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Making Summer Easier and Yummier—One Potato Salad at a Time

Few dishes say “summer” quite as perfectly as potato salad. This picnic staple is family friendly, wholesome, easy to prepare and beloved by young and old alike. It is also a versatile dish, open to a dazzling variety of interpretations.

Whether you’re feeding your family for dinner, cooking for a crowd or packing up a summer picnic, you can’t go wrong with potato salad.

And here’s a bonus. Maine potatoes are the best potatoes. Full stop.

Following are three ways to enjoy this classic dish—even if one of them has a little secret. Dig into these recipes and then experiment on your own with summer’s tastiest way to eat tubers.

Roasted Potato Salad with Southwestern Pesto

Salad
1–1 1/2 pounds new potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1/4–1/2 cup, Southwestern Pesto

Pesto
4 cups fresh cilantro leaves
4 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño, chopped
Juice of two limes
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup nuts (pine nuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pistachios or a mix)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Cheddar works, too.)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450º.
Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Toss in two tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until potatoes are fork tender, about 20–30 minutes.
Add the cilantro, garlic, nuts, jalapeño, cheese, salt and pepper to a food processor. Process until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Slowly add oil until incorporated. Add water and lime juice and process until pesto is creamy. Adjust seasoning.
Toss warm potatoes and tomatoes with pesto. Serve at room temperature.

PRO TIP: Store leftover pesto in an airtight container for up to seven days in the refrigerator or six months in the freezer. It is delicious on fish and perfect on pasta!

Potato Salad with Lemon, Garlic & Mustard Vinaigrette

Potatoes and fresh veggies—I ask you, what could be better? This recipe, which is infinitely adaptable to whatever your garden or local farmers market is featuring, is just right for warmer weather because there are no ingredients that will spoil if left out too long. And the golden Lemon, Garlic & Mustard Vinaigrette makes friends with just about every vegetable it meets, so let your imagination run wild.

Salad
2 pounds new potatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup fresh green beans, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 cup fresh asparagus, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 8–10 minutes.
Steam green beans and asparagus (together) until bright green, retain a bit of crunch, about 3–4 minutes. Drop in ice bath to stop cooking and drain.
Combine veggies in a large bowl and dress with Lemon Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette. Garnish with basil. Serve at room temperature.

Vinaigrette
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup mustard
1/2 cup canola oil
Put garlic cloves through garlic press and mix with lemon zest and salt to make a paste. Combine lemon juice, vinegar and mustard. Add to the garlic paste. Whisk oil in slowly and adjust seasoning.

PRO TIP: The great thing about this salad is that you can incorporate any veggies you have on hand. Peas, corn, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes, arugula, chopped cabbage—it’s all delicious when combined with tender potatoes and this flavorful dressing.

Classic “Potato” Salad — with a healthy twist

My mother’s go-to potato salad recipe came from the Hellman’s Mayonnaise label, and it was delicious. Lately, in an effort to reduce my carb intake, I adapted her recipe and made potato salad with …cauliflower!

Don’t get me wrong. This recipe would work wonderfully with potatoes. But if you’re feeding someone who’s keeping an eye on carbohydrates or is going the Paleo route, try this scrumptious summer salad hack.

1 large head of cauliflower, cut to bite-size pieces
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 cup thinly sliced fennel (keep fronds when cleaning)
2 tablespoons fennel fronds, chopped
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
Sweet pickle chips for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
Steam cauliflower until tender but not mushy, about 8–10 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.
Combine mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, mustard powder and fennel fronds in a large bowl. Add cauliflower, fennel, onion, relish and eggs and toss gently.
Garnish with sweet pickle chips. Best served chilled.

PRO TIP: If you don’t like fennel—or don’t have any on hand—you can use celery in the salad and add a little dill to the dressing. If you use fennel, save the fronds. You can add them to soups and salads. If you’re poaching fish, drop fennel fronds in the poaching liquid for a delicious, fresh taste.

Candace Karu makes her living writing about food, fitness and travel. She lives near the ocean in an old farmhouse with two ill-behaved dogs and two hard-working barn cats. Follow her on Instagram: @candacekaru or at www.candacekaru.com.

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