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Grilled BBQ Cauliflower Bowl with mango and avocado, slathered with BBQ sauce and garnished with sunflower seeds.

Grilled BBQ Cauliflower Ranch Bowls Recipe

A tasty and texture rich BBQ bowl that's easy to make! Barbecue Cauliflower Bites contrast with creamy ranch, avocado and sweet mango atop a bed of your favorite greens sprinkled with sunflower seeds. This recipe is vegetarian or vegan and easily gluten free. 
One head of cauliflower will make enough BBQ bites for 2-3 bowls. Double the recipe for 4-6 servings.
See blog post above for substitutes and variations.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword Barbecue Cauliflower, BBQ Cauliflower Bites, Grilled Cauliflower Florets, Grilled Cauliflower Recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes
Servings 2 - 3
Calories 639kcal
Author Traci York | Vanilla And Bean


  • Canola or Olive Oil to prep the grill
  • 1 1/2 lb (715g) Cauliflower about one head
  • 1/2 C (150g) Smoky Bourbon Homemade BBQ Sauce plus more for basting
  • 1 - 2 Lemons optional, sliced in 1/2 crosswise (1/2 a lemon per bowl)
  • 7 oz (200g) Curly Kale about 5 stems, one bunch (size and weight varies), destemed and torn into bite size pieces.
  • 1/4 C (60g) Ranch Dressing I like homemade, plus more to taste. *See note for dairy free/vegan version.
  • 1 Mango large, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 - 2 Avocados sliced into bite size pieces, (1/2 avocado per bowl)
  • 2 Tbs Sunflower Seeds hulled, unsalted for sprinkling


  • Prepare the grill by oiling the grates and grill pan. Turn the grill on to preheat on highest setting.

Prepare the Cauliflower

  • In a large stock pot, fill 1/2 way with water. Bring to a boil.
    Meanwhile, cut cauliflower into 1"(2.5cm) - 2"(5) bite size pieces.
  • Once the water is boiling, plunge the cauliflower florets into the water. Set a timer for two minutes and cook for two minutes. The water does not need to return to a boil.
    Drain the cauliflower and run cold water over the florets until they stop steaming. Transfer the florets to a tea towel and pat dry.

Grill the Cauliflower

  • In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with BBQ sauce. Take your time here, you want to get sauce into every nook and cranny!
    Transfer the florets to the grill pan with a slotted spoon or tongs. Discard the remaining BBQ sauce (it tends to get watery).
  • If your grill grates will support larger florets, transfer the larger pieces to the grill grates (outside of the grill pan). This will aid in charring (caramelization!). Grill for about 14-16 minutes on high heat, flipping the florets 1/2 way through grilling. Use a BBQ or pastry brush to baste florets with BBQ sauce (fresh) before and after flipping.
    Time on the grill depends on the heat intensity of your grill. Start checking the florets for flipping at about 6 minutes. There should be some charring before you flip them. Adjust the heat down as needed.
    If grilling the lemon, brush flesh sides with a bit of oil, then grill without moving for 3-6 minutes. They're done when charred.
  • The florets are ready when there is some charring and the florets are tender yet still have a bit of tooth when bitten into.
    Transfer the bites and lemon to a parchment lined sheet pan until ready to assemble the bowls. If keeping warm, place in a warm 200F (93C) oven. The cauliflower bites can be shared warm or at room temperature.

Prepare the Bowl

  • In a large bowl, add the kale and sprinkle about 3 Tbs of ranch over the kale. Using your hands, massage the kale for about 2 minutes or until it's softened and broken down a bit. Add another Tbs or so of ranch if desired.
  • Transfer the kale to serving bowls. Top with sliced mango, avocado, and BBQ cauliflower bites. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the top and share with a lemon wedge.
  • Just before enjoying squeeze the lemon over the top of the bowls, and give the avocado a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper if desired.
    Share with more ranch, and warm BBQ sauce.

To Store:

  • This recipe is best enjoyed the day made but will keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours. After that, the kale and cauliflower tends to get soggy. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.


*To make this BBQ Bowl dairy free and vegan, try my homemade Dairy Free/Vegan Ranch Dressing. 


Serving: 1Bowl | Calories: 639kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 481mg | Potassium: 2328mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 11285IU | Vitamin C: 361mg | Calcium: 280mg | Iron: 5mg