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Cauliflower Salad: the mouthwatering side dish that goes with just about everything

Total time: 30 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist

Homemade loaded cauliflower salad is a fast, simple, delicious side dish you can throw together in no time. It's made with lightly steamed, tender cauliflower that's mixed with cheese, bacon, olives, bell peppers, and herbs and tossed with a tangy, creamy dressing.

Cauliflower salad is hearty, savory, and easy to customize. Add extra veggies for more crunch, or try roasting the cauliflower before mixing it into your salad. Whatever you choose to do, loaded cauliflower salad is a mouthwateringly tasty side dish that you can serve for any occasion – parties, potlucks, or a midweek dinner, you name it!


How to Cut Cauliflower

It's easy to cut cauliflower. All you need to do is remove the leaves from the base, then take a sharp knife and slice the cauliflower in half. Cut the core out, then chop the cauliflower into smaller florets – you can pull them apart by hand, too.

How to Make Cauliflower Salad

This tender-crisp, ultra-flavorful cauliflower salad starts with lightly steaming the cauliflower. Start by boiling 1/4 cup of water in a large pan. Add the chopped cauliflower, then steam the florets with the lid on for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Drain the cauliflower and set aside to cool.

While the cauliflower is cooking, sauté the bacon until crisp. Drain off the extra fat by setting the bacon on a paper towel, then chop the bacon into small pieces. Put mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the cauliflower to the bowl, and toss well to coat. Fold in chopped bacon, cheese, bell peppers, olives and herbs, and enjoy!

Tips for Making Loaded Cauliflower Salad

Use fresh or frozen cauliflower for your salad.

For best results, prepare your cauliflower salad just before serving it.

You can prepare the dressing up to two days ahead of time.

Cauliflower Salad Variations

For a vegetarian-friendly cauliflower salad, leave out the bacon or use a plant-based alternative.

Spice up your salad with some chopped jalapeños or fresh Thai chilies.

Add your favorite fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, cilantro, or parsley. Sprinkle in dried Italian herbs or Lebanese seven-spice mix for a tasty alternative. Old Bay, fajita seasoning, Creole seasoning, and ranch flavor are delicious alternatives.

For a crunchier salad, add chopped red onion, or celery.

For extra flavor, use roasted cauliflower instead of steamed.

Craving healthy cauliflower salad? Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and light mayo instead of full-fat.

What to Serve with Raw Cauliflower Salad

Cauliflower salad is a fabulous side dish with just about anything! Serve it with grilled steak, pot roast, vegetarian meatloaf, or roast chicken. It's an excellent side with sheet pan meals but works just as well with hearty soups like broccoli cheddar or potato leek.

You can even use cauliflower salad as a crunchy, delicious topping on burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and subs!

How to Store Cauliflower Salad

Keep your cauliflower salad fresh by storing it in an airtight container in the fridge. It'll last up to 4 days.

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large cauliflower, cut into florets
1 head
6 slices
Sour cream
1/2 cup
1/4 cup
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp
Garlic powder
1/2 tsp
salt and pepper to taste
cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups
herbs, finely chopped
1/4 cup
kalamata olives
Green olives
cooked bell peppers, chopped


Boil ¼ cup water in a large skillet. Add the cauliflower, place the lid on the skillet, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender.

Drain the cauliflower and set aside to cool.

Cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel, then roughly chop.

Put mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper into a bowl.

Whisk to combine the dressing. Put the cauliflower in the bowl. Toss to coat.

Fold in chopped bacon, cheese, bell peppers, herbs and olives, then serve warm or at room temperature.

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