Fermented Sweet & Sour Cauliflower

Amanda Nicole SmithCultured | Fermented | Pickled, Dinner, Lunch, Raw Vegan, Vegan 8 Comments

A flavorful sweet and sour sauce made from vegetables and spices, poured over cauliflower and fermented for a few days.

If you love fermented foods and sweet and sour sauce, you’ll love fermented sweet and sour sauce! This ferment, along with fermented veggie chili, are my new favorite ways to get more probiotics in my system. These ferments are so flavorful, you can barely taste that signature fermented taste; which can get a bit overwhelming especially if you’re new to fermented foods.


I loved the idea of General Tso’s Cauliflower from Pure Wow, with a few ingredients substitutions like flax seed instead of egg. You basically make what looks like pancake batter, mix in the cauliflower and fry it in a shallow bit of coconut oil in a cast iron skillet. It was really good but then I remembered why I don’t eat any type of fried foods, especially with gluten, it makes my stomach hurt.

So I went back to the drawing board to figure out how to get that nice soft yet still a little crunchy cauliflower with the delicious sweet and sour sauce made fresh, and this is what I came up with.


If the sauce is good, you won’t miss the breading,  It’s all about the sauce’s flavor and the cauliflower’s texture. 

Like most sweet and sour Chinese dishes, pairing it with rice; or another type of grain you enjoy, is the perfect pairing. The rice also warms up the entire dish so you don’t have to cook the cauliflower at all. This will ensure preserved probiotics, vitamins and minerals.


The sauce is very simple to make, it can be blended all at one time, I separated it in the pictures above because I wanted to show detail. Celriac and parsnip were added to take the place of vegetable broth in the regular recipe. Celeriac can be substituted with a tablespoon of celery seed, and parsnip can be substituted for carrot.

Once the sauce is blended, I mixed it all together with the cauliflower that I roughly broke apart.


After all the cauliflower is covered with sauce, I packed it tightly into a quart sized mason jar, covered it with a metal lid and band and left it sitting on the counter.

I believe the xanthin gum I used to thicken the sauce made the ferment explosive. When I went to burp the jar {and let out carbon dioxide, a fermentation by-product}, the sauce erupted like a volcano.

Although it was fun, I decided to post my results on a very popular Facebook fermentation group called “Wild Fermentation” and the best recommendation was to use rice flour like in the kimchi slurry. You’re suppose to simmer it with the water and sugar for about 10 minutes, however I still think I would skip over that part because the vitamix does a good job heating it up slightly and mixes it all together very well.


I fermented this particular jar for 3 days, burping twice per day to prevent a jar explosion, which can and will happen if you do not burp the jar. I then put it the fridge to slow down fermentation. You can taste the ferment at any time to see if it is sour enough, which is due to the growth of lactic acid bacteria aka probiotic. I ate some before putting it in the fridge and it was delicious but they always get better after being in the fridge for a couple days.


Needless to say I am in love with this dish because it’s quite easy to make and it’s full of all the flavors I love!! I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do! 🙂

Fermented Sweet & Sour Cauliflower

A sweet and sour sauce made from fresh veggies and spices poured over cauliflower and fermented.
Prep Time15 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: Amanda Nicole Smith


  • 1 head cauliflower; small


  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup celeriac
  • 1/8 cup parsnip
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp rice flour; or 1/4 tsp xanthan gum


  • Blend together all of the sauce ingredients.
  • Pull apart the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
  • Mix together the cauliflower and sauce in a mixing bowl.
  • Stuff the cauliflower tightly into a sanitized quart sized mason jar and cover with either a metal band lid or an airlock lid.
  • Ferment on the counter for 2-4 days, releasing some of the carbon dioxide twice a day.
  • Once done, store in the fridge.


You can decide when it's done by either tasting it and liking it, or waiting for the carbon dioxide release to slow down.
Sanitize the jar in a dishwasher or in boiling water for 10 minutes.

Comments 8

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  2. I used the 2 cups of fresh pineapple juice and cut down on the ginger (wasn’t sure if you used fresh or powder and I used powder)and chili powder. i used celery. It is in the jar and I will let you know as soon as it is done. So Excited!

    I also used all excess pieces of celery, pineapple cauliflower and parsnip in the juicer and it came out a drink of a great mix of flavors. Thanks

  3. Post

    Oh yay, this sounds like a wonderful remix!! I can’t wait to hear how it turns out! Good call on the cutting down the amount of dried ginger, I used fresh.

    What an interesting juice combination, now I’m curious to try!

    Happy fermenting! 😀

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