This Trader Joe’s tempura cauliflower air fryer recipe is easy and delicious. A meatless alternative to Kung Pao chicken, this vegetarian side dish is ready in under 15 minutes. Served with veggie fried rice or plain white rice, this freezer meal makes a very filling and flavorful family dinner.
In recent years, cauliflower has become very popular. With the rise of cauliflower pizza, cauliflower rice, and cauliflower gnocchi, this slightly bland vegetable has been the star of many vegan and vegetarian meals.
Prepared in a variety of interesting ways with your favorite seasonings, this mild-tasting vegetable is turned into a wonderful and flavorful side dish.
This crispy crunchy cauliflower tempura with kung pao sauce from Trader Joe’s is low carb and a filling meat substitute that is full of flavor. This air fryer recipe is a great way to add more veggies into your diet easily.
Cauliflower tempura is delicious by itself, but I highly recommend after air frying to coat it in the kung pao sauce. This slightly spicy and tangy sauce will give the fried cauliflower all the tastes and flavors of Chinese takeout right at home. This inexpensive side dish is great to keep on hand to add to dinners or to make as a quick snack or appetizer.
How to make Trader Joe’s tempura cauliflower in air fryer
Keep the package in the freezer until ready to start cooking. Do not defrost. Open the package and add all the battered cauliflower pieces into the air fryer basket. Place it in to the air fryer and cook( see details in the recipe card below). There is no need to preheat the air fryer.
Meanwhile grab a sauce plastic package and submerge it in hot water. I used a medium size bowl and filled it up with hot tap water. Let the package thaw for 5-10 minutes.
Open it and pour into the large clean bowl.
Shake air fryer basket once during cooking. When the cooking time is over, move all the cauliflower pieces into the bowl with the sauce. Carefully toss it using large spoon.
The sauce has a little spice kick to it so add it accordingly. I used the whole package and my kids ate it with no problem but I see that it might be a little spicy for somebody else.
Thinly chop lots of green onions and sprinkle them on the air fryer Trader Joe’s tempura cauliflower bowl. Make sure that every bite has a nice onion crunch to it.
Why use an air fryer instead of the oven
Preparing frozen fried foods in the air fryer is one of the best ways to cook them. It’s much faster than baking in the oven with no soggy oily mess and no having to wait for the oven to preheat.
Oftentimes the air fryer will cut the cooking time in half, which makes cooking dinner a breeze on busy weeknights or if you want to make something quickly. The air-fried tempura crust gets perfectly crispy and is a great contrast to the soft and tender cauliflower inside.
What is a tempura batter made of
Tempura is a loose batter made of flour, cornstarch, ice water, and eggs. It is usually made with these four ingredients but fresh herbs and spices like Cajun seasoning or curry powder could also be added to the mix for even more flavor.
Tempura is a Japanese method of dipping seafood or vegetables into a cold batter and frying it in hot oil. This produces a light and airy crust that is golden brown and crunchy. Shrimp or white fish tempura are very popular versions of this dish, but there are many vegetarian options that are equally as delicious. Mushrooms, broccoli, sliced zucchini, or bell peppers would also be amazing fried in tempura batter.
What is kung pao sauce made of
Trader Joe’s tempura cauliflower is based on kung pao chicken, so they provide their own version of this sauce in the package. Kung pao sauce is made of sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and bold spices like garlic, ginger, and dried chili peppers. The Trader Joe’s version uses pineapple juice instead of sugar for a subtle tropical sweetness.
This sauce is a little spicy, so if you don’t like spicy foods or are feeding kids you might want to serve the cauliflower without the sauce or make your own.
Frequently Asked Questions
For the Trader Joe’s brand, a serving size is 1 cup and there are about 6 servings per bag and 150 calories per serving.
Make sure you don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket when making frozen fried foods. Leave enough room so that hot air can circulate the food getting everything nice and crispy. Also, don’t thaw the Trader Joe’s tempura cauliflower beforehand, this can cause the batter to get soggy and not get crispy when cooked.
Classic way to serve Kung Pao cauliflower is with a bowl of white rice. What could be better! If you don’t feel like having a heavy dish serve it as an appetizer along with some sliced fresh vegetables.
Try steamed broccoli for a healthy dinner or baked asparagus. You can do the salad too, something light and yummy.
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave for 1 minute. Do not reheat in the air fryer since you will loose all of that delicious sauce, it will just fall through that air fryer basket and will burn on the bottom.
More Trader Joe’s air fryer recipes
I have lots of Trade Joe’s recipe on The Top Meal to choose from:
- Trader Joe’s frozen falafel air fryer
- Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese bites air fryer
- Trader Joe’s stuffed gnocchi air fryer
- Air fryer frozen coconut shrimp
- Trader Joe’s pastry pups air fryer
- Trader Joe’s hasselback potatoes air fryer
- Trader Joe’s hashbrowns air fryer
- Trader Joe’s Korean short ribs air fryer
- Trader Joe’s fish nuggets air fryer
Hope you will like this Trader Joe’s Kung Pao tempura cauliflower air fryer recipe as much as we do. Please rate the recipe if you made it and leave a comment below if you have any questions.
- 1 package Trader Joe's tempura cauliflower
- chopped green onions
- Open the package and place all the cauliflower pieces in air fryer.
- Cook for 11 minutes at 400 degrees. Shake once.
- Warm sauce in a bowl of hot water. Open and pour it in to another bowl and add cauliflower. Mix together and serve with chopped green onions on top.
- Do not overcrowd the basket. If need to make two packages cook in batches.
- The more green onions the better!
- If counting calories cut the sauce amount in half.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave for 1 minute. Do not reheat in the air fryer since you will loose all of that delicious sauce, it will just fall through that air fryer basket and will burn on the bottom.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: 6gSodium: 350mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 2g