I wanted to try using cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes in a bowl of potato salad. It would be low carb, but mostly I wanted to know what the flavors would be like. I love potato salad and I also love cauliflower. I knew if it wasn’t close enough to potato salad in taste I’d like it anyway, because I like cauliflower made so many ways. It was an experiment that intrigued me.
I had a head of cauliflower cut up and further cut it up into smaller pieces, about 1″ each, the size I usually cut up potatoes for salad. I put the cauliflower pieces into a saucepan of water, added 1/2 teaspoon of salt and turned the heat to medium high. I set the timer for 7 minutes for the first check. I wanted the pieces to be fork tender but not falling apart, mushy.
Not quite tender at 7 minutes, I let the cauliflower boil for 2 more minutes and was pleased with the texture. The pieces would soften a bit more as they cooled. I drained the cauliflower and let it set to cool.
I’d also put eggs on to boil in another saucepan. I boiled a few extra, I wanted about 4 for the salad. I have my go to formula for perfectly boiled eggs: I bring them to a boil and when they’re bubbling away I set the timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off I set the saucepan off the heat and time them for another 5 minutes. Next I run cold water over them for several minutes then let them sit until I’m ready to peel and dice. Perfectly done every time!
While I waited for my cauliflower to cool I made my usual potato salad dressing for a small batch: some mayo, a few squirts of yellow mustard, some milk, a glug of white vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. I’m always aware that I need more salt and pepper than tastes right, because it’s going to seep into the potatoes and disappear somewhat. I wasn’t sure that would happen with the cauliflower so I held back a bit on the salt and pepper for now.
I peeled and diced the boiled eggs into the bowl of cauliflower and added a handful of diced green onions. I poured most of the dressing over the top and stirred well to coat. I had a little dressing leftover and adjusted the amounts in the recipe. I put the salad into a container with a lid and refrigerated it overnight. It would blend and marinate flavors and be ready for dinner the next evening.
Oh my goodness! I was so pleased with this mock potato salad! It wasn’t very strong on cauliflower flavor and if you didn’t know it, you might miss it. With the same dressing, boiled eggs and green onions this was almost exactly like potato salad! My P.S. and I were surprised and happy with the new salad. It’s going to be an item on our “Sides” list often from now on!
I will note that unlike potatoes that soak up the dressing, cauliflower doesn’t do that. It did marinate and pick up the flavors but it was a fairly wet salad. I’d maybe cut back on the amount of dressing used, making sure it was all coated but not wallowing in dressing. And also since heads of cauliflower vary in size you might find you need more or less dressing. My cauliflower was on the small side.
Cauliflower Potato Salad
1 head cauliflower; cut into 1″ pieces
1/4 cup green onions; chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Place eggs in a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Place under cold running water and let stand for 10 minutes or more.
Place cauliflower florets in salted water (about 1/2 teaspoon) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 7-9 minutes, until florets are fork tender. Don’t overcook, test at 7 minutes and go from there.
Drain cauliflower and place in bowl to cool.
Peel and dice eggs into bowl of cauliflower. Add green onions.
Whisk mayo, milk, mustard, salt and pepper until blended. Add vinegar and whisk until thickened.
Pour 3/4 of dressing over salad and stir well. Add more to coat if necessary. Place in covered container and refrigerate overnight to marinate and blend.