Cauliflower Potato Salad (2024)

You may look at the name of this recipe and say to yourself that a cauliflower potato salad is a contradiction, and you’d be right. But potato salad, classic summer side dish that it is, can sometimes be a bit heavy. This cauliflower potato salad recipe is a lighter alternative, one that won’t leave you needing a nap.

It keeps all the traditional elements of a potato salad, including the boiled eggs and the mayonnaise-based dressing. It just swaps out the spuds for cooked cauliflower. Cauliflower, like potatoes, has a low-key neutral flavor, so the end result is a ringer for the classic salad you already know and love.

Ingredients for Cauliflower Potato Salad

  • Cauliflower: Cauliflower is widely used as a substitute for potatoes and other starches. Here, it provides a nutritious, neutral-tasting potato substitute for this faux-potato salad.
  • Carrot: The carrot adds color and crunch to the salad. It’s also a pleasing visual and textural contrast.
  • Eggs: The eggs add protein and another textural contrast to the salad, and their yolks help thicken and color the dressing. They also help make this cauliflower-based salad look more like a potato salad, because eggs are a standard ingredient in the real thing.
  • Green onions: Green onions bring a mild, savory onion note to this salad and also add a pop of vivid color.
  • Celery: Celery adds crunch and moisture to the salad, as well as a fresh green flavor and some welcome juiciness.
  • Olives, radishes and dill pickle: These three ingredients bring a range of tangy and pungent flavors and help enliven the finished salad. Their colors also add to the visual appeal.
  • Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise provides the bulk of the salad’s dressing, moistening the vegetables and adding a mild, creamy tang of its own.
  • Dijon mustard: Dijon mustard brings pungency, color and a tangy, complex flavor to the salad’s dressing.


Step 1: Prepare the vegetables

Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan, then add the cauliflower florets. Cook the cauliflower, covered, until the florets are tender-crisp (approximately four to seven minutes, depending on how large you’ve cut them). Drain the florets and rinse them in cold water to cool them quickly, then blot them dry on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl, then add the carrot, eggs, green onions, olives, celery, radishes and dill pickle.

Step 2: Mix the dressing and finish the salad

Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, then pour the dressing over the salad and toss it until the vegetables are evenly coated. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Cauliflower Potato Salad Variations

  • Roast the cauliflower: Instead of boiling the cauliflower florets, mist them lightly with oil and roast them on a parchment-lined sheet pan until they’re tender-crisp and lightly browned (up to 20 or 25 minutes at 425°F, depending on how large you’ve made the florets). Roasting gives the cauliflower a golden-brown color and brings out its sweet, nutty flavor. You can also experiment by sprinkling the florets with spices or herbs for different flavor profiles.
  • Use colored cauliflower: You won’t always see these at your local supermarket, but breeders have created cauliflower varieties in a number of colors other than white. Using a purple, green or orange cauliflower changes the appearance of the salad dramatically, though the taste remains the same. This will undermine the whole “faux potato salad” theme, but it makes for a visually interesting salad.
  • Try a curried version: Adding a small quantity of your favorite good-quality curry powder or curry paste to our base cauliflower potato salad recipe gives it an interesting twist. The bold yellow color is eye-catching, and the vivid flavors add to the salad’s appeal.

How should I store cauliflower potato salad?

Keep leftover or made-ahead cauliflower potato salad in your refrigerator in a tightly sealed container, or in its serving bowl with a cover (wax paper or a beeswax-infused food wrap, for example) pressed to the surface to keep air out.

Can I freeze cauliflower potato salad?

The salad’s vegetables will stand up to freezing and thawing, though their texture will suffer slightly. The dressing is more of an issue, because mayonnaise may “break” or separate when it’s thawed. You can either freeze the salad without dressing and add that later, or find a cauliflower potato salad recipe that uses a vinaigrette-style dressing rather than the mayonnaise-based kind.

Can I make cauliflower potato salad ahead of time?

You bet! In fact, we recommend it. Making the salad at least a day ahead of time gives the flavors a chance to develop fully, and your salad will only benefit. You can make this salad up to four days ahead of time, as long as you refrigerate it promptly.

Cauliflower Potato Salad Tips

How big should I make the cauliflower florets?

“Bite-sized” is the goal; they should be big enough to pick up easily with your fork but small enough to fit your mouth comfortably. That leaves room for some variation, but anything larger than an inch is probably pushing the limits. The actual size of each floret is less important than making them all a consistent size, so they’ll cook evenly.

Is there a way to cut my cauliflower into florets without making a big mess?

Yes there is, and we have a detailed guide to cutting cauliflower neatly and easily.

What other flavor profiles would work with this recipe?

With regular potato salad it’s easy to find dozens (or hundreds!) of recipes for inspiration. Cauliflower potato salad recipes are harder to find, but there’s an easy “cheat” if you love the base recipe and want to mix it up a little. Just find yourself a list of conventional potato salad recipes, and crib those ideas for your cauliflower salad. (Spoiler: We have a list of well-reviewed potato salad recipes to choose from.)

Test Kitchen Approved

Cauliflower Potato Salad

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Prep Time30 min

Yield8 servings.


  • 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill pickle
  • 1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Text Ingredients


  1. In a large saucepan, bring 1 in. of water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets; cook, covered, 4-7 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse in cold water. Pat dry and place in a large bowl. Add carrot, eggs, green onions, celery, olives, radishes and pickle.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Add to cauliflower mixture; toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 61 calories, 2g fat (0 saturated fat), 54mg cholesterol, 375mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 3g fiber), 3g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1/2 starch.

Cauliflower in potato salad? You bet, along with carrots, olives and other yummy surprises. —Mike Schulz, Tawas City, Michigan

Recipe Creator

Cauliflower Potato Salad (2024)
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