This surprising stir fry recipe is a filling and flavorful vegetarian meal. Cauliflower Stir Fry with shiitake mushrooms gets a tangy boost from our favorite healthy homemade stir fry sauce, and tasty garnish like cashews and cilantro. It’s a quick, easy, and healthy plant based dinner recipe that’s perfect for meatless Monday!
I don’t think the importance of stir fry can be overstated. It is one of the best weapons any busy person has to combat the dreaded takeout trap. It’s fast (almost always a 30-minute meal), it’s forgiving, and it’s frickin delicious. (Especially when one uses a certain carefully crafted recipe for homemade stir fry sauce.)
If you’re someone (like me) who gets pulled in a lot of directions on a daily basis, or someone who suffers from intense pangs of guilt when you indulge in “cheat” meals simply to accommodate a packed schedule, then stir fry is a life saver.
And the possibilities are endless. Steak stir fry, chicken stir fry, stir fry noodles, honey garlic stir fry…You can get with this, or you can get with that. It all depends on what you’ve got on hand.
That being said, I don’t want to give the illusion that our Cauliflower Stir Fry was magically pulled out of thin air. This was a carefully planned Meatless Monday meal. I adore the sweet and salty tang of my homemade sauce, but what I really was craving was a big burst of umami, and boy does this dish deliver.
Buttery cauliflower florets and earthy shiitake mushrooms are a perfect complement for the sauce, and the small touches of cilantro and cashew make it better than takeout! However, I think my favorite thing about this veggie stir fry is that you won’t miss the meat for a minute. (But I wouldn’t be mad if you tossed some in – shrimp is a particularly great pairing.)
For a more concise post with “just the facts”, click to view the web story for this veggie stir fry!
How to Make Cauliflower Stir Fry
Other plant-based meals may leave you wanting more substance, but this fast, fresh, and flavorful Cauliflower Stir Fry with Shiitake Mushrooms fills the tank every time. This combo of hearty veggies, healthy homemade stir fry sauce, and bright, flavorful garnish is perfect when you’re short on time, but don’t want to settle for food on-the-go.
- Combine the stir fry sauce ingredients in a small bowl or lidded jar; whisk or shake until well combined.
- Stir fry the shiitake mushrooms until they release their water content and are golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Push the mushrooms to the edge of the pan.
- Add the cauliflower florets the pan. Stir to coat in the oil, then leave alone to cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. Stir the mushrooms and sautee 3 minutes more.
- Add the scallions and stir fry continuously for 1 minute.
- Pour in the stir fry sauce, stir, then cover and cook 5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook 1-2 minutes more, until the sauce is thick and the cauliflower is tender.
- Garnish with cashews and cilantro to taste; serve immediately and enjoy!.
- Saute the mushrooms properly. We’ve got a whole post on how to saute mushrooms you can reference here. The quick and dirty? Cook the mushrooms until they release their water content and start to brown around the edges. This takes longer than you think (but not THAT long). You’ll be rewarded with extremely flavorful mushrooms that aren’t chewy or soggy.
- Divide the cauliflower into smaller, bite-sized pieces – they’ll cook more quickly, and you’ll be able to easily spear them with a fork.
- Feel free to swap out the cashews for peanuts, or add sesame seeds in addition to the nuts for crunch.
- Reach for a wok or 12″ skillet to make this recipe. You need both space to allow the veggies to move around, and high heat to perform the actual stir frying.
Meal Prep and Leftovers
This is a terrific option for meal prep! It will hold up well in the fridge (in a covered, sealed container) for up 4 days. Reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between heatings.
Make it Your Way
Make it Vegan: use maple syrup in place of the honey in the stir fry sauce.
Swap the Coconut Aminos: I prefer coconut aminos to soy sauce for a variety of reasons (you can read all about why I love coconut aminos so much here), but it can easily be swapped for soy sauce or gluten-free tamari. Use an equivalent amount.
Make it Paleo: use arrowroot in place of cornstarch for the stir fry sauce; serve cauliflower stir fry over sweet potato glass noodles instead of steamed white rice. I don’t like this dish over cauliflower rice – it’s just TOO much cauliflower. OR, simply serve as is and increase the portion size – this dish doesn’t necessarily need a grain base to make it filling!
Make it Spicy: add up to 1 tablespoon red chili paste to the stir fry sauce.
Add Plant Protein: edamame is a great option for adding plant-based protein! Stir in 1 cup shelled, frozen then defrosted edamame along with the stir fry sauce. Edamame defrost pretty quickly, so leave overnight to thaw in your fridge or spread out on a paper towel for about 30 minutes. Any residual frost will evaporate during frying.
Add Animal Protein: shrimp is a great pairing for this meal! Stir fry 1 pound of cleaned, deveined shrimp in half a tablespoon of olive oil until plump and pale pink. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside while you make the remainder of the vegetable stir fry. Return the shrimp to the pan or wok just before adding the sauce. If adding a full pound of shrimp (or other protein) double the stir fry sauce portion.
More Flavorful Veggie-Forward Main Dishes
- Cauliflower Curry with Sweet Potatoes
- Stir Fry Noodles (Vegan)
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Mostly Veggie Steak Stir Fry
- Curried Cauliflower Soup
- Rainbow Glass Noodle Salad
Did you make this simple cauliflower stir fry? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 7 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium head cauliflower, divided into bite sized florets, about 6 cups
- 6 whole green onions, sliced into 2” pieces
- ¼ c chopped roasted cashews
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 2 cups steamed white rice
Stir Fry Sauce
- ¼ c coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Make the stir fry sauce. Combine all ingredients and whisk or shake in a lidded jar until well combined. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or 12” skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the shiitake mushrooms, toss to coat in the fat and saute, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their water content and start to brown around the edges, 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon, or push the mushrooms to the edge of the pan; add the remaining olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the cauliflower to the skillet and toss to coat in the fat. Saute undisturbed for 3 minutes. Toss, then saute 3 minutes more.
- Return the mushrooms to the pan if you removed them. Add the scallions and stir fry with the mushrooms and cauliflower continuously for 1 minute.
- Pour in the stir fry sauce and toss. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook 1-2 minutes more, or until the sauce is thickened and the cauliflower is tender.
- Portion over rice and garnish with cashews and cilantro to taste. Serve immediately.