Optional: pinch of cayenne pepper or garlic powder
Par-boil the cauliflower florets: boil a medium pot of water with cauliflower florets, and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes, or to your liking. I like to cook the florets until the cauliflower is pierced with a fork but there is still some give. If it is too soft, it will fall apart too easily and be too mushy when it's fried. Drain the water and rinse the cauliflower until it is cool enough to touch.
In a medium bowl, combine the chickpea flour with the water, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, and whisk together. The mixture should be like the consistency of runny crepe batter - you might need to add a bit more water, depending on how fine or coarse your chickpea flour is. (See notes)
Place the seasoned bread crumbs in another bowl.
Dip each cauliflower piece into the chickpea mixture, shake off excess liquid, then dredge in the bread crumbs on all sides. Set aside the breaded cauliflower on a large plate. If you're coordinated in the kitchen, you can proceed to the next step to cook the cauliflower and quickly bread the other pieces while the pan is heating and the cauliflower is cooking.
Heat a large non-stick pan to medium-low heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil and swirl or brush it around the pan. Carefully place the breaded cauliflower pieces in the oil, flat side down. Allow to cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown but not burned. Use tongs to carefully flip the florets one by one onto another side and cook for 2-3 minutes. Since most florets have about 3-4 sides to them, I recommend flipping them 2-3 times to get all the sides nice and crispy. Set aside cooked cauliflower pieces on a plate lined with paper towels.
Wipe down the skillet between batches (with tongs holding a paper towel), if you want, and repeat steps 3 and 4 until all the cauliflower pieces are fried. Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.
Par-boil the cauliflower ahead of time, to save time when you need a quick meal fast. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Instead of boiling, you can steam or microwave the cauliflower until it is cooked to your liking.
Save time and cook in 2 skillets at a time.
You can season your Italian bread crumbs with extra with salt, pepper, or cayenne pepper if you like your fried foods extra salty or flavorful.
You can do a "test fry" with one piece of cauliflower to test our the flavor and then adjust seasonings, if needed.
Chickpea flour + water: The amount of water and chickpea flour you need might vary depending on the coarseness of your chickpea flour. The mixture should have a runny crepe batter consistency - it should coat the cauliflower but the excess should drip off instead of being stuck on like batter. The mixture will thicken over time, so you might need to add a small splash of water halfway through breading your cauliflower.
You want to keep the heat at medium-low to give the chickpea flour enough time to cook through from the heat of the pan without burning the bottom, since you don't want any soggy chickpea flour stuck inside the cauliflower florets.
Don't want to use chickpea flour as an egg substitute? Use Just Egg (a vegan egg substitute) to dip the cauliflower!
Nutrition facts are estimated assuming a medium head of cauliflower makes 4 servings, and does not include the dipping sauce, and will vary on the amount of oil, actual amount of ingredients, and size of cauliflower used.