Best Cauliflower Salad | Nutrition Stripped
Eat Well Apr. 24. 2018

The Best Cauliflower Salad

Apr. 24. 2018
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel 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 oh yeah, 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.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of mayo, everything from the texture to the flavor is offputting to me and I’ve always come across this in conversation with other foodie friends — mayo seems to be a divisive food, you either love it or it’s totally not your jam. 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).

Why single out cauliflower? A couple reasons why we’re using cauliflower solo in this recipe is because it lasts longer in the fridge when you make this for the week ahead, i.e. more meal prep friendly. Also, like broccoli, cauliflower is in the cruciferous vegetable family and both of these vegetables have incredible health benefits and nutrients you should know about. I have a hunch, the best cauliflower salad will be a crowd pleaser to bring to your next party, spring or summer picnic, and to share with friends.


The power of cauliflower:

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.

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 gluconasturtiian. 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 the 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.

Making It?

When you make this Best Cauliflower Salad recipe, I want to see it! Tag us on Instagram @nutritionstripped #nutritionstripped and submit your own photos in the comment section below, just scroll down to the right, to have your photo featured on the blog. Happy cooking!

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