This Old Bay Cauliflower Salad is a favorite side dish in our house. It takes the place of the usual potato and pasta salads and has everyone coming back for second and third helpings. A must make for your next gathering.
Memorial Day Weekend is quickly approaching, which means grilling season will officially commence. I say that with a smirk as the Pacific Northwest has been plagued with rain for the past week-and-a-half. Come back sunshine!!!
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to indulge in some side dishes that might be perfect for your outdoor or indoor get-togethers. Make sure to check back every day to see what might fit into your menu. You can also subscribe by email (right sidebar) and never miss a post.
Old Bay seasoning is one of our favorites around here. Originally used to flavor crab and shrimp it is now widely used and popular in many dishes. The seasoning mix includes mustard, paprika, celery salt, bay leaf, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, mace, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger. In the United States it is found in every grocery store but I’m not sure what its availability is in other countries. I do know they have it in Canada.
I decided to make a cauliflower salad, something similar to a potato salad, but sans the potatoes. This is low-carb and a perfect side to accompany any grilled food you might be serving this summer.
Cauliflower is low in fat, and carbohydrates but high in dietary fiber, folate, water, and vitamin C. Cauliflower contains several phytochemicals, common in the cabbage family, that may be beneficial to human health. It has great nutritional density and is something I love to serve in many ways; roasted, sometimes as a substitute for shrimp, in soup and on my pizza.
For this recipe you are going to blanch the cauliflower in order to soften it a bit. You’ll want to cut the cauliflower into 3″ pieces as you see above. once it was blanched I broke it into smaller pieces with my hands and then gave it a rough chop with a knife.
After the salad was mixed together I felt it needed salt, my husband disagreed. So, I did not add salt to the recipe and is something you will have to decide for yourself.
Old Bay Cauliflower Salad
- 2 heads cauliflower
- 4 large celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut heads of cauliflower into 3" pieces (as seen in the picture above). Have a large bowl of ice water ready as well as a paper-towel lined (many layers) baking sheet. Working in batches, blanch the cauliflower in the hot water, each batch for 3-4 minutes. Remove and immediately place in the ice water to stop the cooking process. Let sit in water for a few minutes and remove to the paper-towel lined baking sheet (you will need to continue to add ice to keep water cold for the other batches). Repeat process with the rest of the cauliflower.
- When all cauliflower is done, break into smaller pieces with your hands (stems too) and give a rough chop with a knife. Here is the most important part, you will want your cauliflower to be really, really dry before you mix it with the mayo. Let it sit for a while in a single layer on a dry tray. Not doing this will result in a runny and diluted salad.
- Mix together mayonnaise, Old Bay, red pepper flakes and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl (you can do this up to a day ahead).
- In a large bowl add blanched cauliflower, celery, peas and red onion. Mix with the mayo-Old Bay mixture and salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least four hours before serving or overnight.
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Anne Foster Coleman says
This is beautiful and brilliant! I’m really missing potato salad and this is perfect.
Joan Callaway says
Have you ever substituted Greek yogurt for some or all of mayo?
As soon as I saw 2 cups of mayo…I was turned off…I think I will try yogurt as well…I just don’t like mouthfuls of mayo anymore…even my potato salad is with EVOO now…
This makes a huge salad, you will hardly get a mouthful of mayo.
Cass at That Old House says
We love cauliflower in all its forms, but I’ve never tried a recipe for salad, like this one.
It goes on the list.
I love cauliflower and this looks interesting enough to give it a try. Thanks, Cathy.
This sounds divine AND a nice alternative to potato salad.
On my “to make” list!
This is a new one to me and I am looking forward to being able to try this one at our next bbq. YUM thank you!
Margot C says
That looks so great! I LOVE cauliflower and I LOVE Old Bay (which I use on chicken all of the time); I pinned!
Needful Things says
What a brilliant idea – cauliflowers instead of potatoes. Love it!
I have just discovered how wonderful cauliflower can be (always turned my nose up at it in veggie trays). I’m in the Midwest and I think that weather moved this way…a balmy 42 and rainy here…can’t wait for the sun and a picnic to make this!
I made this yesterday and it was a hit. My husband has diabetes and he missed having potato salad and this was fantastic. .. . .
Is it possible to use thawed frozen cauliflower for this? I dont’ have a lot of time for food prep during the week and blanching cauliflower in batches sounds like a long and tedious process….
Hmmm, I think it will be mushy. But I really don’t know for sure.
Or just roast it after chopping it all up small – it would only take 10 minutes; or do it in a big fry pan in a couple of batches without the water.
Cherie Swatek Fedder says
I was thinking of microwaving it . It would certainly cut back on it being too watery. Just have to really watch your time so you don’t over cook it.
Anne from Olympia says
I made this yesterday and it was so delicious. My husband doesn’t like cauliflower or peas at all so he wouldn’t even try it. His loss big time. More for me! I did sub nonfat greek yogurt for 1/4 of the mayonnaise but I wouldn’t add any more than that. I love the silky lemony rich flavor of mayo but wanted to lighten it up a bit for the calories. Next time I’ll go for the gusto and use all mayo. Grew up with Old Bay in Virginia. Nice that it has been discovered nationwide. Thanks, Cathy for another great recipe.
that’s alot of mayo,,,,did anyone do the calories on this,,,I think I might try substituting some mayo for yogurt!!
You can, it won’t taste as good. You have to take into account this serves 12 people, possibly even 14. One person is not eating that much.
I just have to laugh when I read the “shocked” comments of people complaining about the mayo. YIKES! You would think they were eating the whole 2 cups all by themselves. I see this on all food sites. If a recipe has some high caloric ingredient, they wouldn’t dare go near it. I am new to your site and this was delicious! I will be making many more of your recipes. Thanks so much! 🙂
Yes, it’s true and I know exactly what you mean. This recipe makes a lot of salad, anything less than 2 cups of mayo would leave it dry.
I was thinking about adding extra mayo 🙂
Brad you need to watch that kind of crazy talk. Your going to have people passing out. ?
This was fantastic! I used wasabi mayo for an added kick and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Yum! Just made this today. I did a little taste test and it is delicious. Love all the flavors especially the Old Bay. Actually plan to serve it tomorrow night with grilled pork loin.
Krista Branum says
Would like to know the calorie count per serving if possible
Mark F. says
Why does the cauliflower need to be cooked? Other than making it less crunchy does it do anything?
Not really cooked, only blanched, as explained. This softens it slightly and removes some of the taste. Much nicer to eat this way…in fact I can’t imagine eating it any other way.
Sylvia Pesek says
If you have a salad spinner, then perhaps taking the cauliflower for a spin after its ice water plunge might reduce the amount of paper towels needed!
I can’t wait to try this … I love cauliflower and have been trying to think of new uses. This fills the bill (and mouth!) 😉
Melissa Sperka says
Cathy this looks delicious I must try it! Pinning!
Jeff iskierka says
just whipped this up for dinner at my daughters house tonight. Exactly as you say but only blanched the califlower. Loving it already. Can’t wait until the onion cones out after sitting. Tomorrow will be the best. Thanks for sharing.
Amazing!! I made for dinner tonight. We didn’t have peas, nor do we like so much mayonnaise. I used half May and half sour cream (Greek yogurt would have been good as well) and added pickle juice (just like I would for potato salad. Delish!
I just made this as I was in Trader Joe’s this morning and saw a bag of Rice Cauliflower & added sugar snapped peas that I shelled. Looks good. Think I may have added too much salt. Will see how it tastes later. Found this recipe in our local paper
Made this as written to take to a golf outing and cookout. It is delicious! Another favorite from the Noble Pig!!! Does not need salt and the amount of mayo was perfect….Thanks Cathy!!!
Tasted delicious! Thank you! I used low fat cottage cheese instead of mayo as its higher in protein! I also started playing around with different seasoning -I tried one batch with a little curry powder and it was yummy! Great recipe thanks!
Virginia Florida says
I am going to leave out peas and add bacon for low carb less than 20 per day plan of eating. This looks so yummy.
Joanne C says
Love your idea Virginia! I was wondering what I could substitute for the peas!
Where do you find old bay seasoning?
It’s available in the spice aisle or by the meat and fish counter at the grocery store. Pretty much available anywhere.
Lynnwood Bohm says
Cauliflower salad was soooo delicious!!!!! The best
Tastes my friends and now I need to go home and make it.
Linda McKenzie says
What is Old Bay Seasoning, I live in Australia. Is there anything I can use to substitute ?
This sounds delicious, but was wondering if I could divide it in half. Thinking of using an electric pressure cooker for 0 minutes with a quick release instead of blanching to eliminate having to dry the cauliflower. It should still have a crunch.
This is follow-up on my previous comment re: dividing the recipe in half. I did, and can say I am very pleased with the results. It was so delicious, I kept on “tasting” it and had to use a smaller bowl than anticipated by the time I finished :). What a wonderful recipe for those who love potato salad but have to limit their intake of potatoes etc. I didn’t have frozen peas so I left that out along with the chopped celery. I love to test food, so I used my electric pressure cooker to “blanch” the cauliflower. It came out perfect for the salad. However, I did have to dry it anyway, since I shocked it in ice water to stop the cooking. I will be using this recipe quite often-it’s so healthy
Can’t wait to try. Why can’t you steam the cauliflower?
It will be mush and blanching halts the cooking process.
Carolyn Hunt says
What is the carb count? I have made this several times since finding the recipe and I beg to differ on the serving size. It pretty much only serves me, I love it. I have cut the recipe in half and it was just as good only not enough.
Michael Leberman says
I’ve been making Old Bay potato salad, for years. It usually has vinegar and sugar in the sauce. I use vinegar and agave nectar. Why did you choose to leave those ingredients out of your recipe. I was taught that a great salad should hit all of your taste buds, i.e.: sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. I’ll try it your way this time, but the next batch I’m going to experiment a little.
Doris Jacoby says
My husband doesn’t eat mayo. Could sour cream or yogurt be substituted?
It’s a matter of taste. Mayo will always taste better. Sour cream or yogurt might be watery. You’ll just have to play it and see if you can make it to his liking.
randi bedford says
I made this twice….once just as your recipe says and it was delicious…Second time 1 cup mayo and 1 cup yoghurt, wasn’t bad but not as good….You hardly get any mayo and I know the idea of 2 cups sounds like a lot but ladies it was just a nice coat. I’ll be going back to original recipe!S!!
Thank you for letting us know.
My husband makes our mayonnaise using the immersion blender. I prefer shallot to red onion. Added celery seed and Penzy’s Singapore Seasoning. The last time I made it I roasted the cauliflower. This my go to recipe when we have company over a couple of days. We all love it. Thanks so much for sharing!
I need to try that seasoning.
I use it for salad dressing and roasted veggies and chicken, too. It’s very lemony tasting.
Took this salad to an after funeral luncheon today. It was a hit. Several requests for the recipe. Thanks for this recipe!
Mary Keegan says
I just made this recipe, it is so delicious! Who would guess that a cauliflower recipe could be so full of flavor, I know it will be a favorite from now on.
Just made this!! Took a few snitches and it is seriously amazing. I don’t think I’ll be able to wait 4 hours or overnight to eat some!! Thanks for recipe!
How do you think this dressing would taste for the ever popular broccoli cauliflower salad?
I would give it a try and see if you like it.
Can you explain the blanching versus just fresh cauliflower?
Blanching cooks the cauliflower slightly. It is briefly boiled and plunged into ice water to stop the cooking. You would not just want to use fresh cauliflower as it would be hard.