Appetizers and Snacks, Dips, Sauces and Spreads, Food, Side Dishes

Panko and Asiago Crusted Popcorn Cauliflower

Loreto March 11, 2016

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So many great things you can do with a head of cauliflower! We turned this humble vegetable into an enjoyable experience: beautiful morsels of crispy, crunchy, cheesey, baked popcorn cauliflower. A dip on the side and your party can get started.

Panko and Asiago Crusted Popcorn Cauliflower

There is one thing I have to say about having started this food blog. It has inspired me in such great ways, and I am also loving working with my wife Nicoletta. Lately I have been craving simple appetizer food and as I was looking at other food blogs I happened upon “I am a Food Blog”. I was inspired by a dish she made called popcorn cauliflower.



I loved that it was healthy, baked not fried and looked so crispy, something Nicoletta would appreciate and knowing she loves baked cauliflower, I just had to try this recipe. So this one is for Nicoletta. My take on I am a Food Blog’s popcorn cauliflower, which I of course revamped to sooth my creativity and called  Panko and Asiago crusted Popcorn Cauliflower.

Panko and Asiago Crusted Popcorn Cauliflower

This is so easy to make, you just need a head of cauliflower, some Panko crumbs, Italian style bread crumbs, grated Asiago and Parmigiano cheese, a couple of eggs, some seasoning and you’re set to get these bad boys done.

Panko and Asiago Crusted Popcorn Cauliflower

As a kid I always loved making breaded cutlets or batter coated vegetables. I still love this process taking those beautiful morsels, bathing them in the egg wash then into the crumb dish to be well dusted in the Panko and bread crumbs, then laid to rest on a parchment lined baking sheet .

Panko and Asiago Crusted Popcorn Cauliflower

Into a nice preheated oven to be baked to a gorgeous golden brown but not more gorgeous than my wife, who in my opinion is absolutely beautiful. You can smell the cheeses melting, melding the Panko and bread crumbs, sealing in the juices of the cauliflower. The taste of these amazing crispy coarse texture of the Panko crumbs and a finer texture of crispiness from the Italian bread crumbs being held by the rich pungent flavor of the aged Asiago and Parmigiano Reggiano. Then I thought, self who is my inner voice, what would be a great dipping sauce to go with these, and immediately I thought sweet chili, mayo, sriracha.

Panko and Asiago Crusted Popcorn Cauliflower

A perfect match this dipping sauce: sweet, spicy and that last kick from the sriracha, delicious. A winning dish in my opinion, but I am biased. Try this dish and see for yourself, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Also, if you are trying to get your kids to eat their vegetables, this would be one to really consider. The only thing left is to bite into this.

Panko and Asiago Crusted Popcorn Cauliflower

If you’re planning a party or just having an appetizer night with your family, get dipping. Would love to hear your feedback on this recipe.

Song of the day, a new amazing local band hitting the air waves strong: “Smoke Rings” by Royal Tusk.

Recipe adapted from “I Am a Food Blog“.

popcorn cauliflower

Panko and Asiago Crusted Popcorn Cauliflower

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Dash of onion powder
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Asiago
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano

Dipping sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce


  1. Trim leaves off of cauliflower.
  2. Cut cauliflower into small pieces, wash and drain well.
  3. In a bowl crack eggs in and beat well.
  4. Add salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika.
  5. Mix well.
  6. In another bowl combine panko crumbs, Italian bread crumbs, grated Asiago and Parmigiano.
  7. Take cauliflower pieces and place in egg wash.
  8. Drain excess egg and pace cauliflower into crumb mixture.
  9. Coat well and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  10. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  11. Place cauliflower into the oven and bake till golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes.

Dipping sauce:

  1. In a bowl mix mayo and sweet chili sauce, then squeeze sriracha on to top of mayo sweet chili sauce mixture.
  2. Take cauliflower out of oven and place in a dish with a small ramekin of the dipping sauce by its side.
  3. Ready to serve.
  4. Enjoy!


If you have some leftover you can freeze them and reheat them in the oven when you’re ready to use them again.


  • Serving Size: 4 servings
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Panko and Asiago Crusted Popcorn Cauliflower

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  • Avatar
    Reply Meaghan March 11, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I love ‘I am Food Blog’ popcorn cauliflower so I can’t wait to try yours!! This looks like a great appetizer to serve a crowd or just as a snack while entertaining.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 12, 2016 at 11:20 pm

      Hi Meaghan
      I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor and texture of the cauliflower and to beat all they were baked, not greasy at all. You are definitely right about being a great party appetizer. Thank you so much for your comment. Have a great evening

  • Avatar
    Reply Marie March 11, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I don’t see how you could have created a recipe that appealed to me more. Cauliflower, fried in a cheesy crumb, served with a spicy? I’m seriously craving these clever bites right now. I think they would be an amazingly crowd-pleasing snack too! I have all the ingredients I need in the fridge right now, so these will be on the menu this weekend, for sure.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 12, 2016 at 11:26 pm

      Hi Marie
      I am so happy that you like these beauties, so crispy and tasty with the Panko, Italian bread crumb and Asiago, crust nice and golden brown and those cheesy bits melted yum and yummy. I would have to believe that most people if you had a party would eat them up and throw in that sweet chili sriracha dip, success.
      Have a great day and thank you so much for taking the time to comment on our labors of love.

  • Avatar
    Reply ceecee March 11, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    I am always looking for new ways to serve cauliflower! I love that this is baked – makes it even beter!


    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 11, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks ceecee yes baked means less fat, less fat means happier soul, happier soul means good life. lol

  • Avatar
    Reply Hilary March 11, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Oh, doesn’t that look tasty! Will definitely have to try. Love that you made your own variation!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 11, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      Thank you Hillary. I just had some that I froze and just heated up the oven and got them nice and crispy again, still as delicious as the first day. I did pack them well in about three rounds of plastic wrap then into a zip lock freezer bag. I usually have to do my own twist on recipes except when it is a traditional Italian plate. Have a great night and thanks again.

  • Avatar
    Reply Elaine @ Flavour and Savour March 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    This looks so easy and I’ll bet kids would love it too!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 11, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      Thank you Elaine for commenting.It is so easy give it a try get the kids involved in the mix and they will appreciate these even more knowing they helped. I love watching kids when they are so excited about doing something. Their eyes bright, beautiful.

  • Avatar
    Reply karrie @ Tasty Ever After March 12, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Oh yeah to this recipe!! Love cauliflower anything but especially when its coated in panko crumbs and asiago cheese!! YUMMY!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 12, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      Hi Karrie hey congrats on the TV spot what an accomplishment. Also thank you again for the wonderful comment as usual. Karrie you are going to love this appetizer. The amazing thing is that I wanted to see if I froze some after they were baked and re heat them in the oven, and guess what they tasted as good as the first time, vanished in seconds with that kick of a dip. Take care and happy cooking.

  • Avatar
    Reply demeter | beaming baker March 13, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Loreto, it’s so nice that you stumbled across i am a food blog. That site is incredible–there are so many wonderful ideas there. I love that you created this recipe based on her cauliflower popcorn. It would be hard for me to say no to this panko and asiago crusted deliciousness! 🙂 I used to make panko-crusted cauliflower with teriyaki sauce. You’ve reminded me to dig up that recipe and enjoy the flavors of cauliflower again. Nice to meet you, Loreto. Can’t wait to hear from Nicoletta as well.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 14, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      Thank you so much for responding to my comment, that sounds great too teriyaki dipping sauce yum. This sharing thing is a wonderful adventure so many beautiful people to meet and share with and new friends to encounter. Nicoletta would love to meet you she is a great person and so talented you will like her.

  • Avatar
    Reply Lisa Solonynko April 4, 2017 at 9:56 am

    What a great way to get everyone to love cauliflower. We have include this recipe in a roundup of recipes we love. It links back to this page so that everyone can check it out. Great job!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto April 5, 2017 at 3:43 am

      Thank you so much Lisa, I was quite surprized at the outcome of this recipe. The fact that it was baked and the crust that formed to make those lovely moist morsels a great textural experience, made these a real hit in our home. I hope you get a chance to try them.
      Have a great week.

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