With the flavors of chipotle, lime, and cilantro this Southwestern Cauliflower Salad Recipe will be one of the best things you have ever eaten. You won't miss real potato salad once you try my Spicy Cauliflower Potato Salad. This easy recipe is low carb, keto, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and a Trim Healthy Mama S. It is also paleo and Whole30 friendly!
This Southwest Cauliflower Potato Salad Recipe seriously was one of the best things I've ever eaten. If I didn't have other people I needed to feed I really would've stood barefoot in my kitchen and eaten the entire bowl. I think it was even better than any potato salad recipe I've tried.
My Spicy Cauliflower Salad Recipe is inspired by one of my favorite potato salad recipes ever. Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Potato Salad. I've never been to Mesa Grill and I don't even own the cookbook this recipe appears in. Many, many years ago I was a nanny for about a year. The family I nannied for were foodies in the process of opening a restaurant the year I worked for them. They had a large assortment of cookbooks I used to peruse and jot down intriguing recipes. This is one I've made ever since.
I've made a bunch of tweaks to appeal to my family's taste buds and subbed steamed cauliflower for the potatoes to lower the carbs but the flavors of chipotle, lime, and cilantro still stand out.
Cooked Cauliflower or Raw Cauliflower
I chose to use cooked cauliflower in this cauliflower salad to better mimic the texture of cooked potatoes in a potato salad. But if you like the crunch of raw cauliflower you can definitely use that instead and make a raw keto cauliflower salad!
Either method will work for my spicy cauliflower potato salad. You can even shred the cauliflower stalks and turn this into a keto cauliflower slaw.
How To Make Cauliflower Potato Salad
Making this cauliflower potato salad is a breeze and only takes two easy steps! Once you bite into the hearty goodness, you’ll be a fan for life. Let’s get started! I make this all the time and normally use fresh garlic and cilantro but I admit to cheating a bit this past time by using jarred minced garlic and frozen chopped cilantro. But ya know what? It still tasted amazing! Sometimes little shortcuts are a good choice.
First Step: Put the cauliflower in a large pot and about ½ inch of boiling water in the bottom. Steam the cauliflower for 6 minutes. Drain and let the cauliflower cool to room temperature.
Second Step: Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream (if using), mustard, lime juice, garlic, chipotle puree, cilantro, and salt in a large bowl. Add the peppers and onions.
Third Step: Add in the cauliflower. Stir to combine. Serve at room temperature or cool down in the fridge before serving.
Can you believe it? That is genuinely all you need to do to make this incredible southwest cauliflower salad.
How to make Chipotle Puree
Having chipotle puree in my freezer is a necessity. It takes me about a year to use the 7 oz of puree you get from one small can but when I want a little heat and a little smoke it's perfect. I stir a bit into mayo quite often to make a quick chipotle mayo for lettuce wraps and sandwiches. It is an easy way to dress up a pantry staple. To make a delicious chipotle sauce simple mix up the dressing ingredients for this cauliflower salad recipe and use it however you like!
Is Cauliflower Potato Salad healthy?
Not only is this low carb potato salad low carb, but it’s also full of tasty nutrients too. I enjoy eating foods that taste good...who doesn’t? But it’s even better when it tastes great, and it also happens to be good for you too. Here is a breakdown of the nutrients in some of the ingredients.
- Cauliflower - The cauliflower is the star of the show for many reasons! There are lots of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K in cauliflower. It’s one of the various reasons to add it to your diet.
- Garlic - We all know that garlic can take a boring meal and turn it into something extraordinary with its incredible flavor. But it also has fiber, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and selenium too.
- Cilantro - Many of us has been using cilantro to add some flavor and color to our dishes for a long time. But it’s so much more than that! Cilantro has vitamin K, folate, niacin, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, and more! Keep on eating your cilantro. 🙂
- Onions - One of the best ingredients used to add flavor to many recipes is onions. Not only do they taste great, but they also give you a boost of folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and folate too.
- Sweet Pepper - While sweet peppers add a natural sweetness to this cauliflower potato salad, they also give you some much-needed nutrients as well—Vitamin K, potassium, vitamin B6, folate, thiamin, vitamin C, and riboflavin.
I have just given you a basic rundown of the nutrients you’ll find in this southwest cauliflower salad. This is a great side dish to give your family, and you can feel good about giving them something healthy.
Cauliflower vs Potatoes
Is cauliflower healthier for you than potatoes? I think so. One cup of chopped cauliflower has 5 grams of carbs. One cup of diced potatoes has 26 grams of carbs. If you are watching your carbs while on a keto or low carb diet or doing Trim Healthy Mama than cauliflower is a better choice than potatoes. I'm not going to lie. I have very sensitive taste buds. If you put mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower in front of me I know which is which. But I have come to enjoy using cauliflower in place of potatoes in many recipes like this cauliflower potato salad.
Cauliflower Potato Salad Variations
There are several ingredients that can be added or swapped in this incredible potato salad recipe. Let’s take a look:
- Bacon - Cook and crumble some bacon and toss into the salad when you are combining all the other ingredients. Bacon will give you some added protein and add some salty flavor to it too.
- Cheese - Shred some cheddar, mozzarella, or Colby jack cheese and toss into the low carb potato salad. This will give you a loaded potato salad, and everyone will rave about it.
- Spicy Mustard - If you like a little bit of heat and spice, exchange the Dijon mustard for spicy instead. It’s a fun and flavorful way to add even more depth to the way it tastes.
- Celery - Adding some chopped celery will give you a nice crunch with every bite. Just add 1 or 2 stalks of celery and mix it in.
- Green Onions - Add as much green onion as you like. Sprinkle it on top of the potato salad before serving. It’s so yummy!
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- 1 large head of cauliflower approx. 2 pounds, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup mayo
- ¼ cup sour cream (optional)
- 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ tablespoon chipotle pepper puree ***
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
- ½ medium onion chopped
- ½ sweet pepper chopped
- Steam the cauliflower for 6 minutes in a large covered pot with about ½ inch of boiling water in the bottom. Drain and cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, stir together the mayo, sour cream (if using), mustard, lime juice, garlic, chipotle puree, and salt. Stir in the cilantro, onion, pepper, and cooked cauliflower. Serve at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator.
Cauliflower Potato Recipes:
Keto Mashed Cauliflower with Cream Cheese & Asiago
Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole
Best Mashed Cauliflower without Dairy
Shepherd's Pie Recipe with Cauliflower Topping
Green Chile Cauliflower Casserole
Originally Published June 20, 2017. Revised and Republished May 30, 2020.
I was skeptical as I made it, but the end result was absolutely delicious. And, it was even better over the next several days. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
This sounds amazing. Question... I've got a barbacoa recipe that uses a couple of peppers in adobo sauce... so i freeze the extra peppers from a can... but it doesn't really use the sauce (and I always feel badly throwing it out).... Now I'm wondering if that leftover sauce would work in place of the chipolte puree above?
Yes, I think so. The sauce still has a strong flavor without the pureed peppers.
What is the serving size?
1/8th of the recipe. Approximately 2/3 cup.
Robin Abernethy says
What could you use in place of cilantro? It ruins a dish for me (tastes like soap to me). Otherwise, sounds delicious!
You can just leave it out or sub parsley or basil.
What a yummy way to enjoy cauliflower!
This is my new favorite cauliflower dish!!! WOW! Amazing! Thanks for sharing!!!
Is there another seasoning you could recommend if you don't want to use the chipotle?
I was out of chipotle recently and subbed in tomato paste. It worked pretty well but this dish gets much of its flavor from the chipotle puree. I do recommend trying it at least once.
WOW thank your for the healthy recipe. I was looking for a low carb salad recipe and it is even better with the all the health benefits 😀
Sandra Shaffer says
Chipotle is a wonderful addition to this cauliflower salad! This will be a great side dish to share at a potluck. Pinning and bookmarking your recipe so I can make it this weekend.
Patty in CO says
If you used low fat mayo or greek yogurt instead of the full fat mayo, would this qualify as a fuel pull for THM?
You would have to check the nutrition facts but I think it could.