Best Cauliflower Salad | Nutrition Stripped
Eat Well Apr. 12. 2021

The Best Cauliflower Salad

Apr. 12. 2021
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

This is not your average vegetable slaw or salad recipe made with heaps of mayo — this is the best cauliflower salad.

I’m from the midwest and we grew up on cauliflower and broccoli salad — my mom would make it pretty close to the traditional recipe using lots of mayo, sugar (I know, it sounds super weird typing it out too), garlic, cheese, dried cranberries or raisins, lots of red onion, and broccoli.

I loved it and would eat it by the spoonful. Fast forward to adulthood and my taste preferences have changed coupled with my expertise in nutrition so I’ve come up with a way to enjoy the concept of this salad but I put a spin on it using just cauliflower and a mayo-free dressing.

The best way to create a dressing sans mayo is to use a vinegar-based dressing made with olive oil and apple cider vinegar (sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar will do just fine, too).

I have a hunch that after trying this, you’ll find that this is the best cauliflower salad will be a crowd-pleaser to bring to your next party, spring or summer picnic, and to share with friends.

Creating a Foundational Five Nourish Meal Using the Best Cauliflower Salad

A Foundational Five Nourish Meal is any meal that contains all 5 elements within our Foundational Five system: non-starchy carbohydrates, starchy carbohydrates, healthy fat, protein, and the Flavor Factor.

If you’re not familiar with our Foundational Five system yet, you can download my free guide where I share more about it!

The Foundational Five supports you in nourishing your physical body so you can learn what to eat, which is the first step in mindful eating. The remainder is knowing how to eat and to experience your food positively.

By including these 5 elements in your meal, you’re supporting your physical body on a cellular level, ensuring you’re consuming the nutrients you need to have a sharp focus, calm digestion, lasting energy, sound sleep, and vibrant long-term health.

Here’s how you can incorporate this Cauliflower Salad into a Foundational Five Nourish Meal:

1 • Non-starchy Carbohydrates

  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Red onion

2 • Starchy or Sugary Carbohydrates

  • Raisins

3 • Healthy Fat

  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds

4 • Protein

5 • Flavor Factor

  • Raw apple cider vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon zest

Cauliflower Benefits

Cauliflower has tremendous compounds involved in cancer protection that also help with anti-inflammation, cardiovascular benefits, digestive health (sulforaphane found in cauliflower helps protect the digestive lining and prevents bacterial overgrowth such as H. pylori.), and detoxification support (phase I and phase II).

Although cauliflower hasn’t been individually studied, diets containing cauliflower and other members cruciferous vegetable family have been studied most in relation to cancer protection. As with most fruits and vegetables, broccoli contains great amounts of fiber which help our digestive system moving, keeps us fuller for a longer period of time, and releases a steady flow of energy into our bodies. That’s why this is the best cauliflower salad — it’s both delicious and nutritious!

DIM (diindolylmethane):

DIM (diindolylmethane) is a phytonutrient and plant indole found in most cruciferous vegetables, most notably studied with cancer prevention and anti-estrogenic properties for prostate, ovarian, cervical, and breast cancers.


Glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin, and gluconasturtiin. Mainly glucobrassicin–> which converts into isothyocinate–> which converts into indole-3-carbinol (a.k.a. I3C) which is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound (fancy process for saying it helps with chronic inflammatory disease, cardiovascular disease, and oxidative stress)

The Recipe

Serves 6



1 head of cauliflower, finely grated (or about 2 cups)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 stalk of celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup hemp seeds 

1 tablespoon diced fresh chives

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch of cayenne powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, adjust to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, adjust to taste

1 tablespoon lemon zest


Step 1

Using a food processor or a high-speed blender on the pulse setting, add the chopped cauliflower to the machine and pulse until the cauliflower is completely grated and a fine texture has formed, similar to cauliflower rice. Set aside.

Step 2

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, and vinegar. In a large mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients, pour the dressing from the small mixing bowl, and add the grated cauliflower. All the recipe ingredients are now in this large mixing bowl to toss and evenly coat. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Step 3

Serve chilled or at room temperature as a salad, a side dish, or as an entree by adding a protein of your choice. Store all leftovers in an airtight glass container for up to 1 week.

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