BBQ Cauliflower Pizza

Tangy baked barbecue cauliflower mixes with red onion, smoked Gouda, and fresh mozzarella in this vegetarian version of a California Pizza Kitchen staple!

I’ve been making pizza as long as I can remember. It was one of the most frequent homemade meals growing up. My mom and I would grab some pre-made dough from the store, a jar of Preggo sauce, a can of sliced mushrooms, a jar of chopped black olives, and shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Voila! Homemade pizza.

My pizza making has gotten a bit more complex since then, testing recipes for my own dough (maybe someday I’ll get it right) and experimenting with lots of different flavors. Probably the most American thing about me is how much I love pizza in all its iterations. When I’m abroad it’s the only food I crave. NYC dollar slice, homemade, Hawaiian, marinara, pesto, plain cheese, even some of the pre-made brands you pop in the oven…I love it all, as long as it doesn’t have pepperoni 😉

Did I forget to mention I have a home garden? It’s a mystery, but I’ve managed to snag an apartment I can afford that has a backyard in Manhattan. (I’m never moving again). I’ve been honing my gardening skills by growing basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, shishito peppers, and, you guessed it, cauliflower! This idea went against all the best advice – the six cauliflower starter plants were a Home Depot impulse buy. Returning home I realized, to my dismay, that cauliflower were really challenging to grow unless climatic conditions were just right. Yet somehow, despite all the odds, I wound up with six heads of cauliflower! Sure, they weren’t as large or as perfect as store bought plants, but they were mine.

So then it came down to consuming all that fresh produce in a relatively short time. I learned when making my Cauliflower Buffalo Bites that cauliflower is an excellent substitute for chicken, so I thought of a barbecue “chicken” dish, and what better than BBQ pizza? Credited to Ed LaDou, who designed the first menu at California Pizza Kitchen, the chicken BBQ pizza became a staple at CPK and a prime example of California-style pizza.

I like to keep things simple by buying pre-made dough and my favorite brand of BBQ sauce. But if you have the option, I strongly recommend fresh dough over frozen. I bought a fresh dough from Terranova Bakery, located in the Arthur Avenue (Littly Italy) neighborhood in the Bronx. I found it at my local grocery story – they sell this brand at different locations around the city and even ship. It’s definitely worth checking local bakeries wherever you are. This dough made the pizza so, so much better than any frozen dough I’ve ever had, EVER. My new goal is to make my own homemade dough this good!

Start by making the BBQ cauliflower. Mix cauliflower with flour and garlic and onion powder, then bake in the oven.

Prep the pizza toppings: saute the onions, shred the cheese, and chop the cilantro. Roll out your pizza dough. Here’s another pizza secret – parchment paper! I have made so many pizzas where the dough sticks to the pan and it’s such a pain to slice and lift out of the pan. I cut a piece slightly larger than the pan and this made it incredibly easy to lift right out and slice the pizza outside of the pan. I recommend the If You Care brand, which is environmentally-friendly and compostable.

Layer your pizza. Start with BBQ sauce, followed by cauliflower, red onion, and cheese.

Bake your pizza. Sprinkle with cilantro when finished!

BBQ Cauliflower Pizza

Yields one pizza, 50 minutes


BBQ Cauliflower

  • 6 ounces cauliflower florets, chopped
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce


  • 1 pizza dough, fresh (recommend Terranova)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sauteed
  • 2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce
  • 6 ounces BBQ cauliflower
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 3 ounces smoked Gouda, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine


  • Baking sheet or pizza stone
  • Rolling pin
  • Aluminum foil
  • Parchment paper (try If You Care brand, it’s compostable!)
  • Pizza cutter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and prepare dough according to directions on the package.
  2. In a small container with lid, such as a Tupperware, mix cauliflower, flour, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cover and shake gently to mix well.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place cauliflower mixture on the sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. While the cauliflower is baking, saute onions in olive oil. Cook for 5-10 minutes on medium-high heat, until translucent and starting to brown.
  5. Remove cauliflower from oven but keep oven on. Stir in barbecue sauce, coating the cauliflower well. Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Line a 13″ x 9″ pan with parchment paper, cutting a piece that’s slightly larger than the pan. Roll out the dough to fill the pan, using a floured rolling pin as needed. Layer your toppings on the dough: barbecue sauce, cauliflower, sauteed red onion, fresh mozzarella, and smoked Gouda.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle cilantro on top. Serve warm.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow, this looks delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fergy. says:

    A very tasty looking pizza indeed.


  3. kar says:

    I made this for dinner last night – so easy & delicious! Keep the veggie recipes coming 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you liked it! And there are definitely more recipes to come 😀


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