Potato Salad is one of those classic summer picnic dishes, although I never could figure out why. Of course it’s delicious, but a mayonnaise-based dish is not exactly warm-weather friendly. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my grandmother’s classic American potato salad, but sometimes I get in the mood to change things up…okay you got me…I’m always in the mood to change things up. So this is not your granny’s potato salad folks.
A pesto, on the other hand, happens to be very warm weather friendly, especially mine because I’ve left out the cheese. I know, you’re thinking “you can’t make pesto without parm!”…but I have and trust me, you won’t miss the cheese a bit. I’ve also taken the opportunity to sneak in some broccoli. It adds lots of bulk to the pesto, without taking away from the great basil taste of a classic Italian pesto. And needless to say, it also adds loads of nutrition. I’ve also swapped out the pine nuts that traditionally accompany a classic pesto, for the much less expensive walnut! Walnuts are an amazing superfood for you brain, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids. And you still get that same nutty flavor but you save a little cash.
Here’s the recipe for my Basil and Broccoli Pesto Potato Salad:
- 2 cups fresh basil, packed
- 2 cups broccoli florets, blanched
- 2 lemons, zest of one and juice of both
- 1/2 cups walnuts, soaked
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lbs potatoes, medium diced. I used baby Yukon gold but any variety will do.
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Start by blanching the broccoli. To do this, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the broccoli florets for about 2-3 minutes, just until they’re bright green. At that time, remove them from the boiling water, and place directly in a bowl of salted ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Next get your potatoes cooking. Put them in a pot and fill them with cold water. Put a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil. Cook until they’re fork tender. The time will vary depending on the size of your dice. Mine took about 10 minutes. When fork tender, drain the potatoes.
- To make the pesto, add the basil, blanched broccoli, walnuts, lemon juice and zest in the food processor or high speed blender. Pulse until the pesto is well chopped, about 20 pulses or so. With the motor running, add in the olive oil in a slow stream, until the pesto comes together in a paste.
- Taste the pesto and season with salt and pepper
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, red onion, and about 1 cup of the pesto. Mix well to combine. Taste and season with sea salt and pepper. If you need more pesto, add it in. Since the potatoes are warm, they will absorb a lot of the pesto, so you may need to add a bit more.
- I served this potato salad warm and it was delicious, but I ate it left over the next day, and it was just as good cold. Enjoy!
Oh and P.S…I had about a cup of pesto leftover. So the next day, I pounded out some pork loin, and rolled it up in the pork..it was fantastical…so if you have extra pesto left over, do NOT pitch it. I’ll bring the recipe for my Pesto Pork Roulade soon!
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