Today calls for a bang bang cauliflower salad!

bang bang cauliflower kale salad

Oh yes. Crispy, sauce-drenched cauliflower on top of a crisp, delicious kale salad. The flavor is insane. The texture is amazing! If these two things are some of your favorites, why not combine them!?

air fryer caulfilower

We love kale salads in this house. They are chewy in the best way. Leftovers hold up for lunch the next day because they are so hearty. They take on so many different flavors, but can hold more ingredients than regular old salads. We’re obsessed.

So naturally, why not trash it up with some crispy bang bang cauliflower?!

bang bang sauce

I’ve made bang bang cauliflower before in the form of tacos! And oh man – we LOVE them. For those tacos, I did more of a tempura-like batter and fried the cauliflower.

For this bang bang cauliflower, I used the air fryer. I suggest using whichever works best for you! The tempura battered and fried version is a little on the airy and lighter side, but of course it requires frying with oil.

pouring bang bang sauce on cauliflower

The air fryer version is super crispy and delicious, and it requires doing a few batches since best results come when the vegetables are in a single layer.

bang bang cauliflower

Either way, when you cover the cauliflower in the bang bang sauce, it is SO GOOD.

Of course, you can always do the classic shrimp instead of cauliflower too.

I’m pretty sure bang bang sauce originated at Bonefish Grille. Homemade here, it’s a mix of mayo, sweet chili sauce and chili garlic sauce. A little creaminess, some sweetness and just the sliiiiightest hint of heat. It’s quite mild, actually. 

bang bang cauliflower kale salad

The combination of textures here is what really sells me. The crispy, creamy cauliflower. The chewy, crisp kale. It is SUCH a delish mix that I can’t get enough. 

For the kale salad, I just did a simple base that I often do. Massage the kale with olive oil and let it sit for a bit. Toss with lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss in a few pickled onions for more crunch and flavor, along with shaved parmesan. 

This seems extra simple but truly it is all you need. We really like that kale base alone, and when it has the cauliflower on top, it’s absolutely perfect.

Simple enough to let the cauliflower shine, but it has enough flavor to be a REALLY good base. 

When tossed together, it is heaven!

bang bang cauliflower

Perfectly delicious for dinner!

bang bang cauliflower kale salad

Bang Bang Cauliflower Salad

Bang Bang Cauliflower Kale Salad

This bang bang cauliflower salad is filled with crispy cauliflower and classic, creamy bang bang sauce. So good, refreshing and crisp!
5 from 9 votes
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  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup seasoned fine breadcrumbs
  • olive oil, or another oil spray
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped chives

kale salad

  • 1 large bunch of kale, leaves removed from stems and chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lime, freshly juiced
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • cup shaved parmesan
  • ¼ cup pickled onions, or sliced red onion


  • Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F. I like to have a wire rack sitting near to place the breaded cauliflower before it’s all ready to go.
  • Cut the cauliflower into florets. In one large bowl (or plate), lightly beat the eggs. In another bowl or plate, combine the panko and fine breadcrumbs. Dip each piece of cauliflower in the the egg, then coat in the breadcrumbs. Place it on the wire rack until you have enough finished to do a batch in the air fryer. I found that for one head of cauliflower, I had to do two batches.
  • Once the cauliflower is breaded, place it in a single layer in the air fryer. Spray it with the olive oil spray. This helps it brown and get crispy.
  • Set the air fryer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the cauliflower with kitchen tongs and place them on a plate. Repeat with another batch of cauliflower if needed.
  • As a note, when the cauliflower is air frying, I like to make the salad. To make the kale salad, place the kale in a bowl. Drizzle on the olive oil and using your (clean!) hands, massage the kale for a few minutes, until all the leaves are coated. This breaks down both the toughness and bitterness. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • To make the bang bang sauce, whisk together the mayo, sweet chili sauce and chili garlic sauce. Sprinkle in the chives.
  • Once all of the cauliflower is done, drizzle it with the bang bang sauce and toss.
  • Squeeze the lime juice on the kale salad and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with the shaved parmesan and pickled onions. Top with the bang bang cauliflower and serve!

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bang bang cauliflower kale salad

My kind of salad.