I grew up on macaroni salad. It was part of the trifecta of summer — macaroni salad, tomato sandwiches, and strawberry shortcake. We had it for dinner at least twice a week, we had it for every summer picnic, barbecue, and holiday — and it was all fine with me because I loved the stuff.
And my mother’s macaroni salad was the fiber that legends are made of. Creamy, sweet, tangy, crunchy perfection with the bite from an occasional piece of onion and the buttery bitterness of green olives. No matter how big the bowl was she didn’t experience leftovers for long.
Father’s day I wanted to make macaroni salad. Not because it is something my husband loves (he definitely does not) but because it is a happy memory for me, tradition, and my son-in-law loves it enough to make him a blood relative. I wanted to make it but, at the same time, I didn’t want to make it because I wasn’t sure I could keep my spoon out of the bowl and that stuff has carbs, y’all. Lots of ’em.
I wondered if cauliflower would work. I mean, it works for everything else, right?
I know. I felt really bad that I was springing cauliflower on ya again. I can hear it now, “Oh, lowcarb-ology? It’s a cauliflower blog…”
I promise I have other stuff that does not contain cauliflower and I even have a killer cheesecake but I needed this macaroni salad. I needed it, bad.
I steamed some cauliflower until it as firm but very tender and then I took a spoonful of all the ingredients I was prepping for the real macaroni salad. I mixed it up and tasted it — eh. It was OK. I put it in the refrigerator and finished up what I was doing.
The next day I got it out when everyone got to the house. I wasn’t really thinking about it and took a taste…
I had to check to make sure I had taken a bite of the cauliflower mixture and not the real stuff. The cauliflower had soaked up the flavor from the mayonnaise mixture just like the macaroni does. The texture wasn’t quite right but the flavor?
I thought maybe my taste buds were lying to me so I had my friend taste it. She loves my macaroni salad so much that she takes leftovers home for her breakfast. Really.
I was sure that she would tell me I was nuts but her eyes got big, and she said, “OMG!”
Only it wasn’t quite like that because she still had the fork in her mouth. Apparently I wasn’t wrong about the flavor. It really is awesome.
Try it for yourself.
- 1 cup raw cauliflower broken into very small pieces
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar free Mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar optional
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- Stevia or other sweetener to taste
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons of thinly sliced celery
- 1 tablespoon of bell pepper
- 2 teaspoons of chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon of grated carrot
- 3 tablespoons salad olives
Steam cauliflower until very tender but not mushy..
Combine mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sweetener and mix well.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
Put cauliflower, celery, carrot, onion, peppers, and olives in a bowl.
Pour mayonnaise mixture over and combine gently.
Chill overnight or longer.
Add a little more dressing if necessary before serving.
It is imperative that this sits overnight or longer in order for the flavor to develop.