Potato Salad – The Perfect Summer Recipe
Summer definitely means potato salad in my family. It’s requested for picnics, family gatherings, backyard barbecues, and so much more. I grew up eating potato salad made with miracle whip – I can’t express my full disgust here – and never understood why I didn’t like potato salad. Finally, a friend’s mother introduced me to potato salad made with real mayonnaise and my life was forever changed. But, unfortunately dairy and eggs are no longer very friendly with my digestive system. So, I started trying to create an option without dairy that still recreated the lovely taste in my memory. I think I’ve finally found the solution. And, last summer, my family and friends agreed.
Types of Potatoes
Let’s start with the best type of potato. Okay, there’s really no such thing . . . and here’s why. There’s more than 200 types of potatoes, just in the United States. So, use what you love.
Here’s my thoughts though. The amount of starch in the potato either makes or breaks the salad. Too starchy and you end up with mashed potatoes (although, if you do end up with mashed potatoes, save the leftovers to make Baked Fish in Mashed Potatoes). So, I prefer a more waxy potato for potato salad. (All “waxy” really means is that they cells stay together when cooked so when you slice them into chunks they retain their shape). Waxy potatoes are also higher in sugar and moisture, both of which makes a superior potato salad. Waxy potatoes tend to hold their shape better after cooking, so again, you don’t end up with a big bowl of mashed potatoes. They also have thinner skins and a smoother texture so they’re ideal for boiling and making potato salad.
Favorite Potatoes for Potato Salad
I like red potatoes for a creamy moist texture that will have a very subtle sweet taste.
But, in a pinch you can use what I like to think of as an “all-purpose” potato; they are neither very starchy or very waxy . . . a potato somewhere in the middle. They usually hold their shape better than a starchy potato. These include Yukon Gold, white potatoes, purple potatoes and petite potatoes.
What About Sweet Potatoes?
I know one of the recent fads has been to make everything out of sweet potatoes. And, I’m guilty too – see Sweet Potato Chips from 2011 and Sweet Potato Fries from 2012. But here’s the thing when we’re talking potato salad – sweet potatoes and yams just don’t work out . . . too sweet. These are practically dessert tubers. The flesh is just too sweet and too moist for potato salad. They are delicious mashed though and one of our healthy, holiday favorites (video and recipe here).
- ½ onion, diced, approx ½ cup
- 1 ½ lbs red potatoes
- 10 oz coconut cream
- 1 T apple cider vinegar
- 1 T Dijon mustard
- 1 t sea salt
- ¼ t white pepper
- 1 T pickle juice
- 2 stalks celery, diced, approx 1 cup
- ½ red pepper, diced
- ¼ c diced pickle
- 4 hard boiled eggs, diced (optional)
- Dice onions and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Chop potatoes into ¾ inch cubes. Place in saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cook 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together coconut cream, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and pickle juice.
- Add potatoes, celery, onion, red pepper, pickle, egg and toss. Sprinkle with paprika.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to blend flavors.