The Low-Carb Swap For Classic Potato Salad

Where would barbecues, potlucks, and cookouts be without potato salad? In a far less tasty place, that's for sure. This classic dish featuring boiled potatoes tossed in a tasty, often mayo-based dressing and jazzed up with flavorings such as Dijon mustard, fresh dill, and even green beans is an all-time favorite for many and it's not hard to understand why. The dish seems to go just as well with grilled salmon as it does with a greasy burger, making it an excellent choice for an afternoon around the grill where many different choices are being served.

Potatoes are an inherently neutral-tasting, almost infinitely adaptable starch so it's not surprising that potato salad comes in as many varieties as there are palates. But what all variations have in common is the base of chunked, boiled potatoes — or do they? This Cauliflower Potato Salad from Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye swaps the potatoes for an option that will go over well with guests following a low carb diet.

This 'potato' salad contains no tubers at all

If you're a fan of eating low carb or plan to serve guests who are, potato salad is usually a no-go. After all, what vegetable could be carbier than this starchy tuber? That's where Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye's Cauliflower Potato Salad comes in: A low-carb option that's got all the fixings of the potato salads you know and love — sans the potatoes.

"I think it compares really well to the genuine, potato-containing salad," Rye told Tasting Table. "The texture of the cauliflower is slightly different to that of potato, but it carries the [flavor] really well and it's super tasty."

Calling for chunks of steamed cauliflower that are tossed with a mayo, lemon juice, and mustard dressing once cooled, the recipe includes such familiar potato salad add-ins as fresh herbs, chopped onion, and diced hard-boiled eggs – so it's no wonder it mimics potato salad so well. 

But is it truly a healthier option?

Cauliflower is much lower in carbs than potatoes

If your aim is low carb, the crucifer certainly fits the bill. Carbohydrates are the main component of potatoes, notes Healthline, with about 20 grams per 100 gram serving of cooked potatoes. Cauliflower, on the other hand, can mimic the taste and texture of a potato in dishes such as mashed cauliflower and cauliflower fritters but contains just a fraction of the carbs, clocking in at only 4.1 grams per 100 grams of cauliflower (via Nutritionix). Therefore, the vegetable is a great choice for eaters on diets that lean keto or paleo, which tend to drastically reduce the dietary intake of certain types of carbohydrates.

So if you're heading to an event where some carb-avoidant friends will be dining, it's a good idea to tuck a container of Jennine Rye's Cauliflower Potato Salad into your cooler.

"I think this can easily take the place of normal potato salad in a whole host of different settings," she said. "It tastes really great with simple grilled meats like chicken thighs or turkey breast, and a salad or some green vegetables. It would be a good dish to bring along to a bring-and-share event, or for a barbecue side or as a picnic dish."