Recipe Makeover: Pesto Potato Salad
Putting the Salad Back into Potato
Potato salad gets invited to nearly every summer barbecue because it's the perfect complement to anything that comes off the grill. Starchy, saucy, and refreshing, it's pure comfort food—a crowd-pleaser that can be made ahead. And while it may be a salad, it's hardly summer-figure-friendly. The classic mayo-based version sneaks in more than 300 calories and 23g fat—a not-so-skinny accompaniment to all that rich barbecue. This month, we set out to summer-ize this picnic favorite.
319 calories per serving
23.5 grams total fat
648 milligrams sodium
163 calories per serving
6.4 grams total fat
286 milligrams sodium
How We Did It
To start, we thought we'd make the dish look and taste more like an actual salad—with greens. To replace the heavy mayo, we whir up a quick herby pesto, using Greek yogurt and a hint of olive oil mayo instead of oil to keep our dressing creamy like the original but with far less fat and fewer calories. The pesto perfectly coats tender fingerling potatoes—a fun farmers' market find that gives this dish a buttery, nutty boost. The potatoes sit on a bed of lightly dressed arugula and juicy ripe tomatoes, then get topped with a sprinkle of dill. This refreshing summer side has half the calories and far less fat than the original, making it worthy of being called a salad.
Dress It Better
We toss our potatoes in a fresh, herby pesto and our greens in a splash of oil, trimming mayo by 14½ tablespoons to save 123 calories and 16g fat per serving.
Build a Leafy Base
A peppery arugula and cherry tomato salad adds bulk and a bright pop of summer flavor for just 26 calories.
Praise the Potato
Here's the scoop: Potatoes have fewer calories, fewer carbs, less sugar, more protein, and more potassium than a banana. Keep the skin on; it has more than twice the fiber of the flesh.