Ditch the Takeout for This Mouth-Watering, Saucy Air Fried Cauliflower

air fryer cauliflower

Lui and I went to our local farmer’s market down the street last week, where we had a blast picking up some fresh produce. Because of the current situation with quarantine and the coronavirus, we both applied for food stamps, which is what we’ve been using to buy our groceries.

What’s amazing about our farmer’s market is that they’ll match up to $10 of what you want to spend on your food stamps card for free! So if you took $10 out of your card, they give you $10 more in tickets for spending at various booths. Even if you only intended on spending $10, you get to shop with $20! We wandered around the small, closed-off street looking at all the cool food to choose from. We came home with some peaches, avocados, purple cabbage, and a giant head of cauliflower.

air fryer cauliflower
This spicy, air fried cauliflower is so good that I’m drooling just thinking about it! Served on top of a bed of fluffy rice is the perfect comfort meal.

I’m not normally a cauliflower buyer, solely because there’s always so much left to save that ends up going bad. It’s usually just me and Lui eating anyways, so I don’t always batch cook it. But now, since we live with a bunch of other people willing to eat what I make, I decided to whip up this crispy, spicy, cauliflower for us to share. It’s so flavorful and easy that I’m definitely going to buy more cauliflower on our next farmer’s market trip!

Air Fryer Spicy Cauliflower with Cashews Recipe

air fryer cauliflower

Air Fryer Spicy Cauliflower with Cashews

Cauliflower gets a makeover in this crispy, spicy, and saucy take on Asian tempura cauliflower. And with some toasted cashews sprinkled on top, you won't be craving takeout anytime soon.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Entree
Cuisine Chinese, Indonesian
Servings 4 people


  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • ½ cup cashews


  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • cup barbecue sauce
  • 1-5 tbsp Sambal Oelek chili sauce depending on spice preference
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp rubbed sage
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  • Wash, cut, and dry the cauliflower
  • Make the batter by whisking together the flour, water, salt, and pepper
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400º F
  • Dip each piece of cauliflower in the batter, fully coating them and tapping off any excess
  • Once the air fryer is ready, spread out the pieces of cauliflower in the basket (don't overcrowd or all the pieces will stick together)
  • Cook for 20 min, flipping after 15 min
  • In a heated, un-oiled pan, toast the cashews and set aside
  • Mix the sauce ingredients
  • With the pan on medium heat, pour the sauce in and stir constantly until thickened
  • Transfer the air fried cauliflower to the pan and coat evenly in the sauce
  • Serve over a bed of steamed rice, mixed greens, or on its own
  • Top with toasted cashews and enjoy!


  • The sauce is definitely something you can play around with! Add more barbecue sauce, use less chili sauce, maybe thrown in some orange zest. There are so many possibilities — just tailor it to your own tastes.
  • I already made rice for this (and I love rice), but the cauliflower would be amazing in a salad or a take on a grain bowl with other veggies and proteins. Use what you’ve got! 
  • Cashews are my fave (of course), but chop up some almonds and toast them for the topping! If I had sesame seeds, I’d also put that on top. If you’re nut-free, seeds or raw bell pepper, really anything with a bit of crunch to it will work perfectly.
  • This can easily be made in an oven if you don’t have an air fryer! Still set it to 400º F and flip after about 10 minutes. Take them out once the batter becomes crispy and browned.
Keyword air fryer, asian, cashews, cauliflower, spicy, vegan

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1 Comment

  1. […] Thursday, on our regular farmer’s market trip, we went looking for some veggies for our dinners. I wanted broccoli, Lui wanted lettuce, but to […]

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