Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tips for Making Low-Carb Cauliflower Potato Salad by Cleo Coyle #lowcarb #keto

With cookout season upon us, Marc and I are craving cold, creamy potato salad. We usually use baby reds and baby Yukon Golds for our salad. These varieties have thin skins, which we don't have to peel, and the different colors look pretty on the plate.

This summer, however, we're cutting back on carbs, so I gave the classic mock potato salad (using cauliflower) a try. 

Replacing starches like potatoes and rice with cauliflower is a smart trick for low-carb eaters, and my fellow mystery writing cook, Victoria Abbott, brilliantly blogged about the finer points of this switcheroo last year...

To get Victoria Abbott's recipe for mock rice, 
using our friend Mr. Cauliflower head, click here.

Last week, Daryl Wood Gerber (aka Avery Aames) shared news in a personal post about her husband's need to cut down on carbs, and I look forward to upcoming recipes from her, as well.

Today's recipe is based on what Marc and I like. You can easily tailor it to what you like. So let's get cooking...

Cleo Coyle's Tips for making...

Low-Carb Cauliflower "Potato" Salad

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

If you are planning to switch cauliflower for potatoes to create a mock potato salad, there are some tricks to getting the best results. In this recipe, I share what I've learned with you. 

Does it taste exactly like the real thing? No. But it's close. And if you or your loved ones are looking for a creamy, crunchy, low-carb side or salad for a summer meal, this one is definitely worth a try. May you...

Eat with joy and in good health!

~ Cleo

To download this recipe in a free PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here.

For the free PDF
of this recipe,
click here.

Makes 8 to 10 servings


1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces

2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 tablespoons chives or green onion, chopped (if you like the taste of onion, try adding chopped red onion, as well)

1 - 3 teaspoons yellow or Dijon mustard (more or less, to your taste)

1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise (more if needed) 

1/4 teaspoon table salt or 1/2 teaspoon
       coarsely ground sea salt or pink salt 

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 - 2 tablespoons dill or sweet relish 
(While I don't add relish to my potato salad, I find dill relish works very well in my cauliflower "potato" salad, bringing crunchy, bright, and tangy notes!) 

Paprika or a peppery spice blend for garnish



COOK BUT DO NOT OVERCOOK - Steam your bite-sized cauliflower in a basket until fork tender. Be sure to stop the process before you smell the cauliflower cooking—this means you’ve cooked it too long and your cauliflower will have a stronger veggie taste. If done right, and you don’t cook it too long, your mock potato salad will taste close to real potato salad. If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can boil the cauliflower as you would potatoes or use a microwave-safe bowl (add a bit of water before microwaving). However you decide to heat it, simply be careful to test it frequently with a fork to prevent overcooking.

COLD SHOCK - Immediately shock the cauliflower in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and prevent it from becoming mushy. 

DRY IT OUT - The biggest issue with using cauliflower in place of potatoes is the texture. If the cauliflower is mushy OR if you fail to dry it out after cooking, you will not have the texture needed for a decent mock potato salad. That's why you must drain the cooked cauliflower very well and dry it out. Set the cooked cauliflower in a colander over a bowl and place it uncovered in the refrigerator for around 4 hours or (even better) overnight. This is something I do for regular potato salad, as well. It’s an incredibly easy step that uses the arid environment of the fridge to help dry out your cauliflower (or potatoes) and create the best texture for the salad.

TOSS - Toss the chilled, refrigerator-dried cauliflower with the chopped hard boiled eggs, celery, and chives or green onion (and chopped red onion if using). In a separate small bowl blend the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and (if using) dill or sweet relish. Toss the cauliflower mix with the mayo dressing. Taste and add more mayo, salt, and/or pepper to your liking. If desired, garnish with paprika or a peppery spice blend.

CHILL - Chill very well before serving. Once again, I suggest keeping the salad uncovered in the fridge to prevent the cauliflower from becoming mushy. Chilling is another key to helping the cauliflower remain in its potato disguise. Be sure to serve the salad cold.


Click here for the free PDF
of this recipe, and...
May you...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here

* * * *

Thanks to American University Magazine
in Washington, D.C.
for featuring us
in their Spring Issue...

To see the article online,
click here for the free magazine app

click here to read
the Cleo article and enjoy!


The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
14 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

* * *

Once Upon a Grind:
A Coffeehouse Mystery

* A Best Book of the Year
Reviewer's Pick - King's River Life

* Top Pick! ~ RT Book Reviews 
* Fresh Pick ~ Fresh Fiction 
* A Mystery Guild Selection

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

Sign up for our Coffeehouse Newsletter here.
(Recipes, contests, videos, fun info)

After you subscribe, an auto-reply will send 
you a link to several past newsletters.

Thanks for stopping by the Kitchen! 



  1. Thank you for the cool recipe. I never thought about replacing potatoes with cauliflower.

    1. Jen - Thank *you* for dropping in today! For those who aren't watching their carbs, this recipe also works great for regular potato salad. Marc and I like to use baby reds and baby Yukon Golds. (With their thin skins, we don't have to peel them, and the two colors look pretty in the salad.) We cut the baby potatoes in halves or quarters, boil them, drain them, dry them well, and toss them with basically the same dressing. (No relish in the tater salad; although, as I said in the recipe, it works wonderfully in the cauliflower salad.) Enjoy!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. I'd definitely try that Cleo--thanks for sharing the healthy choice! xo Lucy

    1. Lucy/Roberta - While it doesn't taste exactly like a true potato salad, it does come close, and it's a nice chilly, crunchy, healthful summer salad in its own right. Thanks for dropping by today. May you crunch with joy!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. This is terrific, Cleo! And I have a cauliflower just waiting to become a star salad. Thanks so much for the great recipe and the reference to my mysterious cauli buddy.


    MJ (off to share!)

    1. Mary Jane - Thank *you* for the "Master of Disguise" inspiration. It was hard to pick which hat to feature! And I love your cauliflower rice. We have a fantastic Pakistani restaurant near us here in Queen, and I've been using your cauliflower rice as a bed for their Butter Chicken. It cuts the carbs to almost nothing. Woot for good keto eats.

      Cheers and thanks again... xoxo

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. This sounds WONDERFUL!! Thank you!

  5. Those look like two very happy cats. One is sleeping off the food and the other is cleaning up before resting. I suspect they got some of the crunchy looking chicken on those plates.

  6. The salad looks good. I will have to try that sometime. But I have to say that chicken looks even better! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Can't wait to try this. Looks yummy. Exactly how I'd make my potato salad. And I've used cauliflower now in a number of "salads" - Thanks, Cleo. Also for the mention. :)

    ~ Daryl / Avery