Potato Salad with Bacon and Buttermilk Dressing

August 27, 2012

I grew up loving my mother’s potato salad.  It was a simple mixture of boiled and peeled russet potatoes she cut into cubes then added chopped onion, celery, hard boiled eggs, and pickles.  The dressing wasn’t fancy — a generous dollop of mayonnaise mixed with enough juice from the pickle jar to make it tangy and tasty.  I’m thinking garlic salt was involved.  Me?

I don’t have a go to potato salad recipe because I’m more of a green salad lover.  But when the hubster’s sister invited us to spend a day at the beach with her this summer while they were camping there, I thought potato salad was in order.

I knew they wouldn’t have refrigeration, so needed to make something that wouldn’t spoil.  And then there was the consideration of continuing to make dishes that I could cut out as many bad calories as possible.  Is that possible when the main ingredient is potato?  Something easy, fresh, and with a bit of a tang.  Not quite German potato salad, but trying hard to get there.

If you need a salad for a weekend get together, then give Potato Salad with Bacon and Buttermilk Dressing a try.  Putting your own spin on it is always a good thing.

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Potato Salad with Bacon and Buttermilk Dressing

Serves 8

Dressing Ingredients

1/2 c. buttermilk

2 T white vinegar

1 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed

3 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T fresh thyme

salt & pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients

2 lbs. small red-skinned potatoes, boiled and cut into eighths

1/4 orange bell pepper, diced

2 slices bacon, fried and chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1/3 c. sun dried tomatoes

fresh thyme for garnish

Directions

  1. Prepare the salad dressing by combining all ingredients in a lidded jar and shaking vigorously.  Taste before adding seasoning, then set aside.
  2. Place the cooled potatoes in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  Lightly toss to combine.
  3. If transporting this potato salad for a picnic or otherwise, then do not add the dressing until just before serving.  Otherwise, add as much of  the dressing as desired and toss to coat the potatoes.
  4. Taste and then season before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • I love little potatoes boiled just enough so that they have a bit of bite.  I buy them in mesh bags at the market.  Sometimes they’re fingerlings, sometimes, Yukons, and other times a colorful mix of blue, red, and white.  They’re handy to have around for all kinds of things.
  • Yes, I leave the peelings on.  I can hear my mother’s voice about the vitamins in them every time I get ready to cook them.  My brain thinks, “Oh, they’re so colorful!”  But I also like the way they cook when the peelings are left on.  If you’re not a “peelings on” person, then boil them until they’re fork tender with the peelings on, let them cool by draining the hot water, then letting them sit in cold water before tearing the peelings off.  It’s pretty easy.
  • I love sun dried tomatoes and buy the ones already julienned in bags.  They haven’t been packed in oil, but you could use those as long as you drained the oil.  I love the flavor of those as well.
  • This was a good potato salad but I’m thinking that adding rings of peperoncini would be quite nice.  The sun dried tomatoes added a bit of zip, but I think I might like something more — which doesn’t mean I don’t like it.  I guess it depends on if you like a sassy potato salad or one that’s more on the calm side.  Sassy is good.  Perhaps my mother’s pickle juice has me programmed.
  • The bacon is great if you’re a pork lover, but leaving it out would work as well, of course.  I’d miss it.

 

More Potato Salad Recipes from Around the Web

Our Best BitesGerman Potato Salad

Blue KitchenPotato salad:  A classically done American classic

Kitchen Riffs Mustard Potato Salad

Skinny TasteBaby Red Potato Salad

Leite’s CulinariaRoasted Sweet Potato and Feta Salad

Andrea MeyersRed Potato Salad

 

 

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

bellini August 27, 2012

Potato Salad is the best accompaniment for any summer barbecue or picnic.

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kellypea August 28, 2012

With a side of beans :) Somehow they just go together in my mind — all juicy together!

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Kalyn August 27, 2012

Oh yes, this sounds so good. Potatoes are my downfall on South Beach! I don’t cook them but I couldn’t resist a salad like this if it was in front of me.

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kellypea August 28, 2012

Ha! Leave the peelings on and tell yourself about all those nutrients you’re treating your body to :)

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Deb August 27, 2012

I have tried and tried to recreate my Mom’s potato salad. She also used tangy pickle juice and bright yellow mustard. There never was a written recipe. I now believe my food memory is stronger than the reality of how the potato salad actually tasted! Your recipe with the tang of buttermilk and a touch of bacon is enticing and most perfect for a summer outing!

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kellypea August 28, 2012

Thanks, Deb. My mom’s actually on her way over right now, so I should double check with her about how good my memory is. And making a bit of potato salad would be fun while she’s here today!

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Sharon D. August 27, 2012

I love this new twist on Potato Salad. That’s usually what I’m asked to bring when my family gets together for Summer Picnics. The fact that it doesn’t need refrigeration, and has a different tang to it is very interesting. I will definitely be trying this recipe very soon.

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kellypea August 28, 2012

Thanks, Sharon — I’d definitely be interested in knowing how it turns out and/or if you put your own spin on it. I seem not to be able to avoid doing that as you know :)

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Cooking with Michele August 27, 2012

I know most people think of potato salad as a summer thing, but I get most of my potatoes in the winter months as part of the cold storage winter distribution from my CSA farm. Somehow the potatoes just feel right to eat in the colder months, but I like your idea of lightening up the dressing with the buttermilk dressing!

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kellypea August 28, 2012

Michele, you are so right — root veggies in general. So now that you mention it, it is interesting that potato salad shows up as a summer dish. But I know I wouldn’t find potato salad appetizing in the winter — even in our temperate climate. Conditioning!

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Joanne August 27, 2012

I’m not big on mayo in any form and especially not in my salads so I’m LOVING this dressing! I always love finding new mayo-less salad options. :)

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kellypea August 28, 2012

Joanne you’ve got such healthy things posted all the time — I should be scanning your archives to see what dressing ideas you’ve come up with :)

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joey August 29, 2012

Love me a good potato salad and you’ve reminded me that I haven’t had some in while…to be rectified soon! This one sounds absolutely delicious!

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Sues August 29, 2012

I never make potato salad, but now I totally want to! I love the addition of bacon and buttermilk dressing!!

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kellypea September 2, 2012

There’s a cult following for potato salad. Seriously. Who knew? Thanks for stopping by!

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Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking August 30, 2012

The only potato salad I grew up with had chopped boiled eggs in it. Always. The rest of the ingredients changed but potatoes and eggs were always there.
Hope you had a great day at the beach, the salad sounds delicious!

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kellypea September 2, 2012

Roxana — ditto: potatoes, pickles, eggs. Always.

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The Food Hound August 30, 2012

I think peeling things is a total waste of time :) I just peel things for the babe, but I’ll stop once her teef come in. Bacon in potato salad is such a must for me! Wait, bacon in ANYTHING is a must for me! This looks really nice and light- although ‘light’ is not a word I usually like to describe food, gloppy-mayo-filled potato salad isn’t really my bag. The pepper and tomatoes add a nice unique touch, too!

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kellypea September 2, 2012

“Teef.” hahaha! And I agree about peeling. Good thing there’s a lot of vitamins going on because otherwise the only excuse I have is that I’m Lay-zee. :)

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Pam August 30, 2012

It looks and sounds wonderful!

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kellypea September 2, 2012

Thanks, Pam!

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Kim August 30, 2012

Buttermilk is a newer ingredient for me. Not sure why.

So of course, I had a kale salad the other day and it was dressed with buttermilk. And I loved it. But I’m not entirely sure how to recreate it. Seeing a version here, I might be inspired to give it a go. And who knows, maybe I’ll do a potato version, too, since we have a few of those lying around.

Thanks!

[K]

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kellypea September 2, 2012

Kim, I like buttermilk because it’s got a terrific tang and it lacks so much of the fat that is in many salad dressings. I go back and forth between yogurt and buttermilk and like both. I’ll have to try kale with a buttermilk dressing. I know I’d like it.

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Cathy at Wives with Knives August 31, 2012

I prefer a potato salad without a lot of mayo and this version looks delicious with bacon and sun dried tomatoes. Perfect timing with the holiday weekend coming up. Have a lovely holiday, Kelly.

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kellypea September 2, 2012

Cathy, you can actually taste the potatoes in this recipe instead a spoon full of gloopey mayo. Thanks — hope your holiday weekend was great!

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Jenny (VintageSugarcube) August 31, 2012

Kelly- That potato salad looks gorgeous and I love that it’s healthy. I am a potato salad freak, especially the mayo laden kinds like your moms. Since I’m trying to shed some el bee’s, I’m going to give yours a try. And love that it’s perfect for outside picnics. Have a great Labor Day weekend.

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kellypea September 2, 2012

Thanks, Jenny! “El Bees” hahahah! Love that. I call them lubs. I have another potato salad recipe coming soon — made with sweet potatoes. So tasty!

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Pooja Arora September 4, 2012

I’m excited to find this site. I wanted to thank you for your time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every little bit of it and I have you saved to fav to check out new things in your website.

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kellypea September 5, 2012

Thanks, and welcome! I’ll look forward to seeing your posts as well. :)

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