When the tables are loaded with sides as vibrant and beautifully fresh as today’s Pesto Potato Salad, I’m far too distracted to care about what’s being served between the buns.
I realize I’m likely to be condemned for high summer treason for what I’m about to suggest, but I feel it must be expressed: let’s skip the grill at our next barbecue.
Before the High Court of All Barbecue strips me of my tongs and denies me access to all summer cookouts, please hear my plea.
Yes, burgers are good (especially these Italian Turkey Burgers). Yes, a hot dog during June and July is a necessity.
But would I choose said hotdog or burger over a crisp serving of addictive Asian Ramen Salad, fresh and fruity Red White and Blue Quinoa Fruit Salad, or Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread? The answer is no, no I would not.
5 Star Review
“Love this salad and that I don’t have to worry about leaving it out a while since it has no dairy. Highly recommend it!”— Gigi —
Now, I am not advocating that you spend this grilling season burgerless, hot dogless, or without a grill—even my side dish-loving soul admits that this would feel unnatural and offensive.
I am, however, insisting, that you take a moment to consider your spread and give attention to the salads (like this Grilled Corn Salad), the bakes (hello, Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie), and the dips (looking at you, Greek Layer Dip) that honor and celebrate the gorgeous abundance of summer produce.
This pesto potato salad is the perfect place to begin.
How to Make Pesto Potato Salad
Say goodbye to goopy mayo-based potato salad and say hello to this bright, herbaceous, and zippy summer potato salad made with homemade pesto.
Every spoonful of pesto potato salad makes me want to lie in the sun or stand with my bare feet in freshly cut grass. It’s a bowl full of magnificent summer, ready to be shared with the people you love most.
- Potatoes. For this easy pesto potato salad, I like to use baby or new potatoes. They have softer, thinner skins and lower starch content than mature potatoes. This winning combination makes them buttery and tender when cooked but also helps them hold their shape—a.k.a they’re the best potato for potato salads (like this Healthy Potato Salad)!
- Pesto. I blended peppery arugula, basil, parmesan, and almonds in my trusty food processor, to make an insanely easy and delicious homemade pesto (just like the one in my cookbook). Or try this Basil Pesto with pine nuts (which is divine on this Pesto Pasta).
- Green Beans and Peas. Incorporate even more of summer’s bounty with ample amounts of fiber, vitamin K, calcium, and plant-based protein. (Peas also star in this Pea Salad.)
- Boil the potatoes until tender. remove from the water and set aside.
- Return the water to the stove and blanch the green beans until crisp-tender. Drain then quickly rinse the beans with cold water.
- Combine the pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse together until smooth.
- Pour the pesto over the potatoes and gently toss to coat.
- Add the green beans, peas, and salt, then stir to combine.
- Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and chopped toasted almonds. ENJOY!
- To Store. Leftover pesto potato salad will keep well in the refrigerator for 1 full day and can be made a day ahead as well. By days 2 and 3, it will still be edible but will lose some vibrancy and crispness.
Dear High Court of All Barbecue: might I swap you a generous serving of pesto potato salad in exchange for a lighter sentence?
Frequently Asked Questions
Sure. However, I will say that I think fresh, homemade pesto is the way to go for this summer potato salad recipe. It really takes it to the next level and doesn’t take long to make either.
I don’t personally recommend russet potatoes for potato salad (they’re great for Potato Skins though). Russets tend to have a dryer, starchier texture and fall apart more easily when cooked. If you can’t find baby potatoes, try some small Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces, instead.
Yes! This pesto potato salad is gluten free (and vegetarian) so it is an excellent side dish to bring that accommodates a variety of dietary needs and preferences.
Pesto Potato Salad
- 2 pounds new or baby potatoes scrubbed and sliced in half or in quarters if large (leave the skins on)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 3/4 pound green beans ends trimmed and cut in half
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves loosely packed
- 2 cups arugula loosely packed
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted almonds plus 2 tablespoons, divided
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1 large clove garlic peeled
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice plus additional for serving
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
- Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover them with cold water, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, then cook until fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, gently remove the potatoes from the water and place them in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Return the water to a gentle boil, then add the green beans to the pot. Blanche just until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain into a colander, then quickly rinse the beans with cold water to stop their cooking.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the basil, arugula, 1/3 cup almonds, Parmesan, garlic clove, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pulse the ingredients until evenly ground. With the machine running, slowly pour the olive oil into the feed tube and blend until smooth.
- While the potatoes are still warm, pour the pesto over the top, then toss gently to combine, being careful to break up the potatoes as little as possible.
- Add the green beans to the bowl with the potatoes, then add the peas and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir all of the gently to combine.
- Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped toasted almonds. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
- TO STORE: Leftover pesto potato salad will keep well in the refrigerator for 1 full day so it can easily be made a day ahead as well. Note that by days 2 and 3, it will still be edible but will lose some vibrancy and crispness.
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