sometimes— the light crunch, crispy texture, and all those delicious flavors! But as delicious as fried foods can be, frying oils themselves can wreak havoc on your skin and accelerate signs of aging. Eek!
In my book Beauty Detox Foods, I talk about how polyunsaturated vegetable oils, including canola, soybean, and corn oils, are super unstable and reactive, which can cause them to oxidize and go bad simply by sitting on your shelf. Because of the effect this can have on your body and your skin, you definitely want to steer clear of these if you want to keep your skin young and beautiful.
As far as oil goes, there are two that are fine to eat, and can even be good for you: olive oil and coconut oil. Olive oil is best when cooking at low temperatures, or as a light splash on a salad. Coconut oil is a nutritious and beneficial fat, and can help speed up your metabolism by supporting your thyroid function. It also has a high smoke point, which makes it better for cooking than other oils.
Can I Cook This in an Air Fryer?
Air fryers have become pretty trendy in recent years, promising all the flavor of fried foods but without the added oil or extra work. Air fryers work by blowing hot air around the food, and creating a convection effect that cooks the food and makes it nice and crispy.
But if you have an air fryer, this isn’t the right recipe to use it for. You don’t want to cook foods dipped in liquid batter in your air fryer because it’ll make a huge mess when you turn the machine on! Save yourself the mess and the frustration here, and save your air fryer for another recipe.
However you decide to make your cauliflower bites, make sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see all the ways you’re enjoying this recipe! And if you’re on Pinterest, pin this to your boards and share with your friends.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper. Add the Harmless Harvest dairy-free yogurt and sparkling water to the dry ingredients. Whisk until mostly smooth and incorporated; be careful not to overmix.
Add the cauliflower florets into the bowl, and toss them in the batter so that each one is evenly coated in the mixture.
Fill a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with 3”- 4” inches of oil. On medium-high, heat the oil to 350°F. Use a candy thermometer to test the temperature, or stick the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil - when bubbles appear around the wood the oil is hot enough.
Working in batches, add 4-5 florets into the oil at a time. The oil should stay around 350°F, and adjust the temperature as needed. Fry each floret for 3-4 minutes, flipping them over halfway through to make sure they’re evenly golden on both sides. Transfer to a paper-lined tray and sprinkle with salt while hot.
For the Sauces:
Spicy Pomegranate Molasses Drizzle - In a bowl, whisk together the pomegranate molasses, sriracha, and avocado oil. Drizzle over the cauliflower just before serving
Garlic Tahini Sauce - In a bowl, whisk the tahini and water together. Add the lemon juice and salt, and whisk until smooth. Serve as a dipping sauce with the cauliflower, or drizzle over the top prior to serving.
Looking for more creative ways to eat this amazing vegetable? You might be amazed at how versatile cauliflower can be. Check out these delicious, hearty and healthy vegan recipes where cauliflower is the star!