When the weather heats up?
I like to add a little greenery to my ever growing cheese with carbs obsession.
This is my twist on a classic summer side dish – fresh, creamy potato salad with mint pesto dressing – heavy on the flavour (mmm, mint!) yet light (i.e. none) on the mayonnaise – the perfect side dish for all your warm weather eating!
Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time feasting on juicy berries and gulping down cooling ‘shakes like they are going out of fashion – we’ve been sweltering in record temperatures, and believe me, sweltering is just not a good look for me…
But even when I’m too hot to think straight?
I still wanna eat all the potatoes…
And now I’m realising quite how many of my posts seem to talk about the weather, am I really that boring?
No, don’t answer that…
Hey, ho…back to the potato salad!
To go with the potatoes, I decided to make a dressing flavoured with a mint pesto. I know the traditional recipe for pesto uses basil, but apparently, I like to be different (for that read: mint works beautifully with potatoes, and we have a large and thriving mint plant that is growing furiously in this heat…)
As I was changing up the recipe anyway, I decided to throw in a handful of cashews instead of the regular (but soo expensive) pine nuts. You still get a lovely hint of nutty texture but the fresh green mint combines with the garlic and freshly grated parmesan to give such a punchy flavour, that you don’t really notice the substitution.
Note – you could also try this with walnuts instead – if like me your budget flinches at the price of pine nuts…
This mint pesto is so simple to make, even the bowl attachment for my little stick blender managed it without protest. Blending all these ingredients together makes for a fragrant, bright green paste, bursting with summer flavour. Once everything is well combined, add the oil a little at a time, blending between each addition.
The quantities given make around 6 tablespoons of a very thick pesto – it’s certainly more paste than sauce at this stage! I wanted the pesto to be a lot thicker than usual, just so it doesn’t thin down the dressing too much as you stir it together.
I’ve also used greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise in the dressing. This keeps the creaminess of a regular potato salad, but makes the dish a little lighter and fresher (I actually love mayo, but for some reason it just doesn’t work so well for me in potato salads).
When putting the salad together, I’d recommend tasting as you go (perks of the job…) to get the right ratio of minty to creamy. If you do have any pesto left over, try spreading a little on some toasted bruschetta or adding extra oil to thin it out, then toss with some hot pasta for an easy (and quick) summer meal.
Any leftover pesto will also freeze well – I usually put teaspoonfuls onto a cling-film lined tray, open freeze it (so it doesn’t clump together) then bag it up.
A cold drink in one hand. A plateful of barbeque with a side of potato salad with mint pesto dressing in the other?
I’ll meet you at the sun loungers…
- 2.2 lbs (1 kg) baby potatoes
- 2 -3 large handfuls of mint leaves, washed and drained
- 2 teaspoons garlic puree
- ¼ cup (25g) grated parmesan
- ¼ cup (35g) cashew nut pieces (unsalted)
- large pinch sea salt
- ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (250g) greek yogurt
- Halve or even quarter any bigger potatoes, so they will cook more evenly. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 12 - 15 minutes or until tender when you test with the sharp point of a knife. Drain well and set aside to cool.
- To make the mint pesto: In a food processor, blend together the mint leaves, garlic puree, grated parmesan, cashews and salt. Add the oil a little at a time and blend, scraping the sides down if required, until everything is combined evenly (it will be quite a thick paste at this point).
- Combine the greek yogurt and pesto together in a large bowl (taste as you go, you may not need all the pesto), add the potatoes and stir gently until well coated. Serve as a barbeque side dish, with grilled meats (especially lamb) or as part of a picnic.
- Any leftovers can be stored, covered in the refrigerator, for 2 days.