Lemon & Cheeze popcorn cauliflower

As much as I love cauliflower, I am not a fan of it just steamed. In my early year’s cauliflower was boiled, I can still remember the pungent smell of over-boiled cauliflower. This happened in homes and schools and I think this is the reason my generation we were not so fond of this tasteless offering.

Now, we have come up with so many tasty ways to cook this beautiful vegetable. The bad rap it had in the past is hopefully a thing of the past.

Below are the links to my cauliflower wings and roasted garlic mac n cheese.



This recipe was born of jealousy. I repeatedly saw bags popcorn cauliflower in all the supermarkets. Reading the list of ingredients always left me frustrated as just about everyone used wheat flours, so they were not gluten-free, they were no good for me as a coeliac. So out of necessity I came up with this recipe and I hope you like it.

To me it is the ingredients in the breadcrumbs that make them so tasty plus the addition of the bubbly batter and breadcrumbs which give them an extra crunch.

These will be loved by adults and children alike along side a dip from tomato ketchup and ranch to a lovely sweet chilli sauce.

  • Crispy
  • crunchy
  • Zesty
  • Cheesy
  • Moreish
  • Tasty

I wanted to make this a healthier version, with no need for a frying pan. Although they are oven cooked or air fried they certainly do not lack flavour. They are also so easy to make and taste much better than any store-bought.

The thing that makes this recipe so good is the addition of sparkling water to the batter, this makes the finished product extra crispy.


1. This recipe is for a healthier oven-baked version than the deep-fried one.

If you do wish to deep fry them, then the cooking time will be different.

2. Air fryer Instructions

Preheat the air fryer for a few minutes at 190. Do not overcrowd the basket, as this affects the cooking time. They need to be cooked in a single layer so work in 2 batches if you have a small basket.

Spray all over with vegetable oil and cook on 190 C for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. If you are cooking them from frozen then bake at 180 C FOR 15-20 minutes.

Remember all appliances do not cook equally

3. As an alternative to sparkling water you could use soda water

4. If you are going to freeze them then do so at stage 7 in the instructions. Once frozen store in an airtight freezer tub or bag.

Lemon & parmesan popcorn cauliflower

  • Preparation Time 15 Minutes
  • Serves 4
  • Cooking time Freshly made 12-15 Minutes or Frozen 20-25 Minutes

Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free


  • 1 Large head of cauliflower

The Batter

  • 120 g of plain flour, gluten-free if needed
  • 250 ml of sparkling water
  • Pinch of salt

Dry Mix

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 250 g of dried gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 30 g of vegan parmesan style cheese
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of fresh black pepper
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme finely chopped, leaves only (optional)


  1. If baking in the oven then preheat the oven to 200 C.
  2. Wash and dry the cauliflower, cut up your cauliflower into bite-size florets, leaving a little bit of stalk on the end of each one.
  3. For the batter combine the flour, sparkling water and salt in a bowl and whisk together. The batter should be thick enough to coat the florets. Set this aside.
  4. Place the breadcrumbs in a large bowl along with the lemon zest, garlic powder, black pepper, salt thyme, and vegan parmesan
  5. Get everything ready forming a little assembly line.
  6. To start, take a floret by the stalk and dip it into the batter first and shake off any excess, then straight into the breadcrumb mix. Make sure they are coated fully. Repeat this until all the cauliflower has been used up.
  7. Place each one onto a lined baking tray and coat all over with spray oil and place into the oven for around 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and the cauliflower is cooked through. You can check by inserting a skewer into one.

These are great as a side served with a dip or as a light dinner or lunch with a large salad.

I make a big batch of these and then freeze them. No need to defrost just cook straight from the freezer. Equally delicious baked in an oven or an air fryer.

If you decide to give this recipe a try, please don’t forget to tag me on Twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thegfveganalchemist I love seeing your versions of the recipes. I would love to hear your comments too. Feedback is so important.

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