cauliflower steaks pictured alongside spices

How to Add Flavor to Grilled Cauliflower: A Basting Trick

While seafood and meats often steal the grilling spotlight, vegetables can take center stage, too. Take, for example, the large and dense cauliflower, which makes for an excellent steak alternative with a consistency predisposed to a beautiful color off the grill.

To infuse flavor into the cruciferous vegetable while cooking, turn to basting. Basting grilled cauliflower lends similar benefits to applying the process to meats, enabling consistent Maillard reactions and interacting the seasoning’s sugar and protein with the grills’ heat. Dripping seasoning will lead to eye-catching flare-ups, meaning the final result will be both palatably scorched and richly infused with flavor.

Simply place a bowl of the utilized basting liquid on the cooler part of the grill. Its location will keep the sauce nice and melted, ready for reapplication throughout the grilling process. Continuously applying the sauce will spread the flavor into all of the vegetable’s recesses, meaning no bite will turn out underseasoned.

Season grilled cauliflower with creative basting liquids

cauliflower served on platter

Preparing cauliflower in such a manner comes together quickly, but it does require a few steps of prior preparation. Firstly, due to the cauliflower’s size, the interior may not get fully cooked through with grilling alone. The issue can be mitigated by slicing the vegetable around three-quarters of an inch thick so it won’t fall apart. Alternatively, throw the cauliflower heads into the microwave so that they’re easier to manage on the grill.

Meanwhile, assemble the baste; it can take on a range of bold flavors, from an aromatic olive oil-based spice mix to a spicy BBQ sauce, chimichurri, and more. Olive oil is a dependable base, flavored with additions like garlic, paprika, and a bit of brown sugar to enhance caramelization. Alternatively, reach for butter and bring on big flavors through hot sauce or condiments like ketchup and soy sauce. The sky’s the limit for interpretations as long as ingredients aren’t susceptible to quickly burning.

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If the cauliflower is cut thinner, it won’t need as many iterations of basting. However, with the entire vegetable, reapply frequently during cooking. The delicious aroma will waft through the air, and the outside will turn an aesthetic orange-brown.

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