CEiMB: Pesto Potato Salad
This week I am excited to be hosting the CEiMB recipe! As much as I love cooking along with everyone else each week, it is also incredibly fun to browse through the cookbooks to make my selection. I tried to keep the timing of my turn, right around a holiday weekend, in mind when choosing and thought this potato salad would be perfect for any cookouts or picnics. In fact, I made this for a celebration of another kind: it was Ryan’s 30th birthday this past weekend, and my mom and I made this side for his birthday dinner with my family.
What I was most excited about with this recipe was the opportunity to use up a good bit of fresh basil from my mom’s garden. I adore pesto but have never made my own so I was looking forward to tasting the difference. Let me tell you, now that I’ve made homemade pesto, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to settle for the jarred stuff again. First of all, it was super simple. Throwing everything in the food processor takes literally seconds. The most time-consuming part of the whole deal is toasting up the pine nuts, and that only took a couple minutes. As soon as my mom walked in the kitchen with a handful of basil, the whole kitchen smelled fantastic. I am a huge basil fan and couldn’t wait to taste the pesto. A few pulses of the blade later, and we were ready for our taste. Awesome! I cannot believe what a difference there is between homemade and store bought. Ellie’s version is so fresh and flavorful, not at all muddled or muted.
I honestly think I could have just eaten the pesto with a spoon or slathered it on some bread and called it a night. Luckily, we already had the potatoes steaming so I was motivated to continue with the potato salad. The bell peppers at our store looked a little squished so we opted to use several small sweet peppers (orange, yellow, red) in their place, but I think that is the only change we made to the recipe. I can’t remember exactly how long we had to steam our potatoes – a new method of potato cooking for me, by the way – but we did have to cook them longer than the recipe suggested to get them soft. Once they were cooled, we cut them up, tossed them with some of the pesto, and added in the chopped peppers. Even though we were supposed to let it cool, Mom and I had to sneak a taste before slipping the dish into the fridge. Deee-licious!
Ellie suggests serving this cold though I honestly think it would be good warm as well. My mom was a little hesitant about the peppers; she thought the ratio of peppers to potatoes looked too high, but once we tasted it, I was so glad we didn’t cut back on them. The crunchiness of the peppers with the tender potato adds a lot of texture. I honestly just loved this dish. For the most part, my family does not eat potato salad, and when I mentioned that I was making potato salad, everyone sort of made a disapproving noise. Then, once they saw it, and that it was GREEN, there were some contorted faces. Those who were brave enough to try it, however, all raved about how good it was! I think this is a fabulous alternative to mayo-based salads, especially during the summer since you don’t have to worry about the mayonnaise spoiling if it’s not cold.
Be sure to check back early next week – there are some exciting things going on around here. To ensure you don’t miss out on any of the updates, you can follow me on twitter or facebook :) And thanks to all the CEiMBers that cooked along with me this week; I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!
Pesto Potato Salad
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped sweet or bell peppers
1/3 cup Basil Pesto, recipe follows
salt and pepper to taste
Put the potatoes in a large steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 20 minutes, or until they are cooked though, but the skins remain intact. Set them aside until they are cool enough to handle. Quarter the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Add the peppers and the pesto and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and chill.
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
3 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over a medium heat until fragrant and golden brown, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. In a food processor, process the pine nuts and the garlic until minced. Add the basil, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice and process until finely minced. With processor on, slowly pour the oil down the food chute. Process until well blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Note: This recipe makes 3/4 cup and will leave you with extra pesto; you can freeze leftovers in an ice cube tray.
Source: Ellie Krieger’s “The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life”, p. 144
8 servings Pesto Potato Salad | 2 POINTS
1 tablespoon (or ~1/12 recipe) Basil Pesto | 2 POINTS