Finger Licking Good

Growing up, my family was never much for fast food. My parents weren’t food snobs or health nuts, they just saw the value in a sit-down meal at a casual restaurant if we were going to eat out. There were certainly sporadic trips to golden arches on occasion, especially during road trips where alternative options were few and far between. There were no forbidden foods, no deprivation, no unmet cravings; I just never really developed a taste for it.

Only later as an adult did I really come to appreciate the art of fried chicken. Of course, I was already vegan by then, having never sampled the original animal. Though it wasn’t a rule, the only thing that my mom could not abide was a trip to KFC. Emotionally scarred by a hot, greasy summer flipping the bird back as one of her first part-time jobs in her youth, we never paid Colonel Sanders a visit. The details she shared were few and far between, but it’s not hard to imagine how that kind of gig could turn someone against such deep fried delicacies.

I’m still leery of it, not so much for the health aspect, but for the heat, mess, and waste. It’s already sweltering here in central Texas, and it will only get worse. The last thing I need is to steam up the kitchen while redecorating the walls with oily splatter. No thanks! This sounds like a job for the air fryer.

Taking everyone’s favorite, most versatile vegetable, cauliflower stars in this classic comfort food. Coated in a light, crisp batter infused with eleven herbs and spices, the secret formula is one I’m quite happy to divulge. Instead of buttermilk, I use yogurt to add tangy flavor and tenderness, amplified by a splash of lemon juice and balanced by the sweet kiss of maple syrup. It’s a delicate harmony in every bite.

If you’re craving something a bit more meaty, never fear. You can use the same batter to blanket tempeh, tofu, rehydrated soy curls, or any of your favorite chicken alternatives. I can’t lie, I really love using cauliflower because that way, I can still call it “KFC” – Kentucky Fried Cauliflower.

This fresher, lighter, easier rendition won’t leave grease on your hands, but it’s still finger licking good!

Yield: Makes 4 - 6 Servings

Air Fryer KFC (Kentucky Fried Cauliflower)

Air Fryer KFC (Kentucky Fried Cauliflower)

Don't be chicken; try cauliflower! This classic comfort food gets a healthy makeover using the air fryer with minimal added oil. It's crispy, deeply savory, easy, and sure to satisfy your cravings.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


Seasoned Flour:

  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 4 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground White Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Celery Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Thyme
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

Yogurt Coating:

  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Vegan Yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup Aquafaba
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

Cauliflower and Assembly:

  • 1 Pound Cauliflower Florets
  • Spray Oil


  1. Sift the flour into a medium bowl and add all the herbs and spice. Whisk to combine; set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together everything for the yogurt coating, stirring until smooth.
  3. Add the cauliflower florets to the yogurt mixture, tossing to thoroughly cover all the pieces. Lightly cover with a kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for 20 - 30 minutes.
  4. Use your hands to pull out the cauliflower, allowing the excess yogurt to drip off. Place a few pieces in the seasoned flour at a time, tossing to completely coat all sides. Transfer to an air fryer basket or rack lined. Do not crowd the cauliflower; depending on the size of your air fryer, you might need to cook them in batches.
  5. Lightly spritz with oil all over. Air fry at 370 degrees for 8 minutes. If using a basket model, shake the basket vigorously at this point, and if using one with racks, flip the pieces over. Cook for another 10 - 12 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Serve immediately while piping hot.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 592mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 9g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

6 thoughts on “Finger Licking Good

  1. I’m still debating about getting an air fryer… Do you know that I had my first job out of college when I first had McDonald’s?!! And that was only because I had a pseudo aunt with kids who I hung out with and once she drove through and bought me something. I was not impressed. Anyway, your cauliflower really looks fabulous!

    1. I’m a big air fryer fan here so of course I’d recommend you take the plunge! I still don’t have a microwave here, but the air fryer is essential. As for first jobs… They’re never glamorous and hey, it’s honest work. Kudos for surviving until you got better employment!

  2. KFC. Ha! It all looks inviting. Hot here too of course. We had my parents here for lunch and I went with simple but tasty. Happy extended Fourth weekend.


  3. I love fried cauliforwers, in fact I loved them since I was a teenager, always order them in the cafeteria in my university

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