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Your Favorite Ways to Lighten Up Potato Salad?

I have a lot of leftover Russets that need to be used, but it's too hot for baked potato, mashed potatoes, or a gratin.

A cold potato salad sounds good, but I'm curious: what do people like in terms of a lighter potato salad?

My usual basic salad is just potatoes, peas, carrots, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. More vinegar always tastes "lighter" to me, and of course more peas and carrots in proportion to potatoes.

But, as usual, I'm wondering if there's something more exciting.

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  1. I don't know if this is more exciting, but I usually add a lot of fresh herbs to mine. I toss the hot potatoes into a bowl that already contains chopped onions and garlic and some cider or champagne vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, let it sit for a bit then drizzle olive oil and a good handful of chopped herbs (usually thyme and parsley, though I do love basil, too).

    1. lemon juice, olive oil, dill, green onions, S&P

      sometimes low-fat yogurt, sometimes garlic, sometimes red onion, sometimes other herbs

      But the simple combo listed is my favorite

      1. My favorite (and similar to Elizzie's) is my mom's and grandmother's recipe. You sprinkle a good amount of vinegar (I like apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar) and a some mild oil and a bunch or two of chopped scallions over the potatoes after boiling, peeling and cubing them. I cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap, and let the potatoes steam until they cool down, then add minced parsley and just a little bit of mayonnaise to moisten. Refrigerate until cold and taste for seasoning. It's pretty light, more like a creamy vinaigrette rather than a heavy mayo based potato salad. The caveat is that I'm not sure it would work with russets. I've always used white waxy potatoes or red potatoes (new and old). I suspect that russets may be too starchy.

        How about making gnocchi and freezing them? That would use up a lot of potatoes.

        1. add a whole bunch of lemon zest. no matter what else you put in, the citrus flavour lightens it up.

          1. mash the potatoes, add ham, hard boiled eggs, carrots, cucumber with mayo

            1. I love the idea of putting carrots and peas in potato salad - never had it that way!

              Boiling potatoes or Yukon Golds are usually preferable for potato salad, but it can work with Russets if you are careful with them - don't overcook or overmix. I add diced apple, red onion, crumbled bacon, chopped black olives, and a vinaigrette with white wine or apple cider vinegar, olive oil, pressed garlic, salt and pepper.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Junie D

                That sounds great with the apple and red onion... I would even saute them a little bit!

                1. re: Katie Nell

                  Ooh yeah! I usually put them in raw, but it would be great to saute them in a little of the bacon fat.

                  1. re: Junie D

                    Sounds like a winner to me! Mmm... bacon fat!
                    Oops... we were talking about lightening it up, weren't we!! ;-)

              2. I make it with mustardy cider vinaigrette and fresh herbs - flat leaf parsley at least - and lots of chopped up scallion greens. lots of salt and black pepper. Vacation favorite is roasting potatoes in the fire (double wrapped in foil) for cold salad the next day . . .

                another alt is fine sliced raw shallots and white wine vinaigrette, maybe with thyme and parsley

                1 Reply
                1. re: pitu

                  Agree--fresh herbs enliven most anything, chopped red onions would also be a nice addition.

                2. I use Penzey's Green Goddess mix, mixed in with yogurt to make a really interesting potato salad. :)


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Dommy

                    Now THAT is the most unique idea I've seen so far! I'll have to remember it for my next Penzey's run.

                    I actually prefer Russets because I like my potato salad to be sort of a cross between baked potatoes and mashed potatoes. Weird, I know.

                    1. re: Pei

                      Their green goddess mix is GOOD!! :) It works so good with the potatoes too... :) I mixed in Peas, Cooked Carrots and a FINE diced onion for texture.


                  2. I like adding sliced water chestnuts for some tasty crunch.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: xtal

                      Great idea! I love to add water chesnuts for crunch because they taste like nothing and don't contrast with other flavors... Thanks for the idea for potato salad! :)

                    2. One summer, long ago, my father bought some potato salad at the Pantry Shelf in Berkeley (very good but standard, mayonnaise-based salad). He brought it home and proceeded to add cucumber chunks and additional chopped hard-boiled eggs, taking it from "very good" to "stratospheric" in my humble opinion. Since then, no potato salad has been complete to me without cucumbers.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Marsha

                        Was that the place on Shattuck near Vine where Saul's is now? I remember that the potatoes in the salad were al dente. And those giant sandwiches!

                        1. re: chocolatetartguy

                          That's the place. They had good stuff; I wonder if it's the same ownership as Saul's.

                      2. I add smoked paprika which makes the salad taste like bacon without the bacon.

                        1. I sometimes just use potatoes, green onions, soy sauce and lime juice. It comes out pretty acidic, which I like, but my sister adds a little oil to mellow it.

                          1. Plain non-fat yogurt and 70% fat-free mayonnaise, lots of spring onion (white and green parts), vinegar,lemon juice, kosher salt and plenty of freshly cracked (not ground) black pepper.

                            Some people add celery, but it's fine just as it is!


                            1. During the summer I like to make a potato salad from purple fingerlings with either blanched snow peas, sugar snap peas or green beans. Toss with some fresh mint or basil, some lemon zest and a little olive oil. Light and refreshing and really pretty too if you're having a party! When I can't find the purple fingerlings I use other potatoes so this should still be tasty with the leftover russets!

                              1. I like to put horseradish for a kick.