Virginia has been experimenting in the kitchen for almost 50 years. She loves to share her recipes, cooking tips, and reviews.
Perfect Picnic or BBQ Potato Salad
Fabulous homemade potato salad is the crowning touch at any picnic or barbeque, and with this easy recipe, you're sure to get compliments from the crowd. Best of all, you can easily make a fat-free variation that is so flavorful, no one will know the difference.
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Serves 8 people (1/2 cup servings)
- 6 medium potatoes, or 4 cups boiled, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing, bottled or use Nicole's Homemade Italian Dressing (recipe below)
- 3 eggs, hardboiled, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1/4 cup sweet relish
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise or sour cream, regular, light or fat-free
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup any combination of: olives, chopped celery, capers or grated carrots (optional)
- Put the potatoes in one pot, and the eggs in another pot. Cover both with water and put at a medium temperature on the stove until boiling.
- Boil the eggs 12 minutes. Take off the heat and pour off the hot water. Fill with cold tap water until eggs are cool to the touch. Peel the eggs and dice with a knife. (See below for step-by-step photo instructions on preparing eggs and potatoes.)
- Boil the potatoes 20-30 minutes or until a knife can be inserted easily and the skin peels back. Pour off the hot water and fill the pan with cold tap water until the potatoes can be handled. Peel with a knife (skin should come off easily). Dice with the knife and put in a bowl.
- Pour Italian salad dressing on warm, diced potatoes, and mix together. Add eggs and mix.
- Add chopped onion, sweet relish, and mayonnaise (or sour cream).
- Add garlic salt, pepper, and lemon juice (adjust these ingredients to your taste).
- Add optional olives, chopped celery, capers or grated carrots.
- Chill before serving. Tastes best if chilled overnight.
Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Tips for Best Results
- Don't cook the potatoes too long. You want them to remain firm, not mushy.
- Peel the warm potatoes, dice them and immediately put on a marinade of Italian dressing (this adds a lot of flavor).
- Try making Nicole's Homemade Italian Dressing using my simple recipe and fresh herbs for the best taste.
- Chill the mixed potato salad overnight for the best flavor.
- Use more salt, pepper, lemon juice, and/or Italian dressing to add more flavor if you are doing a fat-free version and your final mix seems too bland.
- You can vary the taste by using different types of Italian or French dressing (I like Newman's Light Balsamic).
- Try adding olives, capers, celery or carrots for a unique twist.
Tips for Quicker and Easier Prep
- Boil the potatoes and eggs at the same time.
- Gather your other ingredients while potatoes and eggs are boiling.
- Drain eggs and potatoes, and then cool them with tap water (add ice if you want to), so that peeling is easy.
- Use bottled Italian dressing and sweet relish.
- Buy already chopped onions.
- Mix everything in while potatoes are warm and then set in the refrigerator to cool (or, marinate potatoes and eggs in Italian Dressing overnight and add the rest of your ingredients the next day).
Nicole's Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe
Want a really superior potato salad? Make your own Italian dressing with fresh herbs.
My French mother-in-law, Nicole, never used bottled dressings. Instead, she always made her own. She called it "French dressing" but it is just like what I call Italian or vinaigrette. Especially if you use fresh herbs, there is nothing better. It only takes about 10 minutes to make, so if you really want an impressive potato salad, you might want to whip this up and use it instead of bottled dressing.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard (dijon is best)
- 3/4 cup oil (olive, walnut, or vegetable)
- 1 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (or 2 tea. dried herbs) such as: basil, thyme, marjoram, savory, Italian herb mix, or Herbs de Provence (my favorite)
- In a jar or bottle, add salt, pepper, vinegar (or lemon juice), and mustard. Shake to mix.
- Add oil and garlic. Shake to mix.
- Add fresh or dried herbs. Shake to mix. The dressing is now ready to use in the potato salad recipe, or on a green salad.