First, get your cauliflower florets cut and ready and the tofu pressed and torn into bite sized pieces. Then mix the water, plant milk, flour, spices and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate, smaller bowl, add the panko breadcrumbs. Line a large baking sheet (or two if needed) with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Add the cauliflower and tofu to the bowl with the water/flour batter and stir to coat all the florets well. One floret at a time, roll in the panko breadcrumbs, and then place on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven, and toss the baked florets and tofu with about 2 cups of barbecue sauce (using a large bowl). Coat well, then return to the pan and place back in the oven to cook for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Brush a little more barbecue sauce onto the cooked cauliflower and tofu bites, if desired and serve immediately with vegan ranch for dipping.
Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for deep-fried foods such as tonkatsu. The biggest difference between panko and standard breadcrumbs is that panko is made from bread without crusts, and it tends to be flakier than normal bread crumbs which is what we want for this recipe. The panko is what makes the cauliflower and tofu get super crispy!