Completed Grilled Cauliflower Salad Side Dish
Food,  Recipes

Grilled Cauliflower Salad is Your New Go-To Vegetable Side Dish

Let me tell you why this Grilled Cauliflower Salad should be your number one vegetable side dish for all your cookouts!

Favorite Vegetable Side Dish Recipes

If you don’t have a favorite vegetable side dish for this summer let me introduce you to this salad from your grill.  It is full of colorful vegetables, loaded with fresh flavor, and is a quick dish that doesn’t heat up your kitchen.

What is not to like?

Once you have made this vegetable side dish I have no doubt it will become one of your top favorites. 

Not your typical Summer Salad

Hey, we are well into the grilling season and the patio is the place for our cooking and gathering.

Sure you could make the standard potato salad, slaw, or macaroni pasta, but why keep making the same old things?  Try something new this summer with this fantastic Grilled Cauliflower Salad side dish recipe.

When company comes over I don’t ever intend to open a container and blop out some kind of glorpy yellow-colored food item that tastes like the bottom of an old mayonnaise jar.  Heck, I don’t really want to eat that either.

If I have time I head out to my local farmer’s market and explore all the bounty brought in from the fields that week.  I can never make a trip to my farmer’s market a “quick” one.

I really do try to come up with fairly healthy side dishes using fresh ingredients to go with my grilled main courses. But I also don’t want to be chained in the kitchen toiling over the stove. So, I use my grill as much as possible to produce things faster and keep the heat out of the kitchen.

July 4th Grill or BBQ Scene with a table with wine

Make this Grilled Cauliflower Salad one of your go to Sides for BBQ

The way I see it if you are grilling out the main course, why not take care of the sides as well?

So I typically make no-cook or grill my side dishes for barbeques and cookouts. 

I have to tell you that I have made this Grilled Cauliflower Salad side dish for so many cookouts I cannot keep track! It is a total surprise when people see it. And my company always raves over this salad!  Even people who say they don’t like cauliflower gobble it up!

I hate to heat up my kitchen in the heat of summer, so grilling my side dishes is a great way to add that coveted smoky flavor to my menu. If you have never grilled cauliflower now is the time to try.

Grilling cauliflower imparts that great smoke and adds some char to the taste profile. It makes the cauliflower a bit nutty and earthy and not at all bitter or boring.

Flavorful Vegetarian Recipe for a Main or Side Dish

To date, this may not yet be in the top 10 most popular vegetable side dishes on Food and Wine, but it is a dynamite vegetable side dish recipe eager to be found. 

This side dish can also be the star of your next cookout!  Use it as the main dish and surround it with other grilled side dishes like my Magic Broccoli Salad and Grilled Corn on the Cob from my Patriotic Pork Menu.

Cauliflower head for a Grilled Cauliflower Salad

One of the Easiest Side Dishes for BBQ you’ll ever make

There is a quick parboil involved to soften the cauliflower, but then you just throw it on the grill.  Let it char up a bit and toss with the other ingredients. 

The dilly sauce adds brightness and acidity to this vegetable side dish which makes the flavors lighter after the grilling.

You can also save time making this Grilled Cauliflower Salad by purchasing cauliflower florets instead of cutting your own.

What are the ingredients in this vegetarian side dish?

Simple and fresh is best in the summer months. But it is important to have quality ingredients.

Most of these items you will probably find in your pantry. Then, a quick trip to the farmer’s market or produce section of your grocery store will provide the rest.

  • capers
  • French whole-grain style mustard
  • garlic cloves
  • apple cider vinegar
  • good quality olive oil
  • one large or two small heads of cauliflower
  • fresh dill
  • baby spinach leaves
  • cherry tomatoes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cauliflower florets for a vegetable side dish

How do you make this Grilled Cauliflower Salad?

  • First make the dressing by whisking the ingredients in a bowl or shake them together by using an empty glass or mason jar with a lid. The simple, but flavorful dressing is made up of the olive oil, capers, mustard, garlic, vinegar, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. It is always a good idea to taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Definitely make one day ahead and store in the refrigerator. It gets better as it sits.
  • Add the cauliflower florets to salted boiling water and just simmer for only 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking immediately. Let it dry very well.  Again, you can do this in advance!
  • Once dry, toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Grill the cauliflower in a preheated vegetable tray turning them occasionally so get a nice char.
  • Transfer to a bowl. While cauliflower is hot, add the dressing, dill, spinach, and tomatoes. Stir together well, then taste and adjust the seasoning. 
  • Always adjust the seasoning as you go!
  • Serve this fabulous salad warm or at room temperature.

Wine Recommendations

I paired this beautiful, tangy, acidic dish with a Sauvignon Blanc and a Vinho Verde in this Labor Day Menu. The wines were lovely with the dish matching acid to acid.

I will freely say I really liked the frizzanté of the Casal Garcia Vinho Verde.  It feels celebratory, fun, and inviting! It is officially a seasonal porch pounder every summer around here!

Admittedly, even the Dry Rosé was lovely with the side dishes adding some depth of flavor and structure to the profile.

All these wines work as a palate cleanser in between bites as well.

Expand your repertoire of BBQ Sides to Share

The summer bounty of crops is hard to ignore! So use them in your flavorful side dishes this season! Invite some friends over for a cookout and surprise them with your new favorite side dish – Grilled Cauliflower Salad!

Cheers Y’all!

P.S. Sharing is Caring! Pass this along to your friends via social media so they can enjoy this delicious salad too!

Labor Day Grill Menu Grilled Cauliflower Salad

Grilled Cauliflower Salad

Easy grilled salad with explosive flavor!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 8


  • grill


  • 4 Tbsp capers drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp French whole-grain style mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 C olive oil
  • 1 large or two medium cauliflower divided into medium florets
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dill
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves packed
  • 40 cherry tomatoes halved
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Make the dressing. Whisk in a bowl or use an empty jar with a lid. Mix together the capers, mustard, garlic, vinegar, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously while adding half the oil in a slow trickle. If using a jar, add the oil, screw on lid and shake vigorously. You should get a thick, creamy dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Can make one day ahead and store in the refrigerator.
  • Add the cauliflower florets to large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for only 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking immediately. Leave in the colander to dry well. (You can do this the night before and store in the refrigerator.) (See note.)
  • Once dry, place in a mixing bowl with the remaining olive oil and some salt and pepper. Toss well.
  • Place a grill pan or basket over the direct heat on the grill and leave it for 5 minutes, until very hot. Grill the cauliflower in a few batches making sure the florets are not cramped. Turn them as they grill to get a nice char and transfer to a bowl. While cauliflower is hot, add the dressing, dill, spinach, and tomatoes. Stir together well, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature, adjust the seasoning if needed.


Adapted from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook.
Note: For faster drying, place a tea towel on a rimmed baking sheet. After rinsing the cauliflower in cold water and allowing it to drain, spread it out on the towel to dry. You can complete the recipe to this point and store dried cauliflower in a sealed container in the refrigerator overnight. Continue recipe with step 3 the next day.
Keyword cauliflower, grill

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