Perfectly Tender Grilled Cauliflower with Red Pepper Sauce

Last updated: August 17, 2022
5 from 3 votes
The best grilled cauliflower starts with a top secret tip - the microwave! First you'll steam the cauliflower in the microwave to cook all the way through before firing up the grill and searing it for ultimate flavor and beautiful char. You'll end up with perfectly cooked cauliflower florets that are tender inside and crisp on the edges. No more undercooked, crunchy cauliflower! Serve with a smoky red pepper sauce for a healthy side dish.
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

grilled cauliflower florets on a bed of sour cream and romesco sauce
grilled cauliflower florets with red pepper sauce on plate

This post is sponsored by Dometic Twin Eagles Grills, a year long partner of Heartbeet Kitchen. We have their 36 inch grill top with infrared rotisserie, on a portable base. Their meticulously engineered grills are as beautiful as they are high performance.

The Secret to Making Perfect Grilled Cauliflower

Okay, hang with me on this. The best grilled cauliflower starts with a microwave! I learned this technique from America’s Test Kitchen, and it’s absolutely foolproof.

After grilling, the cauliflower is incredibly tender, caramelized, smoky, flavorful and 100% delicious.

In the past when I’ve grilled cauliflower, I’ve struggled with it cooking too fast on the outside, and a crunchy, undercooked, and unpleasant crunch. It also tends to be flavorless, because the salt or seasonings don’t transfer inside the cauliflower. I’ve had this experience at restaurants too, which is so disappointing.

We do two things to resolve these issues and make perfectly charred and flavorful cauliflower.

  1. First the wedges are dipped in a salt and sugar brine. The cauliflower drinks in the salt and flavors it from the outside in. The little bit of sugar helps the cauliflower caramelize with the heat of the grill.
  2. By giving it a head start in the microwave, the heat and steam cook the cauliflower all the way through, leaving the grill to impart it with incredible crispy, charred texture and flavor.
woman grilling cauliflower

🔥 How to Grill Cauliflower

The versatility and power of our Dometic Twin Eagles Outdoor Gas Grill is ideal for the type of cooking that I do. I can make anything from a juicy Rotisserie Chicken to all the grilled vegetables my heart desires.

Twin Eagles is the expert in artful grilling design, high performance cooking, and very innovative kitchen solutions. And we’re so excited to be working their products into the outdoor kitchen that we are currently designing. We hope to have it completed by the end of fall.

  1. Cut cauliflower in half, then in wedges, keeping core in tact so that the wedges have stability.
  2. Make a quick brine: Whisk water with kosher salt and a touch of sugar, then dip each wedge into the solution for 15 seconds.
  3. Place wedges together on a large plate that you can cover with a glass bowl. You will steam the cauliflower in the microwave for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the glass bowl and use a knife to test the cauliflower. If the knife slides through without resistance, it’s done. If it’s still a little tough, return to microwave with glass bowl covering for another 2 minutes and check again.
  4. When it is done, dry off the cauliflower wedges and move to new plate. Brush each with olive oil.
  5. Preheat grill to medium high. Once hot, add cauliflower wedges to grill. Cook on each side until nicely charred and golden brown.
  6. Remove cauliflower from grill. Once slightly cool, use a knife to separate wedges into florets. Serve with red pepper sauce.
grilled cauliflower in enamel pan

Cooking with Romesco or Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I am not above using pre-made sauces with great ingredients to make meal time quicker and more delicious. And that’s exactly what a romesco or roasted red pepper sauce does in this recipe! I buy Trader Joe’s Romesco Dip almost every week, because it’s so good with vegetables or even as a pasta sauce. Made with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and crushed almonds, it has great flavor and texture.

I swirl the smoky Romesco with bright, tangy sour cream, which makes a great base for the roasted cauliflower. It feels restaurant-esque without any of the work!

grilled cauliflower with roasted red pepper sauce on white plate
woman holding plate of grilled cauliflower

More Cauliflower Recipes:

grilled cauliflower florets on a bed of sour cream and romesco sauce

Perfectly Tender Grilled Cauliflower Florets

This recipe for grilled cauliflower leads to the perfect texture and flavor – cooked from the inside out using the microwave first, then seared on a hot grill for a smoky, charred flavor and crispy outside. Serve atop a red pepper sour cream sauce.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time :8 minutes
Cook Time :25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup store-bought romesco or red pepper sauce (my favorite is from trader's joe)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • fresh parsley or basil

Instructions

  • Cut cauliflower in half, then each half into 3 wedges, keeping core in tact so that the wedges have stability.
  • Make a quick brine: Whisk water with kosher salt and sugar, then dip each wedge into the solution for 15 seconds.
  • Place wedges together on a large plate that you can cover with a glass bowl. You will steam the cauliflower in the microwave for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the glass bowl and use a knife to test the cauliflower. If the knife slides through without resistance, it’s done. If it’s still a little tough, return to microwave with glass bowl covering for another 2 minutes and check again.
  • When it is done, dry off the cauliflower wedges and move to new plate. Brush all sides with olive oil.
  • Preheat grill to medium high. Once hot, add cauliflower wedges to grill. Cook on each side until nicely charred and golden brown. Don’t hesitate to take it farther than you think for ultimate flavor.
  • Remove cauliflower from grill. Once slightly cool, use a knife to separate wedges into florets.
  • Spoon sour cream onto a plate and swirl. Do the same with with red pepper sauce. Place cauliflower over the mixture, top with fresh parsley or basil.

Notes

*Cauliflower technique learned from America’s Test Kitchen.

Did you make this?

tag @heartbeetkitchen on instagram and hashtag it #heartbeetkitchen

August 17, 2022

COMMENT & RATE

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious!! And so easy! I’ve been waiting to make this when husband is out of town (not a cauliflower fan) and good thing- I could have eaten the entire head!