Popcorn Cauliflower, Flash Fried and Insanely Addicting

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Last week we went to a local restaurant in East Nashville, Ft. Louise, and I discovered one more way to eat cauliflower. It was flash fried cauliflower or as I like to call it popcorn cauliflower.

It’s browned all over to a near crispy which helps it holds it salt and it tastes so delicious, so umami, because one bite and you just can’t stop eating.

It’s what I make when I feel hungry for french fries.

Flash Fried Cauliflower with Pistachios from Spinach Tiger #cauliflower #keto #low-carbrecipe
Flash Fried Cauliflower with Pistachios

You may not realize that a lot of  finger licking good veggies served in a restaurant are often flash fried. This means lowered into the deep fryer. I have a more practical way of getting that flash fried taste without six cups of oil.

I’m a healthy fat proponent and I have no problem with flash frying if I can do it with the practicality a home cook needs versus a professional kitchen. I did it here with five minute flash fried brussels sprouts and they are so amazingly umami delicious.

To do my home version of flash fried cauliflower, I use about a cup of avocado oil in my enamel dutch oven and turn over after three to five minutes.  I also use this spatter cover. A deep fryer is quicker, but I’m giving you the more practical home recipe.

I salt the cauliflower while it’s cooking and add some very flavorful spices that lean toward Italian Mediterranean. The spices I use have fennel and citrus which are very aromatic.  If you want to take this up a notch, melt anchovies into the oil before you start.

Trust me, it’s another layer of umami but you never know it’s there. I like to add in some crushed red pepper and roasted, salted chopped pistachios. You can also use sliced almonds, or no nuts at all.

Flash Fried Popcorn Cauliflower from Spinach Tiger

Flash fried cauliflower  is the quintessential big fat healthy side dish if you use healthy fats and are following a low-carb or keto diet. You can always go ahead and roast your cauliflower if you’re afraid of frying but even at a high heat, you won’t get this same texture.

A lot of restaurants serve a mayonnaise based sauce or aoili with a dish like this. Totally not necessary, but if you have a great one, go ahead. The only thing you absolutely must do is drain and eat immediately. It starts to lose its crunch rapidly.

We eat these with lettuce wrapped burgers. It’s a feast, but it’s grain free, gluten free, and keto friendly. It’s our preferred way to eat at home, and it works well for us.

Flash Fried Crack Cauliflower from Spinach TIger

Why I Post so many Keto Friendly Dishes

I know a lot of people roll their eyes at the keto or low-carb lifestyle, because it’s a very general word that can be healthy or unhealthy. A healthy take would be to make sure your diet still is high in fiber and vegetables. It’s not so good to just eat meat and fat. Some will argue that, but I just listened to neurosurgeon, Dr. Perlmutter, give a talk on the importance of eating enough vegetables on keto or low-carb diets. He’s an expert on the brain, wrote Grain Brain and he’s someone I’ve been following for years.

I want my readers to understand that it’s okay, more than okay to enjoy food in a big fat healthy way, but in today’s world, for most of us, there has to be a paradigm shift. Healthy is not bad word for food lovers. Fat is not a bad word for healthy food lovers. (healthy fat).

Flash Fried Cauliflower with Pistachios from Spinach Tiger #cauliflower #keto

The shift we have to make is a good thing, though, not a suffering, white knuckling thing. It’s a daily habit of gravitating to whole food made with flavor and zest, and turning our back on the food from much of what happened in the last half of the last century.

We don’t need to or want to go back to the food of history. While it may have been more “organic, ” people didn’t have the choices, diversity or kitchen tools we have today.

We have improved and expanded our choices in such a wonderful and more creative way. We just skip need to skip that processed bad stuff and move right to wonderful, big fat healthy food. Are you with me on that?

It’s one of the reasons I give you so many cauliflower recipes that are like comfort food. This chicken and cauliflower rice or this cauliflower cheesesteak are two of our favorite big fat healthy meals.

Skillet Cheesesteak with Cauliflower (Recipe Here) 

Cheese Steak with Cauliflower Skillet from Spinach TIger

Flash Fried Cauliflower loves Nuts

This home version of the flash fried cauliflower is so good that I made it four times this week. We’ve made it with pistachios and with almonds. I love both. I think peanuts could be fun too.

I like to add  my spices, parsley and crushed red pepper at the end and then top with the nuts. You will find your own way  to make this and I’d love to hear from you.

This is the dish most loved this week on instagram, and I would love to connect with you there.

More Spinach Tiger Cauliflower Recipes

Flash Fried Crack Cauliflower from Spinach TIger
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Popcorn Cauliflower, Flash Fried

Flash Fried Cauliflower with PIstachios, Red Pepper Flakes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Total Time13 minutes
Course: Vegetable
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 1 head cauliflower cut into small pieces)
  • 1 cup avocado oil you may not need all of it
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins unless you are strictly keto
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cup of chopped roasted pistachios or sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning see notes
  • handfull parsley finely chopped


  • Heat oil in a dutch oven or frying pan. You will want to have a spatter lid. You'll know when it's hot enough if you a drop of water sizzles.
  • You can use a deep fryer and a lot more oil to do a quicker flash fry, but I don't find that practical for a home cook, and this will get the same results.
  • Add in cauliflower pieces. Oil should cover at least half of the cauliflower.
  • Add salt. Don't add any other ingredients until you remove cauliflower.
  • Turn over when golden browned.
  • Drain on paper towel.
  • Add to dish. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper (at your discretion for heat), spices of your choice, and top with chopped nuts, golden raisins and parsley.
  • Top with parsley. Serve immediately.


I use a seasoning that has citrus and fennel in it. I like the aroma of the fennel seeds. You can use a seasoning of your choice or none at all.
Golden Raisins add a nice texture and sweetness to the dish, but are not keto friendly.

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo

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  1. I make cauliflower in the oven. Toss the florets in olive oil add some turmeric and bake 375-400 till tender on a flat sheet. Top with lots of shredded cheddar, then pop back in oven until the cheese melts. This is the only way I will eat cauliflower.

  2. Your food recipe is really amazing, i want to taste it, my mouth is watering really; mix the combination of fried cauliflower with cheese. I have never taste Popcorn Cauliflower. I’ll defiantly try this but I am bad in cooking

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