Potato Salad - A summer classic
When summer arrives, many of you will be busy planning picnics, backyard barbecues and family get-togethers. One of the most popular side dishes for these events is the old favorite, potato salad--a generic term for any number of concoctions that always involve potatoes, but may be as different in composition as chalk is to cheese.
Actually, the limitless variations are what make building this salad so much fun. You will notice that I said “building”, because that is how I think of making any salad. In the case of potato salad, you start with a good foundation of potatoes and add various vegetables, seasonings and dressings, until you have achieved a culinary delight of taste, texture and nutrition.
A healthier version
If you are watching your weight or just trying to eat healthier, you may think of potato salad as being off limits. However, there are ways that you can make this popular summer dish a better choice for both your waistline and your nutritional status. The key is what you put in the salad and how much you eat.
Start with some nice boiled red potatoes--organic if you can get them. I prefer to peel them, but you can leave the skins on, if you scrub them well before cooking. Red potatoes work best for potato salad because they are sweeter and moister than white potatoes. You certainly can use white potatoes, but they are flakier and will break up more in the salad, and be blander in taste than their red cousins.
Tip: Using red potatoes will give your salad a more robust flavor and texture.
Next, hard boil some organic eggs and chop them into bite-size pieces. A rule of thumb is to use 6 hard-boiled eggs for 5 pounds of potatoes, but you can use more or less, depending on what’s available and what you like. (Using organic eggs is a good idea since they taste better and are from healthier chickens that produce healthier eggs.)
Tip: Using organic eggs will make your salad taste better and have fewer chemicals.
Celery and Pickles
Chop up some celery (again, organic if you can find it) and pickles – sweet or dill—but choose ones with no high fructose corn syrup and less sodium, if possible. You can even opt for pickle relish, but you will lose the texture of the pickle bites.
Tip: Celery will add low-calorie texture and fiber to your potato salad as well as Vitamin K.
Add some other veggies
You can also add, chopped carrots, green olives, black olives, bell peppers, zucchini, fresh or frozen green peas, radishes or any other crunchy vegetables you like. Finely minced onions or chopped chives can also be included, if you are serving the salad to those who are not sensitive to raw onions. Chives are milder than onions, or you can lightly sauté the onions in a bit of olive oil before adding to the salad to make them more digestible.
Tip: Adding extra veggies can make the potato salad lower in calories per serving and will improve the vitamin, mineral and antioxidant value of the dish.
Mayonnaise plus non-fat Greek yogurt for dressing
Now that you have all your vegetables combined, you are ready to put on the dressing. You could use just mayonnaise, but a useful tip for making your potato salad more nutritious and lower in fat and calories without compromising on flavor, is to use half mayonnaise and half non-fat Greek yogurt. (You can use regular plain yogurt, but the Greek yogurt has a better texture for this application.)
Tip: Replacing some of the mayo with Greek yogurt lowers the calories and fat per serving and adds extra protein and calcium.
Sea salt, turmeric, and paprika
Add some good quality salt such as Celtic Sea Salt and some turmeric spice, garnish with tomato slices, and, if desired, sprinkle with paprika and your salad is ready to serve.
Tip: Adding turmeric will enhance flavor and provide cancer-fighting curcumin.
Make it your own.
The beauty of making potato salad is that the number and variety of ingredients can be based on your taste preference and what you have available. You can use a lot of potatoes or a few potatoes, and build your salad from there. You can use bottled mayonnaise or make your own. If you’re a vegan, you can use soy mayo and skip the eggs.
Handle with care
Although potato salad can be a tasty addition to your picnic or potluck, it can be a source of foodborne illness, so here are some tips for making it a safe food choice:
*Choose potatoes that are firm and remove any green parts, sprouts and dark spots.
Click here for more information about green potatoes.
*Wash your hands before and during preparation to avoid contaminating your salad with bacteria.
*Wash vegetables with a food grade veggie wash and chop on a clean cutting board that has not been used to cut meat or that has been disinfected in between uses.
*Refrigerate potato salad immediately after preparation and keep it cold until ready to serve.
*Store leftovers promptly (or discard remains if the salad is no longer cold) and use within 3-4 days.
Now that you have the basics you can experiment with building your own version of this wonderful summer classic. If you have a favorite potato salad recipe or addition that you would like to share, choose the contact button and send it to me and I will post it on the site.
Eat and be healthy with my warmest regards,