Crispy Cauliflower Nuggets with Easy Barbecue Sauce
  • Chef: Luke Hines 
  • Serves: 4
  • Time: 1 hour


  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets 
  • Coconut, avocado or macadamia oil or oil spray, for coating 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 


  • 100g (1 cup) almond meal 
  • 2 tsp chilli powder 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 2 tsp ground cumin 
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 750ml (3 cups) coconut cream 
  • 120g (1 cup) arrowroot or tapioca flour 

Easy Barbecue Sauce

  • 3 tbsp hulled tahini 
  • 75g tomato paste 
  • 1 tsp maple syrup 
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder 
  • 1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 ½ tsp molasses 
  • 3 drops liquid smoke, or to taste 
  • Sea salt, to taste 
  • ½ tsp chilli powder, optional 
  • 3 tbsp filtered water, plus extra if needed 


Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two large baking trays with baking paper. 

Mix the almond meal, chilli powder, garlic powder, paprika and ground spices in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, mix together the coconut cream and arrowroot or tapioca flour to make a thick batter. 

Dip a cauliflower floret briefly in the coconut cream batter to coat evenly, knock off any excess batter and then toss it in the almond meal mixture. Transfer to a prepared tray and repeat with the rest of the florets. 

When all the florets are ready, drizzle or give them a gentle spray with oil. Bake for 15-25 minutes, turning halfway and drizzling or re-spraying with oil if you wish, until golden brown and crisp. 

Meanwhile, for the barbecue sauce, blitz together all the ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender until really smooth. If the sauce is a little thick, add an extra splash of water. 

Remove the crispy cauliflower popcorn pieces from the oven and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve alongside the barbecue sauce. 

Tip: Liquid smoke can be found in speciality food stores and some grocery stores. It is made from hickory, applewood or mesquite wood that is burned inside a chamber. As the smoke rises it is captured in a condenser and this cooled liquid smoke is then collected and filtered. Adding very small amounts of it to recipes gives them a wonderful smokey flavour, but be warned, a little goes a long way – the difference between using a little bit of it and going overboard is the difference between a sunny barbecue and a face full of smoke as the wind shifts.