Paleo Crack Cauliflower With Spicy Sauce

Learn how to make this amazing, finger-licking good crack cauliflower bites using my paleo-friendly, gluten-free recipe. Serve with a spicy red sauce for an excellent appetizer or a side dish. 

Paleo Crack Cauliflower With Spicy Red Sauce - Gluten-Free Recipe
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I first came across this crack cauliflower recipe on Delish website. As you can imagine, the name intrigued me enough to click on the link, and sure enough, it looked like you could get hooked on the cauliflower made in this way. But, with panko breadcrumbs, white flour, brown sugar and BBQ sauce in the ingredients, I’ve decided that I should make a healthier version of this dish. Enter my paleo crack cauliflower!

I apologize if you think the name is offensive or insensitive but I believe we need to approach life with a bit of humour (even the difficult topics) and why not with food!?!? 

I often bake cauliflower with other veggies and I have a super yummy recipe for roasted cauliflower bites in the Eat Drink Paleo Cookbook, BUT, I have to admit that this recipe is definitely taking roasted cauliflower to the next level. I used a whole head of cauliflower AND I ate all of it…by myself. I couldn’t stop. So, yes, I can legitimately call this ‘crack cauliflower’.

This is a finger food great dish to serve at group gatherings (Super Bowl, cocktail party, picnics) or to have it as a side dish with some protein. I prepared it with a sweet and spicy red sauce but it would be equally delicious with a simple aioli dip (a.k.a garlic and mayonnaise). You can serve it warm or cold, and I enjoyed both.



Egg-free version: Coat cauliflower florets in olive oil or avocado oil and then coat (lightly) in the crumb mixture.

Nut-free version: Replace almond meal/ground almonds with more tapioca flour and coconut flour, or even something like buckwheat or quinoa flour, if you include those in your cooking.

Serve with aioli: If you want to serve these cauliflower bites with aioli, simply combine a few tablespoons of mayonnaise with a grated clove of garlic, a little lemon juice and black pepper.


The magic comes from the spiced coating, which you can mix in a large bowl. If you want, you can make a larger batch and store it in a Ziploc bag in the pantry to use up next time. I always find I have some leftover coating.

The egg is kind of necessary for the coating to stick BUT for an egg-free recipe, you could mix some arrowroot or tapioca flour and almond milk in a bowl and use it as a thin batter to dip the cauliflower in (kind of like tempura vegetables). This way, the coating will also be able to stick to the cauliflower.

I find that roasting the cauliflower is fuss-free and a little healthier but you could also try to shallow fry the pieces in a pan in some oil. Too much work for me! 

Finally, prepare the dipping sauce as per the recipe or mix together a little mayonnaise, hot sauce and garlic for a delicious aioli dip.


How To Make Crack Cauliflower Paleo Style
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All cauliflower recipes here.

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Crack cauliflower recipe (Paleo, Gluten-free)
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Crack Cauliflower with Spicy Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 5
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
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Calories: 165kcal
Covered in spiced coating and roasted to crispy perfection, these crack cauliflower bites are tasty and nutritious. Serve with a fiery dipping sauce or a simple mayonnaise or aioli.


  • 1 large head cauliflower cut into small florets (see picture above)
  • 2 eggs

For the coating

  • 1/4 cup almond meal or ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder/granules
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder/granules
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the sweet and spicy red sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small clove of garlic grated or finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Generous pinch of chilli powder flakes or some chopped fresh chilli


  • Preheat the oven to 220 C / 430 F.
  • Prepare the cauliflower and whisk the eggs in a bowl. Set aside. See pictures below.
  • Combine the coating ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well.
  • Place a piece of non-stick parchment paper over a flat baking tray. You can also grease the tray with some coconut oil and use it without the parchment paper.
  • Dip each cauliflower floret in the egg mixture, shake of the excess egg and then coat all over with the crumb mixture. I use one hand for dipping in the egg and the other hand for crumb coating. That way, your hands won't get too sticky with the egg and coating mixture. Shake off the coating slightly and place the finished florets evenly on the tray.
  • Place the tray in the oven, middle shelf, and turn the heat down to 200 C / 400 F. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the tray and turn the florets over. Bake for 10-12 more minutes and they should be done.
  • While the cauliflower bites are baking, prepare the red sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small pot and heat over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat down and stir for a minute, allowing the flavours to cook off together. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Transfer the cauliflower bites to a platter and drizzle with some of the sauce; or, serve the sauce on the side for dipping.


If you want to serve these cauliflower bites with aioli, simply combine a few tablespoons of mayonnaise with a grated clove of garlic, a little lemon juice and black pepper.


Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 805mg | Potassium: 578mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 342IU | Vitamin C: 82mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: Cauliflower, Side Dishes, Vegetarian, Vegetable Recipes, Roasted vegetables, Spicy
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookedandloved or tag #cookedandloved
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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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  1. Can you use something else besides tapioca flour? My son can’t have any starch flours what so ever.

    1. Hey heather, you can omit it completely and just add a little more almond meal or/an coconut flour. It will even be lovely with less flour/starches and just the spices as the coating.

  2. Irena … I need to bring a starter to a party. Could I make the “crack cauliflower” a day ahead or is it a dish that needs to be eaten straight away.

    1. Hey Berti, sorry for a late reply. I would say it’s best served fresh, but you can certainly do some of the prep the day before, like make the sauce, and cut up the cauliflower, and even premake the crumbs mixture.

  3. I reduced the recipe by 1/4 and it is really good! I will definitely make with a full head of cauliflower next time. Yummy!

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