This Grilled Cauliflower is a tossed with olive oil, garlic, and herbs and then cooked until slightly charred on the grill for the most delicious summer side dish and a whole new way to enjoy cauliflower.
If you haven't started making Grilled Cauliflower yet, it is time to run to your grills and get going. This simple side dish cooks in just 10 minutes and is the perfect summer dish. You can also make these cauliflower steaks on the grill or try some grilled broccoli or grilled zucchini.
Cauliflower has definitely been having its day in the spotlight. From cauliflower pizza to cauliflower rice and even cauliflower mashed potatoes, there isn’t much you can’t do with this versatile vegetable.
Grilling cauliflower will be your new favorite grilled side dish. The nutty flavors and slightly charred edges are magic. My whole family gobbled these up before even realizing they were polishing off a plate of veggies and hadn't even touched their meat. In our house, that's a big deal.
More importantly, making cauliflower on the grill instead of inside is a huge time saver. To be honest, I am lazy when it comes to mealtime. The last thing I want to do is cook my protein on the grill, veggies in the oven, and a grain on the stove. It is just too many things to keep track of and too many things to clean.
That means all summer long you better believe we are eating grilled veggies and our grains have been meal prepped or are coming out of a freezer bag. Cooking everything in one place is the way to cook in the summer.
Why You'll Love Grilling Cauliflower
Let me tell you a few things about grilled cauliflower.
- Time Saver: No need to cook your protein outside and then come inside and cook up your grains and veggies. You can cook your veggies and protein at the same time on the grill. You’ll also be eliminating a few pots and pans and have fewer dishes to keep track of.
- Tastes Fantastic: In case you haven’t jumped on the cauliflower bandwagon you will be pleasantly surprised at the nutty and slightly charred flavor you get from grilling cauliflower. If you love roasted cauliflower, cooking it on the grill gives you those same crispy, caramelized edges.
- Restaurant quality: Grilled and roasted cauliflower is popping up on so many restaurant menus. Instead of paying for the restaurant dish, make this at home and add garnishes like chili oil, chimichurri, fresh lemon, goat cheese, nuts, and more.
How to Cut and Grill Cauliflower
There are a few tricks to keep in mind to get a perfectly charred on the outside yet tender cauliflower on the inside. The key is how you cut the cauliflower.
Here are a few ways you can cut cauliflower for grilling:
These are the smallest size of cauliflower you can grill so they cook fast. This is my preferred way to cook cauliflower on the grill as it is easy and fast.
- How to cut florets: Slice the cauliflower in half and then again to make 4 quarters. Remove the core and then cut the florets off or use your hands to break them off.
- How to serve florets: Florets make a nice side dish or appetizer. They are delicious tossed in grilled vegetable salads or even in a pasta salad.
- Pros: When you grill florets, you end up with browned edges on all the cauliflower, and it is ready in ten minutes.
- Cons: Florets may fall through the grill if you put them on directly. You can use a grilled pan or basket but then you won’t get the grill marks.
These look and taste great. You get good coverage with the seasoning and they are easy to cook. You would season and grill for the steaks about 7-10 minutes per side until cooked through.
- How to cut steaks: To make steaks you cut the cauliflower into 1-inch thick slices
- How to serve steaks: Cauliflower steaks make a great vegetarian entree or side dish.
- Pros: Steaks cook up nicely, it is easy to brown them on both sides but you may have a few pieces that fall off and fall through the grills.
- Cons: You end up with a few extra floret pieces but these can be cooked on the grill separately.
To cook a whole cauliflower you could place it on foil or in a grill basket for 45-60 minutes so it is charred on the outside and tender all the way through. You can also parboil the whole cauliflower ahead of time for faster grilling, but it will still take 25-30 minutes.
- How to serve a whole cauliflower: Lots of restaurants are making whole grilled cauliflower these days as an appetizer but you can serve it as a meal drizzled with tahini or olive oil.
- Pros: It's a delicious preparation and a really show-stopping dish to serve for parties.
- Cons: It is time-consuming for the home cook to prepare the whole. You get charred, crispy outer edges and the seasoning is on the outside.
One last option is to make wedges. You can cut the cauliflower into 6-8 large wedges that can be grilled directly on the grates. Season the cauliflower, brush it with oil, and cook for 4-5 minutes per side until tender.
- How to cut wedges: Cut the cauliflower in half and then into half again and finally cut the quarters into equal-sized wedges.
- How to serve cauliflower wedges: Wedges can be served as a side dish or appetizer.
- Pros: Wedges will cook up fairly quickly and be nicely seasoned on all sides.
- Cons: You may lose a few florets through the grill when you flip the wedges.
How long do you cook cauliflower on the grill?
- Florets normally take between 8-12 minutes.
- Steaks will take 15-20 minutes. and
- A whole cauliflower it will take between 45-60 minutes.
- Wedges will take 15-20 minutes.
- There are specific instructions for each size in the instructions above.
Seasoning Ideas for Cauliflower on the Grill
You can season cauliflower with almost any spice combination when are grilling it. Think about what you are making for dinner and try to match the same flavor combination.
You can also toss it with something after it grills. This is perfect for things like chimichurri, pesto, barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, or almost any vinaigrette or salad dressing.
Here are some of my favorite cauliflower seasonings.
- Blackening spice: If you love spice, make this simple homemade blackening seasoning or buy a store-bought blend. Look for one without added sugar.
- Lemon pepper: You can store-bought lemon pepper seasoning or make a quick homemade version using equal parts fresh lemon zest, garlic powder, fresh black pepper, and salt.
- Chili lime: If you are having a Mexican-style meal, consider using chili lime seasoning. Trader Joe's makes a great one that isn't super spicy or you can use a combination of chili powder, fresh lime zest, and salt.
- Steak seasoning: Steak seasoning or Montreal seasoning is readily available in almost all markets and usually contains black pepper, paprika, garlic, onion, dill, red pepper flakes, and salt.
- Garlic and herb: Use a combination of garlic powder and your favorite dried herbs or fresh garlic and fresh herbs.
- Curry: I love the combination of curry powder and cauliflower. You can use garam masala, normal curry powder, or any other curry blend.
- Old Bay: Old Bay is a classic seafood seasoning but in my opinion, it tastes delicious on pretty much everything.
Can I Grill Cauliflower in Foil?
Cauliflower can be cooked in foil on the grill. There are two different reasons to use foil when cooking cauliflower. The first is just a simple hack if you don't have a grill basket to keep the florets from falling through the grates. In this method, you leave the foil open so that the cauliflower cooks the same way as it would on an open grill.
If you close the foil and create a packet to cook the cauliflower, it will steam at the same time due to the water getting trapped in the foil packet. This will lead to a more tender cauliflower with less char and brown crispy edges.
How To Store Gilled Cauliflower
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days. You can also throw them in the freezer and keep them for up to 3 months.
Reheat from frozen or thaw in the fridge.
How To Use Grilled Cauliflower
There are so many ways you can use cauliflower that was cooked on the grill, but here are a few suggestions:
As an appetizer use grilled cauliflower to make this Bang Bang Cauliflower or serve it along with this Creamy Chipotle Sauce or this Homemade Peanut Sauce. It also tastes really great served cold with hummus or on a charcuterie board.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making this cauliflower.
The most common reason that people soak cauliflower before cooking it is to ensure there aren't any critters or bugs in the cauliflower. Soaking it fro 30 minutes in slated water can help remove anything that may be living inside the cauliflower.
There is no need to parboil cauliflower before cooking it on the grill, assuming you are grilling florets, wedges, or cauliflower steaks. If you are grilling an entire head of cauliflower, boiling it beforehand can significantly cut down on cooking time while ensuring the cauliflower is fully cooked.
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- 4 cups cauliflower florets
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tbsp black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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