Lemon & thyme popcorn cauliflower

  • Preparation Time 15 Minutes
  • Cooking time 20 Minutes
  • Serves 4

Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free

I love cauliflower, it is one of my favourite vegetables as it is so versatile. It has had a bad rap in the past, the boiled to death and no longer recognisable vegetable from my school days, which could be smelt from afar and as pungent as it was tasteless.

I like mine gently steamed, roasted, used in Mac n cheese, cauliflower spicy wings and of course cauliflower cheese.

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



This recipe was born of jealously. I kept seeing popcorn cauliflower in shops but because they were not gluten-free, they were no good for me. I came up with this recipe and hope you like it.

It is the ingredients in the breadcrumbs that make it so tasty and the double- dip into the buttermilk makes the crust so good. They are so

  • Crispy
  • crunchy
  • Zesty
  • Cheesy
  • Moreish

In the recipe below I have cooked them in the oven, they are not as crunchy as a deep fried version, but not so unhealthy.

If you want to just deep fry them then steam the cauliflower first, making sure it is fully dry before coating or use very small pieces.


  • 1 Large of cauliflower
  • 95 g of plain flour, gluten-free if needed, gluten-free if needed
  • 180 ml of plant-based milk
  • zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 200 g of fine dried breadcrumbs, gluten-free if needed
  • 20g 0f nutritional yeast or 20g more of breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp of lemon pepper or fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme finely chopped, leaves only or 1 tsp of dried
  • 50 g of vegan parmesan finely grated {optional}
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  1. Cut up your cauliflower into bite size florets, leave a little bit of stalk on the end of each one. If you are frying them, then I would recommend steaming them until slightly softened. The reason for this is that the outer coating will cook before the inside, then leave to dry on paper towels.
  2. Add the breadcrumbs to a large bowl, adding the lemon zest, seasoning, thyme, nutritional yeast and parmesan and parmesan if you are using it.
  3. In a jug mix the milk and lemon juice to make your vegan buttermilk, leave to curdle slightly for 5 minutes. In the last bowl place the flour and paprika. Set it up like a little assembly line.
  4. To start take a floret and dip into the buttermilk first, then the flour, then the buttermilk again. Finally rolling it into the breadcrumb mix, ensuring sure it is fully coated. Repeat this until all the cauliflower has been used up.
  5. Place each one on to a lined baking tray and coat all over with spray oil and place into the oven for around 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and the cauliflower is cooked through. You can check by inserting a skewer into one.

Next, enjoy. These are great with a side or served just with a dip. I make a big batch of these and then freeze them. This works well and can be cooked in the oven from frozen, allowing an extra 10 minutes cooking time. I prefer to leave mine out of the freezer just for them to defrost slightly.

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