Extra crispy, sweet, and spicy, sesame crusted cauliflower with pomegranate ponzu sauce. Crispy oven baked cauliflower breaded in a mix of Panko bread crumbs and sesame seeds, and served with a quick homemade pomegranate ponzu sauce. It’s kind of like your favorite Asian takeout, but better, healthier, and easy enough for any night of the week.

overhead photo of Sesame Crusted Cauliflower with Pomegranate Ponzu Sauce

Mondays in January are my favorite. I’m still in the “New Year” mind-set, crossing things off my to-do list, and working on tackling my 2019 goals. I’m not really the type of person that believes in resolutions. Or even one who thinks much of making the New Year a big deal for setting goals. If I have an idea, or something I want to do, I’m just going to do it. Or I’ll at least start taking the steps to do it, right there and then. I definitely don’t wait for New Year’s Eve to roll around to make big changes. I set my goals as they come! That said, I do think this is such a great time to sit down and reflect, do some brainstorming, and make goals for where you might want to be in a year…or even 5 years.

Did I just contradict myself? I think I did.

I’m sure if you were in my head you would understand what I’m trying to say (wink, wink). Basically, I love this time of year because it feels fresh and exciting. I love the idea of setting goals for the year, but if I have something I want to do, I’m going to do it. No matter what time of year it is.

Am I making any sense at all? Probably not, but let’s just move on.

Point is that I love Mondays and I’m feeling especially excited for this next week. The weekend was spent catching up on work, celebrating my mom’s birthday, and also just trying to stay warm. Oh winter…

overhead photo of Sesame Crusted Cauliflower on baking sheet

Pomegranate Ponzu Sauce with juiced oranges on table

This is yet another recipe I made over Christmas, when my family was all in town. I’ve been incredibly excited to share this recipe. It’s a really fun way to enjoy cauliflower that feels new and exciting.

Up until this recipe, I had never made cauliflower “steaks” before. My almost sister-in-law, Lyndsie, told me I needed to make Panko crusted cauliflower steaks. That sounded good, but for some reason, sesame crusted sounded so much better.

Sooo. I did what I do, and I played around with some recipes, tweaked a few things, and this is the recipe I got in return.

It. Is. GOOD. Like Asian takeout, but better, and healthier. And pretty easy too!

overhead close up photo of Sesame Crusted Cauliflower with Pomegranate Ponzu Sauce

First up, slice the cauliflower in to “steaks”. This is really easy to do, but you’ll only get 2-3 “steaks” per head of cauliflower. The rest of the cauliflower will fall apart into florets, you can just bread those the same way you do the “steaks”.

For the coating, I used a mix of Panko bread crumbs (you can certainly use gluten free, if needed) and sesame seeds. As the sesame seeds roast in the oven, they slowly become toasted and add an incredible flavor to every bite of the cauliflower.

While the cauliflower is baking, make the ponzu sauce. This is so easy, as it’s really just a mix of fresh citrus juice, rice vinegar, ginger, and chili sauce. I added pomegranate for a sweet flavor, and simply because it’s my favorite winter fruit.

side angle photo Sesame Crusted Cauliflower with Pomegranate Ponzu Sauce being drizzled on cauliflower

Everything together is delicious. The cauliflower is tender on the inside, but crispy on the outside, with flavors of nutty sesame seeds throughout. So good on its own, but better with the sweet and spicy ponzu sauce for dipping.

I served this as more of a main course, with a side of steamed rice (very typical of me). But you can also serve as a side dish or appetizer. If broken in to florets instead of steaks, this would make a great super bowl recipes. Like vegetarian Asian wings. I might just have to do that.

Either way you end up serving them they’re going to be delicious and well loved. AND, this dish makes for a great meatless Monday dinner too. Just saying.

overhead photo of Sesame Crusted Cauliflower cut in half

If you make this sesame crusted cauliflower, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Sesame Crusted Cauliflower with Pomegranate Ponzu Sauce.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 228 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium heads of cauliflower, each cut into 2-3 (1 1/2 inch) steaks
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup raw sesame seeds
  • kosher salt and black peppers
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • extra virgin olive oil, or sesame oil, for brushing

Pomegranate Citrus Ponzu Sauce

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed clementine or orange juice
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 inch fresh ginger grated
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • fresh cilantro for serving

Instructions

  • 1. Stand the cauliflower on its stem and cut into 1½ inch thick steaks, you should get 2-3 slices per head. Reserve smaller florets for another use. 
    2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
    3. Add the Panko, sesame seeds, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to a medium sized bowl. Stir to combine. Add the egg to a separate shallow bowl or pie plate.
    4. Working in a line, dredge both sides of the cauliflower steak through the egg and then through the Panko, coating all sides. Lightly brush the cauliflower with olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then flip and continue cooking another 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and turning golden brown.
    5. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a glass jar or bowl, combine the soy sauce, orange juice, lime juice, rice vinegar, honey, chili sauce, and ginger. Add the pomegranate seeds.
    6. Serve the cauliflower steaks warm, with the ponzu sauce drizzled over top, add fresh cilantro. Enjoy! 

horizontal photo of Sesame Crusted Cauliflower with Pomegranate Ponzu Sauce

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  1. 5 stars
    For anyone on the fence about trying this recipe- do it! My whole family enjoyed it, even the kids. Personally I think the sesame seeds added a unique nuttiness that was really yummy. Rather than buying (very expensive) pomegranate seeds, I used some pomegranate concentrate I had in my fridge. The sauce was lovely. I served it with a white bean salad for protein.

    1. Hi! I am so glad this recipe turned out so well for you! Thank you so much for trying it! xTieghan

  2. I’m absolutely in love with everything you make. I want to make this for a group of friends coming over and use it as an appetizer. You mentioned to break the cauliflower into florets. The florets can get a little big. Do you suggest slicing them or keeping them as florets and just cut the larger florets into tiny florets. Hope this makes sense. Thanks again for the amazing receipe.

    1. Hi Julia! You can just cut the larger florets in half right down the center. Mine usually hold up nicely when I do this~ Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    Made this last night for dinner with friends and it was the hit of the party! Five of us polished off the entire recipe (plus having a salad and a main). I’m sure they would have eaten more if we had it. Since pomegranates aren’t in season at the end of March and because I was running out of time, I ended up using commercial ponzu sauce and sweet Thai chili sauce as the drizzle. Also instead of misting with oil, I mixed it into the panko-sesame mix to make sure it would brown and crisp. I baked for 20 minutes on one side and 10 on the other. Would definitely make again.

  4. 5 stars
    Made this tonight! The husband loved it and so did I. Perfect texture and taste. The sauce was new for me but it sure added a bright, fresh layer to the cauliflower. Another amazing recipe from you. Thank you so much!

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