Bacon Cauliflower “Potato” Salad {keto, paleo, Whole30}

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If you are looking for a delicious, cold side dish to enjoy this summer, make this bacon cauliflower “potato” salad!

Instead of using actual potatoes, this recipe uses cooked cauliflower instead!

You may have known that cauliflower is a good rice substitute like when you are making chicken stir-fry, but did you also know it makes for a good potato substitute?

It’s true!

You can find recipes for mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes!

So why not make a healthy, low carb cauliflower salad for a delicious potato salad replacement this summer!

This recipe is the perfect summer recipe for picnics, grill outs, and backyard pool parties!

But you might be thinking “wait just a minute! Are you saying I should skip potatoes? But this recipe has bacon in it?”

That’s right!

And I dare say it’s a healthy trade!

Let’s discuss why potatoes may not be as healthy for you as you might have thought.

And why bacon may not be as bad for you as you might have thought!

hand holding spoon as it dips into a white bowl of "potato" salad

Why Trade Potatoes with Cauliflower

So you might be wondering to yourself, why bother trading the potatoes with cauliflower?

Aren’t potatoes healthy for you?

I mean, they are a whole food and they aren’t processed, so why avoid them?

I will applaud potatoes on the basis that they are not processed and are a much healthier option than highly processed, boxed foods.

However, potatoes do have a major disadvantage when compared to cauliflower.

And it’s a pretty important one too!

Potatoes have a much higher glycemic load than cauliflower.

If you have never heard of this term before, let’s discuss!

Potatoes Have a High Glycemic Load

The biggest strike against potatoes in my book is their high glycemic load.

If you haven’t heard of this glycemic load or heard of the glycemic index before, they are meant to be an indicator of how a certain food will impact your blood sugar.

I could launch into an hour long lecture on blood sugar and why you want to avoid spiking your blood sugar, but for the sake of staying on course and getting to our recipe on how to make bacon cauliflower “potato” salad, please check out this podcast by Dr. Mark Hyman if you want to hear more about the dangers of blood sugar spikes!

Now the glycemic index has some pitfalls to it and most foods have a range that they fall in and it is not a hard and fast number.

So while it isn’t perfect, the GI of a food can still be used for a general sense of what your blood sugar will do from eating certain foods.

So what does all this mean for potatoes?

Get this, the GI of straight glucose is 100.

Table sugar lands somewhere near 60.

And where do potatoes fall on the scale?

Potatoes average in the 80’s!

And it’s glycemic load is around 22.

That places the average spud above table sugar when it comes to your blood sugar.


Cauliflower on the other hand has a glycemic index around 10 and a glycemic load around 2!

That’s a pretty big difference!

Potatoes Have More Carbohydrates Than Cauliflower

This may not matter to you unless you are following a ketogenic diet, but I feel like this point is too important to skip.

Our bodies burn energy in a certain order EVERY TIME.

It’s called oxidative priority.

That means that our body uses quick and easy fuel sources first and prioritize slow burning fuel sources last.

Unfortunately in this process, the carbs that we consume are prioritized above the fats that we eat.

So oxidative priority should matter to anyone who wants to lose or maintain their weight!

By lowering the amount of carbs that you are eating, your body is able to get to the fats you are eating and use them for fuel instead of shoving them away as stored fat.

So how do the carbs in a potatoes compare to cauliflower?

When you compare 100 grams of potatoes versus cauliflower, it’s very eye opening.

The carbohydrates in 100 grams of baked potato has 46 grams of carbs.

Cauliflower on the other hand only had 5.3 grams!

Clearly cauliflower is once again the better alternative.

Again, my goal isn’t to shame potatoes, but to show you that cauliflower has some advantages over potatoes for this healthier version of “potato” salad.

side view of a white bowl of "potato" salad

Why Bacon Isn’t as Bad as You Might Think

So we’ve swapped the potatoes for cauliflower to help keep from spiking our blood sugar and to lower the carbs in this side dish.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you above on why this is a healthy choice!

You could apply some of that same logic to help explain why bacon is actually a healthy choice to add to a dish!

Bacon is straight protein and fat – no carbs (look for the sugar free bacon!).

As we discussed above, this helps keep from spiking your insulin levels and will keep you fuller longer.

Bacon also adds great flavor and helps hide the cauliflower taste for those that aren’t big fans of cauliflower!

But perhaps you are thinking, “Didn’t the news report that bacon causes cancer because of the nitrates in it?”

Let’s examine that accusation a little closer!

Shouldn’t We Avoid Bacon Due to High Nitrates?

Junkfood Science posed this very interesting question to it’s readers:

Which of these sources will give you the most ingested nitrites:

  • 467 servings of hotdogs
  • 1 serving arugula
  • 2 servings butterhead lettuce
  • 4 servings celery or beets
  • your spit

The answer is obvious … or is it?

It’s the hotdogs, right?


You might be surprised to learn that your spit accounts for 70-97% of your total nitrite exposure!

And of the foods you are consuming, VEGETABLES are the main nitrate offenders, accounting for 93% of your exposure from food.


Is your mind blown like mine is when I read this?

So all this time, I’ve been lead to believe that I should avoid bacon and hotdogs and no one is blowing the whistle on arugula?!

I mean, who really likes arugula anyways?

I force myself to eat that bitter stuff because I think it’s healthy.

Now I know better and I will reach for bacon instead!

Okay, just kidding!

Don’t throw out the arugula yet!

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Nitrites/Nitrates

So should we throw out vegetables with the bacon to minimize our nitrate/nitrite exposure?


Actually, research is now showing that the CONSUMPTION of inorganic dietary nitrates can HELP with cardiovascular disease!


So now the things I was supposed to avoid before due to cancer might help with cardiovascular disease?


For more information on nitrites/nitrates and how processed meats got their bad reputation, check out Diet Doctor’s article “What you need to know about nitrates and nitrites“.

But in a nutshell, don’t throw out your arugula or your bacon!

Instead, use your bacon in this for bacon cauliflower “potato” salad or for bacon cheeseburger casserole!

Or throw both the arugula and bacon in an easy summer green salad!

But in any case, I’m sure we will all sleep better tonight knowing that bacon will NOT increase your risk of cancer.

top view of bacon cauliflower "potato" salad

How to Make Bacon Cauliflower “Potato” Salad

I almost felt like I was cheating down below in the recipe when I typed up the one direction, “stir everything together and immediately eat it”.

So I stretched myself and added the second line that it does taste better chilled.

No but really, this recipe is very easy to make!

As you can guess from the ingredient list, the main part of the recipe is prepping the ingredients!

So if you want the most efficient way to make this recipe including food prep tips, keep reading!

Ingredient Preparation

First, open up the package of bacon and get it cooking with your preferred cook method.

We like ours oven roasted for 15-18 minutes at 400 degrees.

So while the bacon is cooking in the oven, I get the cauliflower going on the stove.

And I will admit, a lot of times I use the pre-shredded frozen cauliflower from Costco and cook it in about a half stick of butter on the stove.

But for the sake of keeping this recipe dairy-free, I gave instructions to steam the cauliflower instead of cooking it in butter.

So if you can tolerate butter, that is TOTALLY the way to go!

Now while the bacon and cauliflower are cooking, start chopping the celery and bell pepper.

When the oven start beeping that the bacon is done, pull it out and let it cool while you keep prepping vegetables.

To prep the green onion, I like to just use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut it into little pieces (as pictured).

When the cauliflower is done, pull it off the stove and pour it into a large bowl to let it start cooling.

Once the veggies are prepped, add them to the cauliflower.

Now the bacon should be cool enough for you to pull it apart with your hands or use scissors or a knife to chop it into smaller pieces.

Bringing it All Together

Now that all of the ingredients are prepped and in the bowl, add the mayonnaise (we love the primal kitchen brand for a healthy option made with avocado oil!), mustard, and the salt.

Stir everything together and give it a taste!

Add more mayo, mustard, or salt if needed.

Or add in one of the optional ingredients!

If desired, you can add some pickle juice or a little apple cider vinegar if you like a little vinegar to cut through the creaminess of the mayonnaise.

And another great protein add on to this “potato” salad is to add some hard boiled eggs!

Just cut the eggs into smaller pieces and stir them in!

As I mentioned, this bacon cauliflower “potato” salad is best chilled, so if you have time to make it ahead of time, DO IT!

Once it has chilled overnight, you now have the perfect picnic or backyard grill out side dish!


hand holding spoon with a bite of bacon cauliflower "potato" salad

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Bacon Cauliflower “Potato” Salad {keto, paleo, Whole30}

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  • Author: Monster Cookie
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


If you are looking for a delicious, cold side dish to enjoy this summer, make this bacon cauliflower “potato” salad!


  • 1 package bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower or 1 bag of frozen cauliflower (riced or florets), steamed
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped (can also use 2 Tablespoons of finely diced onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
  • Optional: 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar or pickle juice
  • Optional: 2 to 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped


  1. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Pro Tip: This salad tastes best after sitting for a bit. If you are serving this at a party or picnic, make it 1-2 days before and stir everything together again right before serving.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes

bacon cauliflower "potato" salad pin

  1. Tabatha
    July 16, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    I would have never thought of making this with cauliflower! Thank you for the unique alternative =)

    • Monster Cookie
      Monster Cookie • Post Author •
      July 20, 2021 at 10:49 pm

      Thanks Tabatha! I hope you have a chance to try it!

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