Cauliflower didn’t use to be cool. But nowadays, this cruciferous cole crop is seen posing as “steak” or “wings” on hip eatery appetizer menus.
While you may mock this comparison at first (we did), it holds it’s own and is worth a try. With it’s dense and tender consistency, it provides a uniform and rewarding texture. It’s a shockingly satisfying alternative to eating meat, leaving you feeling lighter while still full.
The ideal cooking method for cauliflower can vary. The most popular styles are roasted, boiled, barbecued, or deep-fried for an extra crunch. Many restaurants enhance cauliflower’s taste with unique and vibrant sauces – spicy aioli’s, maple glazes, kung pao sauces and more.
After sampling restaurant-style cauliflower tenders that came deep fried or soaked in oil, we decided to create our own.Our goal was to create a more nutritious version of cauliflower, that was oil-free and easy to make. This recipe for BBQ Cauliflower Tenders is simple to create and sure to please your non-vegan friends.
Serve these as an appetizer with a cashew-based ranch on the side. Or you can place a few BBQ Cauliflower Tenders on a ciabatta roll topped with tomato, onion, spinach, and Veganaise. Sandwich city!
- When cutting the cauliflower off the head, pay close attention to the size of each piece. You don’t want them to be too big or too small. It’s okay to keep some of the stem to have a ‘grip’ at the base of your tender.
- Set up your batter bowl, breadcrumbs bowl, and prepared baking sheet all in close proximity to each other. This will make the “batter dipping” process much more smooth.
- For the “batter dipping” process, try having your dominant hand in charge of dipping each piece in the batter. We suggest 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, but know that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Alternatives To Try:
- More fat: Chicken is much higher in fat than cauliflower. If you feel like they are missing fat, try cooking them in oil on your stovetop. Put 1-2 Tbsp of grapeseed oil (or any cooking oil) in a pan and heat on medium heat. Once oil is warm, cooking cauliflower tenders on each side until crisp and brown.
- More salt: Chicken is also higher in salt than cauliflower. If it needs more salt, try adding more salt into the batter. Or you can always add a dash of salt to each biter after they are cooked and coated in sauce.
If you try this recipe, let us know what you think by tagging us @theurbanveg on Instagram