from THE WICKED HEALTHY COOKBOOK by The Sarno Brothers
Serves 4 to 6
Cauliflower florets get the BBQ—sticky fingers treatment here. Look for a head of cauliflower that’s not too tightly packed. You want to be able to break the whole thing down into larger individual florets with some stem on there. The middle of the cauliflower is sweet, tender, and perfect for this preparation. If the cauliflower has some leaves attached to it, leave them on. They get nice and crisp on the grill. Hope you like Korean barbecue: That’s the flavor profile of the sauce that’s slathered all over these sticky cauliflower ribs. Or check out the options for other flavor variations. Eat these with your hands and keep the Wet-Naps nearby! —Derek
- 1 head (1 to 2 pounds) cauliflower
- 1 jar (12 ounces) hot pepper jelly (see Pro Tip)
- 1/4 cup Ninja Tamari Glaze (recipe below)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, preferably a black and white combo, for garnish
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, for garnish
1 . Light a grill to medium-high heat, about 375°F. For charcoal or wood, pile the coals to one side of the grill. For gas, heat only one side of the burners, and leave the other side off.
2 . Begin breaking down the cauliflower carcass by holding the head upside down by the large center stem. Remove the florets from the center stem, leaving a long steam intact on each cauliflower floret. The stems should be reminiscent of ribs that you will hold as you gnaw the cauliflower from the stem. Try to make sure the rib pieces are thick enough and strong enough to stand up to saucing, grilling, and being eaten by hand when cooked.
3 . Whisk together the pepper jelly and tamari glaze in a large mixing bowl. This is your sticky, sweet, spicy BBQ sauce. Wash your hands, add the cauliflower ribs to the bowl, and rub the sauce over the ribs like you’re applying a generous amount of tanning oil on your bae. Coat all pieces thoroughly.
4 . Scrape the grill clean, then place the cauliflower ribs on the hot grate. Grill for about 5 minutes per side. You’re looking for good grill marks and a golden brown color with some burnt edges on the rib pieces. You also want the cauliflower to be cooked through yet still have some crunchability. If the ribs char before they’re cooked through, move them to the unheated side of the grill, put down the lid, and cook gently until they are tender yet crunch. If you have any leftover sauce, brush it over the ribs throughout the grilling.
5 . Remove the ribs to a platter and shower with the salt, sesame seeds, and herbs. Eat with your hands.
Our favorite pepper jellies are from Rose City Pepperheads in Portland, Oregon. Their Double Dare is wicked hot. If you’re a glutton for punishments, try the Sneaky Ghost.
- You can swap out the pepper jelly for mango chutney or tamarind chutney. Or try a mixture of 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce and 1/2 cup Mango Siracha Caramel.
- For smoke flavor, add a wood chunk of a handful of wood chips to the coolest part of your charcoal fire before you grill the ribs. Or put the wood chips in a smoker box on your gas grill.
NINJA TAMARI GLAZE
Math is hard. Playing with your food is not. Use this glaze like liquid flavor. And try mixing it up: Want some fresh herbs? Add a few basil or mint leaves. Into spices? Add a piece of star anise or a few cinnamon sticks or cardamon pods. Want more brightness? Squeeze in some fresh lemon or lime juice. Maybe stir in some tomato paste. Flavor it however you like. The mix all gets strained in the end anyway. Nail the basic mix and you’re halfway to becoming an expert. Create a new flavor combo and you’re the Yoda of your Dagobah. And how do you use it? Paint onto grilled or roasted vegetables or seared tofu. Mix into fried rice or vegetables. Brush it onto your best friend’s naked body. or thin it with a little water and make it a dip or drizzle.
MAKES ABOUT 3 CUPS
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup low-sodium tamari
- 1/2 cup demerara sugar or light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Ninja Squirrel sriracha or other sciracha
- 1 tablespoon rough chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon rough chopped garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
1 . Combine the 2 cups water, tamari, sugar, srircha, ginger, garlic, and bay leaf in a medium saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
2 . Whisk the arrowroot with the 2 tablespoons cold water (called a slurry), then whisk the slurry into the pot. Bring back to a simmer and simmer to cook out the starchy taste, 5 to 8 minutes. Shut off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
3 . Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a chillable container and let cool. Seal and refrigerate for up to 1 month.