5 Best Cauliflower Varieties For Grilling Tasty Florets

Summer is prime time for firing up the grill. And if you’re looking for a healthy and delicious vegetable to throw on the barbecue, cauliflower is a fantastic choice!

Grilling brings out cauliflower’s sweet, nutty flavor and gives the florets a delicious charred edge while keeping the interior tender.

It’s a great way to add more veggies to your plate and satisfies in both taste and texture.

But not all cauliflower is created equal when it comes to grilling. The variety makes a big difference in how the florets caramelize and their final flavor.

Over years of grilling cauliflower, I’ve discovered that certain types consistently produce the best results when making grilled cauliflower florets.

Here are my top 5 picks and pro tips for preparing each one on the barbecue.

1. Snow Crown – The Classic White Variety

Cauliflower Varieties For Grilling Tasty Florets

If you want that classic cauliflower taste and appearance, Snow Crown is the go-to. This standard white variety has dense, compact curds that hold their shape nicely when grilled up.

Snow Crown’s mild sweetness allows the flavors of whatever oil or seasoning you pair it with to shine through.

It’s the perfect blank canvas for experimenting with different herb rubs, marinades, and glazes on the grill.

When prepping Snow Crown for grilling, I recommend cutting larger florets, about 2 inches wide, to get more caramelized crispy edges.

Before putting them on the hot grill, be sure to toss the florets with a high smoke point oil like avocado or grapeseed.

And sprinkle, brush, or toss the oiled florets with your favorite spices and seasonings.

For best results, grill Snow Crown cauliflower over direct high heat, turning the florets every 2 minutes or so.

This ensures they cook evenly and get a nice char rather than steaming. In about 8-10 minutes total, you’ll have tender grilled white cauliflower with crispy browned bits.

2. Graffiti – Vibrant Purple Color

cauliflower graffiti purple color

If you want to add some color to your grilled cauliflower, Graffiti is a gorgeous choice. This variety has a vivid purple hue that intensifies when caramelized over the grill.

Beyond its beauty, Graffiti also has a nuttier and richer taste compared to standard white cauliflower.

Its flavor is less mild so it can stand up well to bold seasonings and marinades before hitting the grill.

When preparing Graffiti cauliflower florets for grilling, you can follow most of the same steps as white varieties – cutting into florets, tossing with oil, and seasoning as desired.

One tip is to use oil-based marinades and glazes rather than vinegar or citrus-based ones which can make the purple color dull.

Grill the florets over high direct heat, flipping frequently, until lightly charred and tender when pierced with a fork.

Expect the vivid purple to be even more pronounced once they come off the grill.

To keep the beautiful color as the centerpiece, I suggest simple seasonings and garnishes.

A drizzle of lemon-infused olive oil or herb oil is delicious. Or sprinkle with fresh soft herbs like parsley, chives, or basil right when they come off the grill.

The striking purple hued florets look stunning on a platter surrounded by greens making Graffiti one of my top cauliflower picks for grilling up something special.

3. Cheddar – Vibrant Orange Color

Cauliflower Cheddar orange color

Cheddar cauliflower is another variety that truly shines when grilled up into florets.

Its bright orange color holds up beautifully to the heat of the grill. And it develops an extra nutty, cheese-like taste when charred that lives up to its name.

When seasoning Cheddar cauliflower before putting it on the barbecue, I like to play up its cheese-like qualities.

Tossing the florets in a bit of melted butter mixed with grated parmesan or cheddar works great. You could also brush the florets with a cheesy cream sauce for bonus flavor.

Be sure to cut the Cheddar florets on the larger side since the compact orange heads tend to stay firmer than white varieties.

Grill over high direct heat until starting to get crispy edges. Then drizzle with a squeeze of lemon juice to balance the rich flavor.

For a fun presentation, you can insert wood skewers into the base of the grilled florets and then stand them upright on a platter.

Sprinkle the orange beauties with more shredded cheese, breadcrumbs, or chopped parsley for a nice finish.

The tasty cheese-like essence you get from grilling Cheddar cauliflower definitely ranks it as one of my personal favorites.

4. Romanesco – Striking Spiral Florets

Cauliflower romanesco Striking Spiral Florets

For a truly eye-catching cauliflower variety to grill up, look no further than Romanesco. This Italian cauliflower has a cool spiral shape with pointy lime green florets.

It looks just as cool on the grill as it does on the plate. The key with grilling Romanesco is to cut the florets on the smaller side so they retain their shape better.

In terms of flavor, Romanesco is mild and sweet like standard white cauliflower. It has a nice crunch when eaten raw too. So grilling just until tender-crisp really brings out its best qualities.

Toss the spiral florets in oil and your desired seasonings and then grill over direct high heat for just 4-5 minutes per side. You don’t need to char it too much.

I like to toss warm grilled Romanesco florets with a lemony vinaigrette or herb-infused oil while still hot from the grill. This enhances the flavor and prevents them from getting too soft.

The mouthwatering spiral shapes and vibrant green color make Romanesco a showstopper variety for grilling up cauliflower florets with visual wow factor. It tastes as good as it looks!

5. Green Cauliflower – Vibrant Green Color

Green Cauliflower

Last but not least is the exotic looking green cauliflower. This variety gets its verdant green hue from chlorophyll in the curds.

Beyond its looks, it has a very mild, slightly sweet flavor with a light cabbage-like taste.

When grilling green cauliflower florets, cut them on the larger side to account for the looser, more spread out curds compared to white cauliflower.

The green color tends to dull faster with extended cooking so grill just until tender-crisp.

To keep the vibrant green as bold as possible, try grilling in a grill basket which helps retain more color. Brush or toss the florets with oil first to prevent sticking.

I love the look of grilled green cauliflower florets served either warm or at room temperature.

The color provides an incredible contrast to the usual white and orange cauliflower varieties you see.

Drizzle them with a tangy vinaigrette or creamy green goddess dressing for a perfect summer cookout side.

They also make a unique crunchy addition to a grain bowl or salad.

So don’t miss out on trying the gorgeous green version next time you’re grilling up cauliflower. It’s sure to be a conversation starter!

Grill Up Some Colorful, Flavorful Florets

Grilling cauliflower brings out its best qualities – tender interior with caramelized crispy edges and nutty sweet flavor. But as you can see, not all cauliflower is the same when it comes to grilling florets.

Certain varieties like the classic Snow Crown along with colorful options like Graffiti, Cheddar, Romanesco, and Green have traits that make them exceptional on the barbecue.

The key is choosing a type suited to your preferences – whether you want classic white, vivid purple, orange, lime green, or another shade. Cut and grill the florets according to variety to highlight natural colors and flavors.

Then season and toss them with marinades and dressings that complement each one after grilling. Serve your grilled cauliflower florets as a hearty meatless main or side at your next cookout. They please the eye and the palate!

How to Make Grilled Cauliflower Florets

Now that we’ve covered the best cauliflower varieties to use, let’s discuss the easy process for prepping and grilling cauliflower florets to perfection.

While grilled cauliflower requires minimal ingredients, there are some key steps to follow for the best results. Here is my simple method for making tasty grilled cauliflower florets at home.

Start with Fresh, Dry Florets

Always start with fresh, dry cauliflower florets. Choose a head without brown spots that feels heavy for its size.

Cut into florets, removing any excess stem or leaves.

Rinse the florets and then be sure to pat them completely dry before grilling. Any moisture left on the surface will create steam rather than caramelization.

Toss with Oil and Seasonings

In a bowl, drizzle your cauliflower florets with olive oil or avocado oil. Toss to coat them evenly.

This helps prevent sticking to the grill. Then sprinkle them generously with seasoning.

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper are perfect basics. You can also use garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, oregano, or any of your favorite spices.

To add lots of flavor, toss the oiled florets with a marinade, herb paste, or dry rub before grilling.

Just avoid wet ingredients that will steam rather than sear them.

Grill Over Direct High Heat

To get that delicious caramelized texture, grill the cauliflower florets over direct high heat.

This allows the surfaces to quickly brown and char while the interiors soften. Use tongs to flip them every 2-3 minutes for even cooking.

Depending on thickness, grilling time can range from 6-12 minutes until florets are tender when pierced with a fork.

Resist the urge to move them too much which can make them mushy.

Finish with Flavor Boosters

When the florets come off the grill, you can toss them with extra flavorings. A squeeze of lemon, drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of parsley, or dollop of sauce enhances their taste.

And that’s it! With these simple tips, you can enjoy tender, browned grilled cauliflower florets bursting with flavor. They make an amazing meatless main or vegetable side dish.

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