Do you love potato salad but hate the mayonnaise dressing? This pesto potato salad is a healthier and lighter alternative. New baby potatoes mixed with thinly sliced crunchy radishes, sweet green peas and a sprinkling of chopped bacon, this salad will become a BBQ favourite.
The pesto dressing is loaded with spinach, parsley, cilantro and made creamy with walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil.
If you love potato salad as much as I do, check out my Russian Potato Salad “Olivier”.
In the season of barbecues and outdoor eating you can’t find a more suitable side dish to a grilled steak or a burger than a nicely made potato salad.
I grew up with my mom’s best potato salad, which made me a bit of a snob. I give no excuses but I do offer recipes and this pesto potato salad is a great one!
How to make potato salad
I absolutely love that this potato salad is made without mayonnaise, which makes it much lighter. This creamy pesto potato salad is absolutely packed with nutrients found in spinach, herbs and vegetables without using cream or dairy of any kind.
What potatoes are best for a salad?
One of the most important part of making a potato salad is starting with the right kind of potato. There are two types of potatoes that exist. Floury or starchy and waxy.
The waxy ones are what you are looking for in a potato salad as they cook up soft but still hold their shape. New potatoes are always great as well since they haven’t developed much starch yet.
Potato Salad with Bacon
Another great feature of a potato salad is a contrast of the creamy and the crunchy. In this recipe I paired sliced radishes and peas with creamy pesto smothered potatoes.
Then I sprinkled everything with bacon because everything is improved by a bit of salty, crunchy bits that bacon brings!
How to make pesto potato salad dressing?
The dressing has the basic ingredients for Italian basil pesto but instead of using basil and pine nuts as the base, I am using spinach, cilantro, parsley and walnuts.
I made so much of that pesto and literally fell in love with the flavour that for the next two weeks I’ve been putting it in everything. My morning eggs, my sandwich and finally potato salad.
Making your own pesto is very easy. Just add spinach, cilantro and parsley, walnuts lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, olive oil, salt and chilli flakes to a blender or a food processor and blend until smooth.
Alternatively, you can buy already prepared pesto. However, I would recommend making your own spinach pesto as its taste is truly what makes this potato salad.
If you choose to purchase your pesto sauce, go for the refrigerated pesto over jarred ones. They are so much fresher and more flavourful!
More salad recipes for your BBQs and picnics:
- Summer Tomato and Cucumber Salad
- Green Goddess Pasta Salad
- Cabbage Salad
- Creamy Dill Cucumber, Radish and Egg Salad
- Summer Goodness Millet Salad
This recipe was originally published in 07/2013. Updated and re-published in 06/2019.
- 4 tbsp spinach pesto recipe
- 1 lbs new baby potatoes cut in half or quartered
- 10 radishes sliced
- 250g/1 cup frozen and thawed green peas or fresh shelled peas
- 4 strips bacon chopped
- 1 tbsp microgreens optional
- Cook the potatoes in a large pot until tender but not falling apart, they should be firm. I prefer to cook mine with the skins on. If you are using large potatoes, quarter them after they've been cooked. Let them stream dry and set aside.
- Coat the potatoes with the pesto sauce while they are still warm. That will allow for the flavours to blend properly. Put in the refrigerator for the potatoes to cool. Cook the bacon, cool slightly, then chop.
- Before serving toss the salad with sliced radishes, peas and chopped bacon, taste and add salt if necessary. Sprinkle with microgreens or chopped herbs.