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Sesame Pomegranate Cauliflower & Veggie Fried Rice (vegan)

Instead of having to go out to get takeout, try this homemade version of your favorite Chinese food classic. 

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings


Cauliflower Coating:

  • 1 head fresh cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 1/4 cups unflavored almond milk
  • 1 1/4 cups cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs *see note
  • salt & pepper to taste

Sesame Pomegranate Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds plus more for topping
  • 2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari if gluten free
  • 1 cup 100% pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic paste or more to heat preference
  • about 2 quarts peanut or sunflower oil for frying optional
  • pomegranate arils for serving optional

Veggie Fried Rice:

  • 4 cups cooked brown rice or white
  • 3 cups stir-fry vegetables of choice
  • 4 heads garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or sunflower oil divided
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • sea salt to taste



  1. Whisk cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and set aside. Saute garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds with sesame oil in a saucepan or wok over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until browned. Add remaining ingredients from broth to chili garlic paste and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often. Continue boiling until the sauce is just starting to thicken a little, about 10 minutes. Pour in water/cornstarch while stirring and stir until thick. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Cauliflower: Fried Version

  1. Combine cornstarch, almond milk, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Add cauliflower and stir to coat. Place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours or just while you make the sauce.

  2. Heat a deep fryer filled with recommended amount of oil (alternatively you can use at least 2 inches of oil in a dutch oven or wok instead) to 350 degrees F (180 C). Remove chicken slurry from fridge and drop a few pieces at a time into hot oil. Fry on each side for about 2 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Continue until all caluiflower is cooked.

Cauliflower: Baked Version

  1. Heat the oven to 350 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the flour, almond milk, salt and pepper. Pour the panko bread crumbs into a shallow bowl or pie dish.

  2. Dip the florets into the batter, so they're completely coated. Then roll them in the panko bread crumbs. Lay the cauliflower florets on the baking sheet. Don't put them on top of each other. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.

Finish Cauliflower:

  1. Toss cauliflower in warm sauce and serve immediately topped with pomegranate arils and extra sesame seeds along with the rice.

Veggie Fried Rice:

  1. Add 3 tablespoons oil, garlic, and vegetables to large skillet or wok and cook until veggies are starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add broth and continue stirring until most of the liquid is evaporated. Now add soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice and toss to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes until it starts to darken and gets hot. Remove from heat and serve with cauliflower

Recipe Notes

If frying the cauliflower simply skip the panko. If you'd like to make this recipe gluten free you can simply replace the panko bread crumbs with a gluten free brand. 

The pictured recipe is the fried version but personally I prefer the baked. ;)