Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Lettuce Cups with Rice Noodles

main meals vegeterian/vegan

It’s hard for me to pick favourite recipes but this has to be one of my favourite plant-based meals. Battered cauliflower florets in a sticky sesame sauce hit all the right spots. They are baked in the oven, making them a healthier option than fried, and are just as tasty the next day for lunch.


Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Lettuce Cups with Rice Noodles


Serves: 4

Ready in: 60 mins

Dietary: GF | DF | VEG | VGN




1 head of cauliflower

1 cup + 2 tbsp rice flour

3 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp ground pepper

½ tsp salt

¾ cup water



⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari

¼ cup honey (or maple syrup)

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

2 tsp finely grated ginger

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp tomato paste

½ -¼ tsp chilli powder

2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch

¼ cup cold water


To Serve

100g vermicelli rice noodles

12 romaine lettuce leaves

1 stalk spring onion, finely sliced

1 red chilli, finely sliced

sesame seeds



  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a large oven tray with baking paper.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into small bite size florets. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the cauliflower. Add the water and mix until smooth. Dip one of the pieces of cauliflower into the batter to test it’s thickness. You want the batter to coat the cauliflower without too much dripping off. Add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until you achieve a suitable thickness. 
  3. Add the cauliflower florets into the batter and mix to coat well. Use a fork to transfer the battered pieces to the lined oven tray, spacing them well and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. While the cauliflower is cooking, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce, except for the cornstarch and water, in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Mix the cornstarch with the water and add to the sauce. Use a whisk to combine over the heat until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. 
  5. Cook or soak vermicelli rice noodles as per packet instructions and set aside. 
  6. Once the cauliflower has cooked for 20 minutes, remove from the oven. Use three quarters of the sauce (save the rest for serving) to coat the cauliflower by either brushing on with a basting brush on the oven tray or by putting the cauliflower pieces into a large bowl, pouring the sauce overtop, mixing well, and returning to the oven tray. 
  7. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until the edges start to darken. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn quickly at this stage. 
  8. Serve family style for everyone to make their own cups or put a few lettuce cups on each plate, fill with rice noodles, top with some cauliflower pieces, drizzle with the extra sauce and garnish with spring onion, red chilli and sesame seeds. 


Don’t have rice flour?

  • I use rice flour here because it’s gluten free and does tend to make the batter thicker and more crispy. Plain flour will also do the trick; you will just need to slightly adjust the quantity to achieve the right consistency.