Potato salad (without mayo!)

Most potato salad I’ve come across in my life are very different from what my mom used to make (which obviously is what I consider the standard to which all other potato salads need to measure up to) and if I never had my mom’s or my own inspired by her, I would have to say, I’m not a fan of potato salad. That’s because pretty much they main ingredient is mayonnaise and I can’t stand mayo – I don’t like the texture (slippery slimy like my other food foes butter, raw tomatoes and oysters), taste (all I taste is a fat film taking over my entire mouth) or the ingredient list (mostly a bunch of fats, sugar and calcuim disodium edta, a pollutant and chelating agent which sounds both natural and healthy). Yuk. However, it’s an illusion to think potato salad = a few chunks of potatoes floating in a sea of mayo.

This potato salad is, in my biased opinion, 100 times better and a 100 times healthier. The second being a fact – the only fat in this salad is heart healthy olive oil.

Ingredients:

  • about 10 small potatoes, cut into chunks and steamed until soft (do not overcook)
  • 1 large cucumber (field or English)
  • 4 pickled cucumbers, cut into small chunks
  • 2 green onions, sliced and/or a handful of chives
  • 2 table each spoons olive oil and vinegar for dressing
  • 1 table spoon of mustard (I prefer the grainy Dijon kind)
  • 1 cup of warm broth (I used vegetable broth)
  • salt and pepper to taste

imageMix olive oil, vinegar, and mustard, add broth and warm potatoes. Let this sit for about 1 hour, gently stirring to have ensure all the potatoes are soaking up some of the broth. Then, when it’s cooled off, add cucumbers, pickles and green onion and/or chives, season with salt and pepper. Great as a side to BBQ meats or vegetables and this can easily be prepared ahead of time.

The potatoes I used were young potatoes from our garden which by the way came out of a few large potatoes cut up into chunks, then buried into a trench in some soil where nothing else grows, then you need to do some uphilling while the plant grows but is otherwise a very easy garden plant.  You could also use other young potatoes or regular large once, but don’t use russet potatoes or other potatoes you’d use for mashed or baked potatoes, instead use the kind that stays relatively firm – what you would use if you fried them or made hash browns.

Advertisements

Pasta salad

Oh pasta salad, love I love thee. There are literally endless variations on this summer BBQ staple, so it’s a good “let’s see what’s in my fridge today” meal and it’s very easy to do a lot of if, if you’re entertaining or bringing it to a pot luck.

I always start with pasta, logically. I use whole wheat macaroni, penne, orzo, spirals or other small pasta (even tortellini work) and cook it accordingly to the box (actually, if it’s not an Italian brand, subtract 2 minutes, North America doesn’t seem to like their pasta al dente!), add it a bowl, then add other ingredients.

imageHere are some of my go-to combinations:

  • non vegetarian: cubs of cheddar and ham, edamame (shelled), finely diced peppers, carrots and chives
  • slightly exotic: peas, chunks of pineapple, and green onion – mix some curry powder into the dressing. A can of tuna is a good addition here.
  • Greek style: feta, diced black olives, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, diced red onion and chopped oregano
  • heart healthy: chickpeas, avocado, broccoli and sunflower seeds
  • Mexican style: corn, black beans, avocado, chopped cilantro
  • pesto chicken: pesto, Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes and diced cooked chicken
  • citrus: lemon zest (and juice in the dressing), cucumbers, feta  and fresh basil

Most of these are so flavorful, all I add is olive oil and some type of vinegar but check out some dressings to go with it here.