Chili Lime Cauliflower Popcorn

Chili Lime Cauliflower Popcorn. Grain-free, gluten-free, vegan, and paleo snack! Don't let that deter you though, this is awesome!

I’m in love with my dehydrator. I know what you’re thinking. You can’t be IN LOVE with an inanimate object. You can’t be IN love with something unless it/they can reciprocate. To that I say, “My dehydrator loves me.”

I’m not crazy. Well, at least in THAT way. Part of love is doing nice things for someone, right? It’s folding laundry for you, picking a wild flower on a walk, foot rubs… It’s making tasty foods for you to make you happy. Clearly the dehydrator can’t fold laundry, pick flowers, or rub my feet for me, but it surely turns out some of the tastiest foods to come out of my kitchen. That’s love.

And my dehydrator does another sweet thing. It gets my most confirmed anti-veg child to eat them willingly. In fact, he BEGS for the vegetables from the dehydrator. This same kid -who will put on a show worthy of the stage replete with gagging and neck clutching rather than eat vegetable at the dinner table- eats eggplant from the dehydrator in other-wordly amounts. Can we all just say, “Whoa!”? He eats kale, apples, bananas, and pears from the dehydrator. The key is my little man likes the crispy, crunchy texture. Of all the goodies that we make, there’s one that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest: Cauliflower Popcorn.

Making Cauliflower Popcorn on It might be grain-free, gluten-free, vegan, and paleo, but it's awesome!

It’s ridiculously easy, friends. You break down a head of cauliflower into florets the size you see in my weird pink paw there.

Making Cauliflower Popcorn on It might be grain-free, gluten-free, vegan, and paleo, but it's awesome!

You toss the florets in extra virgin olive oil, the juice of one lime, chili powder, cumin, and salt, then you dehydrate it.

That’s all there is to it. You dry the stuff out and it magically becomes one of the most snackable snacks ever to be snacked upon. This is coming from a girl who loves Fritos, salty pretzel sticks, and potato chips, people. This Chili Lime Cauliflower Popcorn is something special. It’s so special, in fact, that I made two gigantic heads of cauliflower into it overnight and by noon the next day my dear husband and I had inhaled half of the batch. In other words, we each consumed half of a head of cauliflower between breakfast and lunch at which point we suddenly found ourselves full of both now rehydrated cauliflower and regret. We metered our consumption after that day and confined ourselves to no more than a cup per day.

My little anti-veg boy, though? He’s welcome to eat as much as his little stomach can possibly hold because HE. IS. EATING. VEGETABLES. I try to keep these stocked for him, which is pretty difficult because everyone in the house loves it. Their little friends even dig into the jar when they come over. I heard one of them saying, “I don’t like cauliflower. Why is this so good?” I win and it’s all because my dehydrator loves me.

Which Dehydrator should I buy?

Okay. There are two answers to this. If picking up a questionable old dehydrator at a yard sale is what gets you to make this recipe, snap that cheap Ronco piece of junk up and run it ’til it dies. If, however, you’re more serious about putting up the bounty from the farmers’ markets and your garden this summer, invest in the one I have. Note that I said invest. It ain’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny and a few more. (This is an Amazon affiliate link which means that if you purchase it after clicking on it, I get a small commission from Amazon which in no way effects the price of the item for you.)

Just one more thing about this dehydrator. My mom owns one, at least two of my sisters own one, I think my brother owns one, and I own one. My stepmom had TWO and my dad has put serious miles on those things with apple, banana, and pear slices over the course of nearly a decade. These things hold up to a mega-beating and can work almost constantly from June through October without missing a beat. They dehydrate more evenly than the old round-stack variety, don’t require any rotation of trays, and have variable, adjustable temperatures. If you’re a gardener these things are absolutely indispensable in saving excess produce. And if you’re a parent, these things are dead handy. You can whip up fantastic fruit leathers and snacks that you don’t feel even the slightest guilt in giving to your little folks.

Chili Lime Cauliflower Popcorn. Grain-free, gluten-free, vegan, and paleo snack! Don't let that deter you though, this is awesome!

5 from 1 reviews
Chili Lime Cauliflower Popcorn
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • the juice of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder, depending on strength of flavour desired
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  1. Trim the leaves from the cauliflower and pull off large hunks of florets. Break them down until they are in florets not larger than the tip of your thumb. Wash and drain them well. Transfer the florets to a large mixing bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.
  2. Spread them out in a single layer on dehydrator trays and dehydrate for 6-12 hours (at 135Β°F if you have an adjustable thermostat) or until the cauliflower is about the size of popcorn and is dried through. Open the dehydrator and let the cauliflower cool to room temperature. It will continue to crisp up as it cools. Store in an airtight container for up to a month. If it begins to soften, you can refresh it in the dehydrator for a couple of hours.


    • says

      Most stuff can be dehydrated in an oven provided you have an oven that has a “keep warm” setting and you keep the door propped open. You have to experiment with the timing a bit more, and you get better results if you position a fan so it blows through the oven. That being said, I find a dehydrator to be a far more efficient tool for the job.

  1. says

    I’ve been toying with the idea of a dehydrator, but I keep balking because I think it will go the way of the juicer. Used for a week and then nothing. Can you make potato chips in it?

    • says

      I’ve done beet chips and zucchini chips but never potato chips and I have NO idea why I haven’t tried it yet. I will get back to you on that!

  2. says

    I’ve really been looking at getting a dehydrator so I can dry my own fruits so thank you for the recommendation! These flavors go so well together and cauliflower popcorn is just the best idea ever. Thanks!

  3. Kristy says

    I bought an Excalibur dehydrator because of your dad’s recommendation. I love it! We use it all the time for fruit, but I’ve never tried vegetables. I can’t wait to make this and would love more veggie ideas! :)

  4. says

    I used to have a dehydrator but for some reason it didn’t survive our latest move and I’m really bummed about that, especially after seeing your popcorn. if your son loved it, there’s a good chance that I could get my daughter to eat it too. I know I’d want to chow down.

  5. beth says

    very cool – looking forward to trying this in our dehydrator! we do a lot of herbs, tomatoes, and fruits, but haven’t done much with vegetables yet (other than mushrooms).

  6. LaNell says

    Is the texture of the fruits and veggies chewy or truly crunchy? I think I may be confusing freeze dried with dehydrated. What fruits and veggies come out crunchy and which ones are leathery? Sorry for all the questions, but I am interested and don’t want to spend a lot on a dehydrator only to get leathery blobs. I love crunch! The cauliflower sounds amazing!

    • says

      This particular recipe is tested to be crunchy! Not ALL veggies or recipes will get you crunch. Some are designed to be leathery. I promise you, though, that this one is crunchy when prepared as directed and in an Excalibur dehydrator!

  7. says

    Hi Rebecca, this sounds like a real winner to me, now I feel like I have to have one. I bet this is great for most any veggie. Thanks for the info!

  8. katie says

    I may just have a fried brain from finals, or perhaps I’m blind, I don’t see the link to amazon for the dehydrator

  9. Maureen says

    In the body of the article you mention using cumin–which I love–but I don’t see it in the recipe?

    • says

      Hi Maureen- Great question. I mentioned the cumin because all of the chili powder blends I use contain cumin as a major flavour. I didn’t actually add separate cumin. :)

  10. Claire says

    These look delicious! My neighbor just gave me her husband’s twice-used nesco dehydrator (that’s what he gets for taking a long business trip while she’s nesting :-p) and I’m super excited to use it! Any other family favorite recipes? Jerky? More fruit like the banana chips? Love your blog!

  11. soleilnyc says

    Hi! I tried this recipe and it is SO tasty! But I was never able to get to the crunchy stage, and I left the dehydrator running for 21 hours! Granted, it’s a cheap Nesco, but it’s served me well with other recipes for the past 8 years :) Should I try a higher temperature? Leave it for longer?
    Also, I cut them into small pieces, the size of actual popcorn, and when dehydrated they ended up the size of grape nuts and panko breadcrumbs.. Are your pieces much bigger than that? I’m so afraid I might have to dehydrate for 2 days! :)

    • says

      Hi there Soleilnyc! I think you should probably try a higher temp and leave it longer. Also, my pieces were what I would categorize as bite size before dehydrating, but I find myself hard up to describe the size. Small floret size, perhaps? I hope that helps! πŸ˜€


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