Best Ever Zero Waste Barbecue Cauliflower Ribs (Gluten Free, Vegan)

Prep: 5 minutesCook: 30 minutesTotal: 35 minutes
Yield: serves 2Category: Soups/Sides
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These Barbecue Cauliflower Ribs are an easy and delicious way to help get your vegetables in and reduce waste!

These are made using the leaves of the cauliflower that are commonly thrown away and are part of a series I am working on to help reduce food waste by turning the parts of fresh produce typically discarded into delicious recipes. If you like this idea you may want to check out some of my other recipes from this series such as my Sweet & Sour Watermelon, my Asparagus Ends Soup and my Banana Peel Bacon.

Usually I will save the leaves and throw them into stir frys or dishes like this Curried Quinoa & Tempeh, however, I wanted them to star in their very own recipe. Due to the shape and size of the leaves it just made sense to me to turn them into ribs and, although a Chinese style spare rib recipe was the first thing I thought of, I settled on a traditional American barbecue style.

If you do not fancy making this recipe using cauliflower leaves you could simply make this barbecue sauce and use it to coat whichever meat substitute you prefer. Feel free to add as much or as little hot sauce as you prefer when making it.

I typically leave these in the oven for thirty minutes in total but will check on them at the half way point and give them another coat of the barbecue sauce to make sure they are packed with flavour and none of the sauce is wasted. Keep in mind that if some of the leaves are smaller than the others they will cook quicker and may start to burn so keep an eye on them and take these out of the oven if need be. Similarly, it will take larger leaves longer for their stems to soften so allow an additional five minutes in the oven if they are not quite ready after thirty minutes.

This Cauliflower Ribs recipe works really well paired with my Buffalo Cauliflower Wing recipe which you can find here. Not only does making these two recipes together mean you can have a picky American style feast but it means you get to use the entire cauliflower instead of wasting the leaves. They both work really well served with my Buttery Corn Riblets, chips, coleslaw and salad.

If you like this recipe and want to show some support please leave a comment below or visit my Ko-Fi account to donate! x


  • 1 handful cauliflower leaves
  • 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp gluten free and vegan worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • splash hot sauce


  1. Wash the leaves and pat dry before arranging on a lined baking tray
  2. Combine of all the ingredients except the leaves in a bowl or jug and mix well
  3. Use a pastry brush to coat the leaves in the barbecue sauce mixture, paying extra attention to the stem that runs through each leaf
  4. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius
  5. Remove from the oven and coat in the remaining sauce before replacing and cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes until the stems have softened


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