Baked BBQ cauliflower bites paired with tangy avocado slaw and cilantro lime quinoa for the perfect flavorful dinner for the whole family. Ready in 30 minutes!
This recipe was originally published on 9/2/18
Is it just me or is life just getting crazier? I guess that's par for the course when you have multiple kids, run a business, and try to live life all at the same time. Since I try hard to live life to the fullest, one thing that's on my simplify list is meals.
I am putting easy dinners more and more in the queue. If it's not done in under an hour, then it doesn't happen often these days. Which is why I came up with this quick and easy power bowl.
Baked BBQ Cauliflower Bites
There is nothing quite like a quick and easy dinner, that does not require a lot of thinking, but that does satisfy your hunger like a fancy meal. This recipe is just that, but oh so much more:
- easily done in about 30 minutes
- has loads of flavor without a lot of fuss
- only 8 ingredients, including salt
- everyone can build their own bowl
- easy clean up
- covers all the basics: protein, veggies, carbs, healthy fat
The great thing about this is that you can always customize it to fit what you like. If you prefer lettuce over cabbage, go for it. Maybe you want rice and no quinoa? You can even add other veggies to the mix!
Each part can easily be swapped to make this an easy dinner that adapts to your personal tastes.
Is homemade BBQ sauce better than store bought?
I like to make my own BBQ sauce because my sauce happens to taste amazing. And it literally only takes a few minutes to mix up. But there are other great reasons to make your own.
Store bought BBQ sauce tends to have added sugar. In my recipe, I use maple syrup and molasses to get that hint of sweet. A healthier option for sure.
The stuff you buy at the store also is filled with preservatives so it lasts longer. While it's nice to have something you can use for a while, my sauce does freeze very well so you can easily store it for future use.
Another great thing about making your own homemade BBQ sauce is that you can adjust to ingredients to get the perfect flavor you love. BBQ sauce tends to be personal in preference of flavor, and it's easy to add a little more tang or sweet when making it yourself.
How do you make this meal in 30 minutes?
They key to quick meals is ordering what you do so that you are maximizing your time. This is truly done in 30 minutes if you follow the directions and are prepared. Here are some tips so that all goes smoothly:
- Start cooking the quinoa first.
- As soon as you put the quinoa on the stove, get the cauliflower in the oven.
- While both of those are cooking, make the slaw then clean up.
- By the time you are done with that, all will just about be ready!
Can you prep BBQ cauliflower bites ahead of time?
This is a huge plus about this dinner, prepping ahead so it's even easier. Here are my tips for setting yourself up for meal prep success:
- Make the BBQ sauce the day before, you can even make it a few days before since it keeps great for about a week.
- Cook your quinoa (or rice) and store in the fridge.
- Cut the cauliflower into pieces. You could also toss with the BBQ sauce and allow it to marinate for a few days if you want.
- Chop the cabbage if you aren't buying prechopped.
On the day you want to make this, all you need to do is bake the cauliflower and toss the cabbage slaw! Boom. Easy.
Making BBQ Cauliflower Bites
This is one of those meals that you can keep going back to over and over. Here are the easy steps to get this on your table stat!
- Cook the quinoa.2. Coat the cauliflower.3. Bake.
4. Make the slaw.5. Once everything is done, all you need to do is put it together!
Just a warning, this may cause major future cravings. We couldn't get enough and had this weekly for a few months. Which is totally fine because it's quick and easy!
Easy BBQ Cauliflower Bites Bowl with Tangy Avocado Slaw
BBQ Cauliflower Bites:
- 1 head cauliflower , chopped into bite sized pieces (gives about 4 cups)
- 1 cup BBQ sauce (homemade one linked here, or use store bought to make it super easy)
Tangy Avocado Slaw:
- ¾ - 1 cup avocado , about 1 average sized avocado
- 4 cups shredded cabbage , can use a mix of red and green or a prepackaged mix too
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
Cilantro Lime Quinoa:
- ¾ cup water , could also use broth if you prefer (see note)
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa (see note)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro , divided (can use more if you love cilantro)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Preheat oven to 450 F/ 230 C
- If you’re making quinoa, mix the quinoa, water, 2 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro and salt in a small pot.
- Place on stove top on high heat and bring to a boil (about 5-7 minutes).
- Once boiling, cover, turn down the heat and cook an additional 12-15 minutes until the water is absorbed.
- Once done remove from heat and let sit until you’re done with everything else. If using ready rice, follow the instructions in the notes.
- Meanwhile, mix the chopped cauliflower with the BBQ sauce in a bowl.
- Spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until brown and sticky. Bake less if you like your cauliflower al dente, and more if you like it more cooked.
- While it is baking, mix all slaw ingredients together to make tangy avocado slaw.
- Don’t forget to watch the quinoa as the cauliflower is baking as well.
- When the cauliflower is done, fluff the quinoa with a fork, and add the other 2 tablespoons of cilantro and the lime juice. Mix well.
- Separate everything into 4 bowls, drizzle with extra BBQ sauce if you prefer and devour!
- I love my homemade BBQ sauce and make it the day (or two) before I make this so it can settle in the fridge, but use a store bought favorite to make this meal even easier. My homemade version makes 2 cups so either half it or make it all and keep extra to drizzle over the top.
- I love using a prepackaged cabbage mix with red and green cabbage, and even some shredded carrots. But you can use any combo you like or even just one type of cabbage.
- This cilantro lime quinoa is very easy to make and it cooks as you prepare the rest. It helps add some protein which is why I love it here. But you can also make this extremely simple by using frozen cooked brown rice (I love the one from Trader Joe’s). Then heat 2 cups up with half of the cilantro and salt like the recipe says. Once done, add the rest of the cilantro and the lime juice and mix well.
- I like my quinoa more on the al dente side so if you want it softer or more moist, then add more water/broth.
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.
Nutrition and metric information should be considered an estimate.
This is one of my favorite recipes! I've now been pleasantly surprised TWICE by how good this meal is, and how filling.
I am so happy you like it Megan!!
Wow, this was really good and a great change from what I normally cook! I followed the directions and also made the recommended homemade BBQ sauce, and it was amazing! Definitely a healthy, make again recipe! Thanks Sophia!
I am so happy you liked it Lorie!! Thanks for the great review!
This dish is so delicious and easy to make! I roasted the cauliflower for 15 min before adding the BBQ sauce and then cooked for 10 more minutes to make the cauliflower extra crispy. The slaw was so simple to make yet delish! The combination of warm and cold items was perfection. My teenagers licked their plates clean!
I am so happy you all liked it Nan!! Thanks for the great review!
I do not like quinoa at all is there something else I can use?
Absolutely! Any rice works great! We use brown and wild rice and love it.
What is considered a serving? As in, what should The portion of each be in order to be within the calories listed? I’m doing CICO for weight loss so this is important for my meal plan.
Hi Kait! If you read my disclaimer for the nutrition info, I always say that if you need it for medical reasons it is best to calculate yourself using a proper nutrition calculator as my numbers are done through my recipe plugin and I cannot vouch that they are 100% accurate. As for serving size, I would look at the ingredients and take about 1/4 of each thing. So you're looking at about 1/4 of a cauliflower head, 1 cup cabbage, 1/4 cup avocado etc.
Something about the quinoa didn’t work for me and I think it was the amount of liquid listed. 1/2 cup of quinoa would need more than 3/4 cup of water, right? At least might did!
Hi Sheryl! I like my quinoa a little on the al dente side and not super moist. But you can definitely add more liquid to make it how you like it! I added a note for that. Also, it does depend on the stove, pot, cover and how high it was. But hope you enjoyed the flavors!
Honestly sometimes when I am craving "wings" a good cauliflower bite does the job perfectly. I normally go for buffalo sauce but this bbq recipe is a nice change of pace.
Hey there. Thank you for this recipe! How did you get the BBQ sauce to stick? It ended up forming a pool at the bottom of my pan; I ended up drizzling the drippings over the cauliflower at the end.
Hi Jeanine! How thick was your BBQ sauce? Mine was pretty thick so most of it stuck well. If it was on the thinner side, it definitely will have dripped off.
So did mine. I’d like to know the answer as well
Hi Pat! I asked Jeanine how thick her BBQ sauce was. It's supposed to be pretty thick so if you made my sauce and followed the recipe it'll be thick as well. The other thing that could have happened is that the cauliflower was not fully dry. Also, did you roast it on a parchment lined baking sheet? That helps as well.
I tried it again by roasting the cauliflower a few minutes before coating with the sauce and they came out delicious! Next time I’ll make the sauce too, it sounds yummy!
Thanks for letting me know Pat! Yes, if you didn't use my BBQ sauce, the one you used may have been a bit more watery. But glad you found a way to make it work!!
For the slaw, do I mash the avocado, or leave it in chunks?
Hi Rebecca! Either way is great! Up to you!
This is delicious! I will prepare this evening for my partner. Thank you very much
Thank you so much Marco! Hope you enjoyed it!
Any suggestions for substitutes for the cauliflower or is it pretty much needed in this recipe? My husband as an ostomy so he cannot process too much fiber.
Hi Amy, not quite sure what to tell you since cauliflower is the main ingredient here. You can always use another vegetable although that would make it quite a different recipe. But any veggie mixed with BBQ sauce and baked would probably be delicious!
I will be making this often!! Perfect, thank you!
Oh yay!! Hope you love it as much as we do! Thanks for being here!
These were so flavorful! And I love how quick they came together, and that none of the kids complained!