This past Saturday I took a much overdue trip to the farmer’s market. Given my obsession with food, cooking and healthy eating, you’d think this little corner of Guelph would be part of my weekly routine. Sadly I only make it out once per season, but am always glad I made the trip. (To be fair, it’s only open Saturday mornings until noon!)
There’s always something interesting to be found at the farmer’s market, and it’s usually stuff you don’t really get to see at the grocery store. On this trip I found some beautiful fresh peas in the pod, a bunch of perky green onions with bulbous white bottoms and, after long last, fresh corn tortillas. I’ve been searching my city high and low for these for ages! Stay tuned for my next taco recipe featuring them.
It being summer, I’ve had potato salad on the brain lately. So I decided to combine tender fingerling potatoes with the sweet fresh peas and tie it all together with a lime-flavoured Greek yogurt dressing.
As far as summer sides go, potato salad is one of those dishes that’s just begging for a healthy makeover. It’s not the potatoes themselves as spud haters would be inclined to believe. Plain, skin-on potatoes are highly nutritious and a great whole food option if you’re trying eat fewer processed foods. What is it then? Surprise, surprise – it’s the dressing!
When used in small amounts, a little bit of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip is a nice touch. Check out the sriracha-spiked mayo I made for these banh mi veggie dogs. But traditional creamy potato salad is made with a generous–and I mean generous–dose of full-fat mayonnaise (up to one cup in most recipes), making even the tiniest serving a serious calorie bomb loaded with saturated fat.
I’m by no means a math person, but it helps to think about the numbers – if a recipe designed to serve four people calls for one cup of regular mayo (which contains just under 1500 calories), the resulting potato salad would provide about 375 calories per person – JUST FROM THE DRESSING! This doesn’t even count the energy-dense potatoes underneath. We of course know that (healthy) fats can be a good thing, but this unfortunately isn’t one of those times.
Ready for some good news now? Like so many other classic summer foods, even potato salad can be transformed into a dish you can feel good about eating. The secret to a creamy, tasty potato salad that pairs well with other summery foods like barbecued meats, seafood and vegetables is…wait for it…Greek yogurt!
You might have noticed that I cook with Greek yogurt quite a lot. I’ve added it to devilled eggs, turned it into a ranch dipping sauce, spooned it over sweet potato rounds along with black beans and avocado…the list goes on. The reason I use it so much is because it’s not only creamy just like mayo but has a pleasant tang that pairs well with so many different flavour profiles.
It also happens to be rich in protein and much lower in calories and fat than mayo. Ready for the numbers? The brand of Greek yogurt I have in my fridge right now (plain, nonfat) contains just 130 calories per cup (!). Yeah, not too shabby :)
What side dishes are you cooking up this summer?
- 1 lb fingerling potatoes
- 1 lb peas in their pods, shelled (or 1 cup frozen peas, thawed)
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are almost fork-tender. Add the peas and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more. Drain, halve the potatoes lengthwise and set aside to let cool.
- In a large bowl add the Greek yogurt, lime juice and zest and stir to combine evenly. Gently fold in the potatoes, peas and half the green onions and cilantro; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining green onion and cilantro on top, season with more black pepper (if desired) and serve immediately.