Cauliflower Stir Fry

This easy cauliflower stir fry is an ideal healthy and easy dinner idea! It’s full of nutrients and covered in a punchy sauce.

Cauliflower stir fry

Hands up if you love cauliflower! (All hands raise, over here.) This vegetable has star status among veggies these days: because there are endless creative ways to use it. Make it into tacos, use it as a plant based stand-in buffalo wings, or hide it in alfredo sauce. Here’s our new favorite way to use these tasty florets: in a cauliflower stir fry! Fry it until lightly charred and tender, then add bell peppers and a punchy stir fry sauce. It’s the best way to make eating your veggies irresistible! Try it as a healthy side dish or an easy plant based dinner (with the protein adders below).

Ingredients in this cauliflower stir fry

This cauliflower stir fry is fast and easy to make! On its own it works as a side dish, but eat it with a plant based protein (see below) and it’s an easy dinner. The main thing to note is that cauliflower requires much more time to stir fry than other veggies, so you’ll need to add it to the pan first. Here are the basic ingredients you’ll need for this stir fry:

Nutrition note: This recipe uses 2 bell peppers along with the cauliflower. 1 medium red bell pepper provides 169% of your daily vitamin C, so using 2 knocks this vitamin off the charts (Source)!

Cauliflower stir fry

Notes on the stir fry sauce

This cauliflower stir fry has an incredible stir fry sauce that brings in lots of savory, salty and sweet flavor! Use the recipe as printed, or another option is our Go To Stir Fry Sauce. It’s just as good and is an oil free option. Here are a few notes on the ingredients in the stir fry sauce:

  • Soy sauce: Use regular sodium to get the full seasoning. Tamari is a gluten free soy substitute, or use coconut aminos for a soy free gluten free substitute. You may need to add a pinch more salt in both cases.
  • Cornstarch: Arrow root powder is an effective substitute for cornstarch in stir fry sauces!
  • Miso: Miso is a Japanese fermented soybean paste that’s full of nutrients and savory flavor. It’s a must in this sauce and can’t be replicated. You can find miso in the international foods aisle near the Japanese ingredients. There are lots of types of miso: we used yellow or light miso here (use the rest for these 10 Easy Miso Recipes).
  • Gochujang (optional): Want to add a little spicy funkiness to your sauce? This Korean chili paste steps it up a notch.
How to make a cauliflower stir fry

How to make a cauliflower stir fry: some tips!

The overall process for this cauliflower stir fry is easy: but there are a few things to note to make it come out perfectly. Here’s what to know:

  • Stir fry the cauliflower about 5 minutes before adding other veggies. Here’s the kicker: cauliflower takes much longer than other veggies to stir fry. If you add them all at once, it will come out too tough. Make sure to follow the instructions exactly.
  • Use medium high heat. The point of a stir fry is to cook at high heat: quickly. This will get nice char marks onto your cauliflower.
  • Don’t double the recipe. The biggest tip for a stir fry: you can’t crowd the pan! If there are too many veggies, they’ll steam instead of stir fry. If you want to increase quantities, cook the veggies in batches then re-warm everything together.
Cauliflower stir fry

Add protein to make it a main dish!

Are you serving this cauliflower stir fry as a main dish? It’s a perfect healthy meal or fast and easy dinner idea. Just make sure to serve with a whole grain and consider adding protein to keep it filling. Here are some ideas:

  • Serve with Rice: Rice has protein (about 10% of your daily needs in 1 cup cooked) and fiber, which helps to make a filling meal. Try our White RiceBrown Rice, or Instant Pot Rice.
  • Cashews: Throw 3/4 cup cashews into this stir fry when you add the cauliflower. This makes a main dish of about 2 to 3 servings.
  • Edamame: Add 1 cup shelled, frozen edamame in the last 2 to 3 minutes of the cook time. Or eat edamame in the shell as a side: try Easy Edamame or Spicy Edamame.
  • Tofu: Cook Marinated Tofu or Pan Fried Tofu, then add it once the stir fry is done.
  • Shrimp: Make Garlic Shrimp but use sesame oil instead of butter and omit the lemon.
Cauliflower stir fry

Or serve cauliflower stir fry as a side dish

You also can serve this cauliflower stir fry as a side dish instead! It would be fantastic with the following healthy whole food dinner recipes:

This cauliflower stir fry recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Cauliflower stir fry

Easy Cauliflower Stir Fry


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 as a main with added protein, 4 as a side 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This easy cauliflower stir fry is an ideal healthy and easy dinner idea! It’s full of nutrients and covered in a punchy sauce. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 medium head cauliflower (2 pounds)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar*
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon light miso
  • 1/2 tablespoon gochujang (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (regular, not toasted)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil for stir frying, divided
  • To serve as a main dish: Add 3/4 cup cashews with cauliflower**, add 1 cup shelled frozen edamame in the last 2 to 3 minutes, or add Marinated Tofu, Pan Fried Tofu, or Sauteed Shrimp and serve with rice

Instructions

  1. Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Thinly slice the bell peppers. Thinly slice the white onion. Thinly slice the green onion.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, soy sauce, miso, gochujang, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch (or make the Go To Stir Fry Sauce). 
  3. In large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons neutral oil over medium high heat. Add the cauliflower and a pinch of salt and cook unstirring, for 3 to 4 minutes until charred. Flip the florets and continue cooking for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the bell peppers, white onion, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and cook 4 to 6 minutes until tender.
  5. Turn off the heat. Pour in the sauce and add the green onions. Stir until the sauce coats everything and thickens. Serve immediately. 

Notes

*Or substitute the Go To Stir Fry Sauce for the sauce ingredients (oil free).

**Adding cashews would serve about 2 to 3 as a vegetarian main; adding tofu can stretch it to 4.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stir Fry
  • Cuisine: Asian inspired

Keywords: Cauliflower stir fry

More great cauliflower recipes

There are so many tasty cauliflower recipes to try if you love this healthy veggie! Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Buffalo Cauliflower Wings They’re crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and tossed with spicy buffalo sauce.
  • Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower No one can resist this roasted cauliflower with Parmesan! It’s as irresistible as French fries, baked in a hot oven until browned and crisp.
  • Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Like a healthy alfredo sauce using cauliflower as a base! It has less calories and all the benefits of this healthy veggie.
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

8 Comments

  • Reply
    Janet
    September 30, 2020 at 9:54 am

    This looks great! I have a head of cauliflower coming in my produce box this week and I will give this a try.

  • Reply
    Ranae Norman
    February 4, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    In looking at your recipes I find in the nutrition list, it never lists the amount of sodium per serving. I love the recipes but am hesitant to use them because of the sodium. Do you have any that are sodium free or lower in sodium? Thanks

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      February 4, 2021 at 3:45 pm

      High! Our nutrition analyzer doesn’t do well with sodium because brands of broth, beans, etc have vastly different amounts of sodium. We always call for kosher salt which has has ‭1,920‬ mg of sodium per teaspoon.

  • Reply
    Nora
    March 9, 2021 at 2:15 am

    I’m going to make this later this week, just wondering what the double asterisk is for when you say to add the cashews with the cauliflower? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      March 11, 2021 at 10:02 am

      We updated the recipe to add the ** note — thank you!

  • Reply
    Courtney
    March 18, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    Just made this for dinner and it was absolutely delicious. I added pan-fried tofu and had it over rice. Delicious! Thanks :)

  • Reply
    Kelly K
    March 21, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    I love this recipe! It’s now a family go-to. My 7 year nephew even LOVES it. I made it with edamame and tofu.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 22, 2021 at 9:01 am

      :) Glad you are loving it!

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