Cauliflower “Potato” Salad

No potatoes in this picnic favorite!

So, it is Derby day in Louisville and it’s our fifth grandson’s 1st birthday (He was born on Derby Day last year). We are in Austin helping to celebrate and if you are looking for something yummy to make today for a party, try out this twist on a picnic favorite.

How many cookouts, bbq, birthday parties, outdoor events will you be invited to this summer? Probably quite a few and if you want to please those people who are low-carbing, or people who want to cut a few calories, or people who are adventurous to try something new, try this new take on an old favorite.

I’ve made potato salad the same way all my life. I need to preface that by saying I use to make it like my grandmother and then I sometimes made it like my mother. One (my grandmother) mashed her potatoes for the potato salad because that’s the way my grandfather liked it and my mother always chunked her potatoes and left them in chunks. I didn’t want to favor one of their methods over the other so I would give the chunked potatoes a few quick mashes and left the rest alone and then continued with my recipe so I had a little bit of them both in the way I made my potato salad.

How many different kinds of potato salad could there be? There’s Hot German potato salad, a mayonnaise based, mustard based, baked potato salad and I’m sure about a hundred different ingredients people put in their’s.

But, this potato salad isn’t potato based at all. Cauliflower was substituted for the potatoes along with a couple of parsnips. I’ve done cauliflower all sorts of different ways to be disguised as potatoes and that got me thinking one day why not just substitute that vegetable for the potatoes in a creamy potato salad to go with some pulled pork my husband was smoking for dinner.

This potato salad was soooo good. And, I did it just like my mother/grandmother use to do. After cooking the cauliflower and parsnips I took my potato masher and mashed 2-3 times after draining off all the liquid then I simply added in all my usual potato salad ingredients–boiled eggs, celery, mayonnaise, mustard, onion, dill relish and a jalapeño.

I’ve decided the next time I make this I will add some cilantro. You can add whatever you normally add to your potato salad.

So, I’m giving you the amounts of what I used but you may need more mayo or mustard according to whether you like it more mustardy or mayonaissey. I took this to my craft circle a couple of weeks ago and the ladies in my group that ate it kept saying “this taste just like potato salad”.


I only used three eggs; I think 4 or more would be even better.


Put all the chopped ingredients in a bowl and set aside.


Cook the cauliflower and parsnips until fork tender.


Stir the chopped ingredients into the salad and stir in the mayonnaise/mustard mixture.


Put salad into serving bowl and sprinkle with paprika.


Cauliflower "Potato" Salad
All the taste of a good potato salad but no potatoes.
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  1. 1 large head cauliflower, cut into flowerets
  2. 2-3 parsnips, peeled cut in 2" chunks
  3. 1/2 c. onion, chopped finely
  4. 3-4 ribs of celery, chopped small (about 1+ cups)
  5. 1/3 c. dill or sweet relish, drained
  6. 3-4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  7. 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  8. 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  9. 2-3 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  10. 2-3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  11. pinch of sugar
  12. salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put the cauliflower and parsnips in a medium sized pot and bring to boil and cook until fork tender.
  2. Chop up the onion, celery and jalapeño and put in a mixing bowl. Add in the relish, boiled eggs, sugar (optional), salt and pepper. Toss lightly.
  3. Mix the mayonnaise and mustards together. (If you want more mustard just adjust the amounts.
  4. After the cauliflower and parsnips have cooked, drain very well in a colander. Using a potato masher, mash 3-4 times and leave the rest of the vegetables to break up while mixing together.
  5. Mix the cauliflower/parsnip, the mayonnaise mixture and the chopped celery/onion mixture together. You may need to add more mayonnaise or mustard to get the creaminess you desire.
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  • Reply
    San West
    May 4, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Sounds good! Will have to try. BTW, the Walnut pie was amazing! Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 5, 2015 at 6:24 am

      Hi San, Glad you liked the “Derby” pie. It has been a favorite of our family since we lived in Louisville back in the 70’s. I took that “potato salad” to craft circle last week and the 7 ladies that tasted it could not believe it was not the real thing.

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