(Last Updated On: May 29, 2022)


Cauliflower wasn’t always cool. But this cruciferous crop is seen posing as “steak” or “wings” on hip eatery appetizer menus everywhere these days. While you may mock this comparison (we used to), it holds it’s own. It’s a shockingly satisfying alternative to eating meat, leaving you feeling lighter while still full.

After sampling restaurant-style cauliflower tenders that came deep fried or soaked in oil, we created our own. This recipe for BBQ Cauliflower Tenders is simple to create and sure to please even your veg-hating friends.

Serve them as an appetizer with a cashew-based ranch on the side. Or place a few BBQ Cauliflower Tenders on a ciabatta roll topped with tomato, onion, spinach, and a plant-based mayo. Sandwich city.

Recipe Tips

  • When cutting the cauliflower off the head, you don’t want each flower to be too big or too small. Keep some of the stem to have a ‘grip’ at the base of the tender.
  • Set up your batter bowl, breadcrumbs bowl, and prepared baking sheet close to each other. This will make the “batter dipping” process smooth.
  • For the “batter dipping” process, keep your dominant hand in charge of dipping, using a fork to turn and coat each piece. Then use your non-dominant hand to physically roll and coat each tender in breadcrumbs. Using these two hands separately is helpful as it keeps your dominant hand clean of batter.
  • Pick a BBQ sauce that you love, or make one of your own. The sauce is really important in this recipe and a poor sauce choice can be detrimental to your tenders. We lean toward spicer sauces!

Alternatives To Try:

  • Adding fat: Chicken, the traditional way tenders are made, is much higher in fat than cauliflower. If you feel like they are missing fat, try cooking the cauliflower in oil on your stovetop. Put 1-2 Tbsp of cooking oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is warm, cook cauliflower tenders on each side until crisp and brown.
  • Adding salt: Chicken is also higher in salt than cauliflower. If your tenders need more salt, add more salt into the batter, or add a dash of salt to each bite after they’re cooked and coated in sauce.

If you try this recipe, let us know what you think by tagging us @theurbanveg on Instagram

BBQ Cauliflower Tenders

Prep Time20 mins
Active Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Lunch/ Dinner
Yield: 4 people


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1.5 cups flour whole wheat or white flour
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic granules or garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano optional, but delicious!
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1.5 cups BBQ sauce pick your favorite brand (see ours in link below)


  • Pre-heat oven to 425. While oven is heating, slice cauliflower into bite-size pieces
  • Next, make your batter. Grab a large bowl and mix your flour, water, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, and oregano together. Mixture should be a similar consistency to pancake batter. Then put your bread crumbs into a smaller bowl next to your batter bowl.
  • Place parchment paper on a baking sheet (or use a reusable baking mat) and place in the same proximity of your bowls of batter and bread crumbs.
  • Now it's time to dip your cauliflower tenders in batter. Take one cauliflower piece and first, coat it entirely in batter. Allow excess batter to drip off, then dip the cauliflower piece in bread crumbs. Once you've rolled it around and it's fully coated, transfer the piece to the baking sheet. Repeat this process for all remaining cauliflower pieces.
  • Place the full baking sheet in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until outer coating is starting to crisp and brown.
  • Remove from oven and place your freshly cooked tenders into a large bowl. Pour BBQ sauce over top and mix or shake bowl to evenly distribute the sauce. Serve hot with a Vegan Cashew Dill Dressing (for recipe see notes below).