Have you ever wondered how those insanely popular pinned recipes on Pinterest actually taste? Us too, which is why we’ve started a new series, Pin to Plate. We’re interviewing the blogger, testing out those recipes in-house, photographing our results, and sharing our experience. #PinFails, you’ve become a thing of the past.

You may think something like cauliflower rice or a cauliflower keto bowl is Pinterest’s top cauli recipe. Well, think again. While those dishes are oh-so-trendy, the top spot actually belongs to a way more accessible and comforting food. Saved 281K times and counting, Bang Bang Cauliflower from Kirbie’s Cravings features panko-coated florets that are baked until crispy and then coated in a spicy-sweet sauce. Talk about the easiest way to coax yourself into eating more cruciferous veg.

At first thought, we think her recipe is a riff on Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp. The chain restaurant is famous for its signature appetizer that features panko-coated shrimp served with a chili-mayo dipping sauce. The beloved app has inspired dozens of bloggers to come up with their own copycat versions, and Kirbie’s Cravings blogger Jennifer Lee has developed a solid vegetarian rendition. However, in an email Lee told Brit + Co, “The dish is inspired by my Chinese-American background. I love creating American twists on Chinese dishes.” As to why it’s so popular, Lee added, “It is a unique way to eat cauliflower (breaded and baked until crispy) and a healthier way to enjoy a bang bang sauce-flavored dish without sacrificing on taste or flavor.”

The florets bake up until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The creamy, spicy-sweet sauce will have you diving back into the bowl for more — our tasters actually fought for the last florets! We made only one change to the recipe and that’s to add about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the egg to season the cauliflower a bit. You can also garnish the batch with a dash of cayenne to bring up the heat. If OTT sweet isn’t your jam, you can always reduce the amount of honey in the sauce or leave it out altogether. This recipe makes quite a lot of sauce, so if you have leftovers, don’t toss them. Lee tells her readers, “I use [the sauce] in a lot of recipes for dipping chicken, seafood, vegetables, just about anything really.”

Bang Bang Cauliflower REcipe

(Serves 2)

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets
  • 2 large eggs whisked with 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs, Kikkoman brand preferred for even baking
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, preferably without chili seeds
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, like sriracha
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped, to garnish (optional)
  • cayenne, to garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Dip cauliflower pieces in egg and then roll in panko until fully coated and then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (we lined it with a cooling rack to maximize crispiness around all sides). You may need to use your fingers to press on the coating to help it to stick to the cauliflower bites. Repeat until all cauliflower is coated.

3. Bake for about 20 minutes or until coating is dark golden brown and crunchy.

4. While cauliflower is cooking, make the bang bang sauce. Add all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until uniform and no mayonnaise lumps remain.

5. Drizzle over finished cauliflower, reserving additional sauce for dipping. Garnish with fresh parsley and/or cayenne if desired.

Find more delicious eats by following Brit + Co on Pinterest.

(Recipe via Kirbie’s Cravings; photos via Kirbie’s Cravings and Brittany Griffin/Brit + Co)