Grilling cauliflower on the barbecue…really? Does it work? If so, how? And if it does, is it good?

I decided I was going to find out!

One of the simple reasons I ventured into this quagmire of attempting to bbq grill cauliflower was that cauliflower was on sale this week at the grocery stores so we ended up with 2 full cauliflower heads in the fridge. That is a lot of cauliflower for a family who does not ‘love’ cauliflower.


Cauliflower head
A full cauliflower head will give you enough cauliflower to serve about 6-8 people.

So, when trying to plan one of our meals, I thought…we need to make something with at least some of this cauliflower. Seeing that we were going to have some yummy grilled filet mignon steak, and hence, the bbq would already be required…I thought…hmmm…maybe we can grill that cauliflower.

But, barbecued cauliflower? Can it actually be done? Can you actually barbecue cauliflower?

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Let’s Try Barbecuing Vegetables

Sure enough, as with most food items…turns out, someone has tried to barbecue them…and that includes cauliflower. So I took a recipe that I found online, made a few modifications, and gave it a try.

How to Cut Your Cauliflower for BBQ

This recipe is very simple with perhaps the exception of how to cut and slice the cauliflower. Typically when cooking cauliflower, we break it up into individual flowerettes – which is very easy to do. You simply break off or cut off the flowers into, as my kids used to call them, little trees.

If you want to grill cauliflower, the most effective way to get the perfect grilling is to slice the cauliflower sideways. What you are going to do is remove all of the outer leaves, cut off the rounded edges of the cauliflower head, and then slice into equal width slices – about 1 inch thick.

Note that you will end up with a lot of ‘extra’ cauliflower flowerettes which will not be usable or suitable for grilling. The pieces will be too small or too round. Save them for another cauliflower recipe – soup in my Vitamix, maybe?

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You should find that the base of the cauliflower will hold many of the flowers together as one piece. This is the ideal. However, I found that I managed to get 1 or 2 large slices like this, and the rest were almost like individual flowerettes but sliced flat, as opposed to remaining round. These smaller pieces worked just fine – a little more turning on the barbecue due to having more pieces but, actually less hassle overall as they were more intact and did not tend to fall apart further – as cauliflower can do.

Sliced Cauliflower for BBQ Grilling
You can see the larger slices of cauliflower with several flowerettes attached. The smaller slices tend to be some of the larger flowerettes on the cauliflower, and just fell apart naturally upon slicing.

While the smaller slices may not actually look flat, they are. They are the flowerettes which have been sliced to create flat sides – perfect for grilling.

While I did grill my cauliflower which was sliced making it flat on both sides, I do believe that you could still grill your cauliflower using the simpler, non-sliced, rounded flowerettes. However, because the cauliflower flowerettes are rounded, they will not lay flat on the BBQ and as a result, you will not get the same consistent overall grill marks as with the flat slices. You will also not be able to spread the marinade sauce as easily. Otherwise, it should still work.

BBQ Cauliflower Marinade, Dressing or Topping

Now that you have your cauliflower sliced, ready your oil and lemon juice mixture marinade. Brush the upper side with the mix. The oiled side will go directly on the barbecue. Once on the BBQ, you can then brush the oil mix on the other side.

Brush your sliced cauliflower with the oil-lemon juice-garlic mix. The other side will be brushed once on the bbq grill.

Grill, Baby Grill

It’s bbq time! Get your barbecue heated to med-high heat, and get ready to grill, baby, grill!

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Cauliflower with some beautiful bbq grill marks – adds much to the flavor and the presentation.

After getting the fabulous grill marks, I did the rest of the cooking in a tin bbq cooking pan. I poured the rest of the lemon juice-oil mix into the pan while it cooked slowly.

After being grilled, the cauliflower is moved to a barbeque pan to finish the cooking – without burning.

I found that the cauliflower was sticking a bit both on the grill and in the pan. So, feel free to brush the cauliflower with a little more olive oil. We also found the taste to be quite lemony – maybe a bit too much lemon flavor…so, I might add a little less lemon juice.

At the end of the day, everyone really liked this cauliflower – even those who don’t ‘love’ vegetables in general and especially cauliflower.

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BBQ Cauliflower Review

If you want to put cauliflower on a scale of when and how these veggie-haters will eat it. Raw – never, boiled – maybe, steamed – a bit more than maybe, grilled – yes, please!

Raw cauliflower is not for everyone. Even cooked cauliflower is not for everyone. Grilled cauliflower, on the other hand, may just be for everyone!

As most parents would probably agree, if you can get your children to eat vegetables, you are thrilled…and you will remember just how you managed that. This recipe lived up to that standard.

We had non-cauliflower lovers eat, and truly enjoy, cauliflower. (There were no left-overs.)

ALL GRILLED! This all grilled barbecue meal includes grilled filet mignon steak, some grilled peppers and onions, finished off with some grilled cauliflower (a great substitute for baked potatoes, perhaps?)

If you want to eat more vegetables and you have never really liked cauliflower, you need to try this recipe.

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Grilled Cauliflower on the BBQ

With a few pantry basics and a BBQ, you can make this delicious grilled cauliflower – sure to please even the most finicky eaters.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq, cauliflower, grilled, grilled cauliflower, grilled vegetable, side dish
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • BBQ

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head cauliflower

Marinade Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red chili pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Remove the leaves off cauliflower. Slice sideways into 1 inch thick pieces. Choose the pieces which are intact. Refrigerate the other pieces for other uses. – soup in my Vitamix, perhaps?
  • In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the marinade sauce.
  • Coat the cauliflower on one side.
  • Grill the cauliflower on both sides at a med-high heat for about 3-4 minutes each side, coating the other side once turned.
  • Once you have nice grill marks, you can leave the cauliflower to cook / soften further on the top rack of your barbecue for about 10-15 minutes.
Easy peasy grilled cauliflower is a great addition to a filet mignon steak meal – who needs baked potatoes?

Have You Tried It? Let me know!

If and when you try this, let me know what spices or herbs you used on the cauliflower. Even though this recipe uses a very basic sauce topping mix, it is still really tasty. If you have any other additions that you have tried or would like to try, I would love to hear and try them!

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