‘The Pioneer Woman’: Ree Drummond’s Kung Pao Cauliflower Is an Easy 16-Minute Vegetarian Meal

Ree Drummond makes an easy vegetarian kung pao cauliflower recipe that comes together in just 16 minutes. The Pioneer Woman star created a spin on the Chinese takeout favorite that totally skips the meat.

Ree Drummond smiles wearing a multicolor top standing at a counter on the set of 'Today'
Ree Drummond | Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ree Drummond makes an easy kung pao cauliflower recipe

Drummond demonstrated how to make her recipe on an episode of The Pioneer Woman. “Sometimes it’s nice just to have a buddy over for dinner and it can be done in a flash with a few 16-minute tricks,” she said.

The Food Network host heated peanut oil in a skillet and added cauliflower florets, diced zucchini, diced bell peppers, and sliced green onions. “Kung pao chicken is the dish I almost always order when I get Chinese takeout in Tulsa,” she said. “It’s spicy, it’s got lots of veggies, super flavorful.”

She added, “This is missing the chicken so it’s a meatless option.”

Drummond added dried chili peppers “for some serious heat” and cooked the vegetables while she made a sauce.

Drummond’s quick sauce gives the recipe fabulous flavor

Drummond combined soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, lime zest and juice, toasted sesame oil, hot chili paste, grated ginger, and cornstarch. “I love this sauce because it’s sweet and salty and sour,” she noted. “Flavor everywhere you turn.”

The Pioneer Woman star explained, “Whenever you’re making a stir fry like this, you really do want to get as much color as you can on the veggies and other ingredients without totally burning them.”

She poured the sauce over the vegetables, allowed it to cook and thicken for two minutes, adding water along the way as needed, then added peanuts.

The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.

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Ree Drummond has a delicious orange chicken recipe

Drummond wrote about her orange chicken recipe in a blog post on The Pioneer Woman website. “As I explained on the show, wherein I whipped up my girls’ and my favorite Chinese takeout dishes, every Friday when we go to Tulsa to our all-day homeschool co-op, one of the rewards the girls and I look forward to is a lunch from Panda Express,” she wrote.

The Food Network host added, “To three females who live on an isolated ranch, being less than 5 minutes away from drive-through Chinese food is enough to keep us going back to co-op week after week. My preferences can fluctuate wildly between things like kung pao chicken and Beijing beef — whatever I’m in the mood for — and Alex’s stay more in the beef-and-broccoli realm. But for Paige, it’s all orange chicken, all the time. She loves it and can’t get enough.”

The Food Network host made a coating by whisking together egg whites and corn starch, then put pieces of chicken thighs in the mixture.

For the sauce, Drummond combined orange juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper, fresh grated ginger, fresh grated garlic, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper flakes. She made a slurry of corn starch and water and added it to the sauce as it heated in a skillet.

Drummond cooked the chicken in hot oil for 3 to 4 minutes and let them drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Then she returned the chicken to the oil for 30 seconds, removed it, and added it to the sauce.

You can find the full recipe on the Food Network website.