I literally could eat an entire pound of elbow macaroni, smothered in mayonnaise, with celery, onion, carrots, peppers, and herbs all by myself, all summer long — classic macaroni salad. It’s what I grew up eating during the summer, assuming because my mother didn’t want to heat up the house. We didn’t have air conditioning, except in my parent’s bedroom while growing up, so my only refuge from the heat was the sprinkler, or the basement.
I don’t have Celiac, however I do have a substantial gluten intolerance, so I don’t eat anything containing gluten very often. If I do, I’m very careful and only have a bite or two, just to taste, usually just for the memory of it. I can’t be trusted with elbow macaroni though, so I recreated my favorite pasta salad, with all of the same flavors I love, using cauliflower. It tastes just like I remember, and I can eat the whole bowl if I want, without the swelling and stomach ache I get from gluten.
Steam cauliflower florets using a steamer basket on the stove, or in the microwave until just tender, let cool, then add everything you love about macaroni salad: carrots, celery, parsley, red onion, red pepper, red cabbage, sea salt, and lots of mayo. Like it sweet? Mix in a drizzle of local honey.Print
Creamy, crunchy classic macaroni salad gets a clean-eating makeover using cauliflower in place of pasta. Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free.
- 1 large head cauliflower, any color
- 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 small red onion, peeled, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, finely chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped
- 1/4 red or purple cabbage, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley
- 1/2 tsp gray sea salt
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- Remove core from cauliflower; separate florets into pieces about the size of elbow macaroni
- Transfer florets to a medium, microwave-safe glass bowl. Add 1 tsp of water to the cauliflower. Cover bowl with a microwave-safe plate; microwave on high power 3 minutes. Remove bowl from microwave, uncover; let stand 15 minutes, or until cool to the touch.
- Drain any remaining water from cauliflower, return cauliflower to bowl. Add celery, onion, carrot, red bell pepper, cabbage, parsley, mayonnaise, and salt. Stir until well combined.
- Refrigerate, covered, at least one hour before serving, but recommend 2-3 hours. Refrigerate leftovers, covered, up to five days.
For sweeter salad, stir 2 tsp. local honey into the mayonnaise before adding to the salad.