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Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad.  The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads.  A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!


Isn’t this kind of like when they announce something like, I don’t know, potatoes as the secret ingredient for Iron Chef?  That was my reaction, anyway.  At the same time though, it’s kind of fun to be given free reign for these challenges (I’m looking at you, April). 


What it doesn’t say in the blog-checking lines up there is that in addition to creating something healthy, we were encouraged to put worldly spins on our potato salads.  For some reason, my German/Czech/Irish brain went straight for Mediterranean flavors, but I think that’s partly due to how I associate these flavors with summer.  To me this meant sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, Kalamata olives, basil, rosemary, caramelized onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and feta. Sounds good, right?

This concoction is vegan if you don’t top it with feta which is a bonus because when do most people eat potato salad?  Picnics, barbecues, etc.  If you have a dairy-based potato salad, you want to be careful about how long it’s been sitting out, but with a vegan one, you’ve got lots more wiggle room.


Mediterranean-inspired Potato Salad

As with everything I throw together, I say anything goes!  Adjust, add, subtract, substitute whatever you want.  The amounts aren’t very specific for a reason.  Also, this can be served hot or cold!

a little less than 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
a little more than 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for sauteing the onions
minced fresh rosemary (I used about 1 teaspoon)
minced fresh basil (I used about 2 tablespoons)
half a handful of sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 pound red potatoes, washed, and halved or quartered
half red onion, sliced
roasted red pepper, sliced
Kalamata olives, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
optional: feta cheese for topping

Make the dressing: pour the vinegar and olive oil in a measuring cup, then stir in the herbs and season with salt and pepper.  I let the sun-dried tomatoes sit in this to soften up a bit while making everything else.

Prepare the salad: Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover them.  Bring to a boil and cook until tender, but not mushy, then drain.  (Mine were a bit mushy because I overestimated how long this would take…took 9 minutes for me!).  While the potatoes are cooking, heat up some olive oil in a skillet and saute the onions over medium heat until they caramelize.

Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients.  At this point, I removed the tomatoes from the dressing and sliced them (they were still on the tough side, though).  Pour the dressing over everything and toss.  Sprinkle feta over individual servings if desired.

Mediterranean-inspired Potato Salad

It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made (is potato salad ever?), but I am really pleased with how tasty this turned out.  Bonus: it took me about 40 minutes to make, which for me is FAST.  I’m guessing this means a regular person would whip this up in 20.

Mediterranean-inspired Potato Salad

Thank you, Jami, for this challenge!  I had only made potato salad once, and it was just the traditional mayonnaise-y kind.  This was way more flavorful, and healthy.

Oh yeah!  And here is the challenge write-up.  Check out the plethora of potato salads from the other Daring Cooks!