A green space for urban gardeners

No small potatoes: garden herbs boost flavor of picnic side dish

Potato salad with basil pesto and dill is a tasty cookout side dish (see recipe below in post).

Potato salad with basil pesto and dill is a tasty cookout side dish (see recipe below in post).

Memorial Day weekend marks the official opening of Chicago beaches and the unofficial start of picnic season. Besides hitting the shores, we also hit the parks — armed with grills and coolers — for our first taste of summer in the city.

It’s not as warm as it could be this year (low 60s to 70 degrees), but the heat generated by all that outdoor cooking should raise the temperature. And then, the fireworks.

Along with the meats thrown on the barbie, no picnic is complete without the full complement of yummy side dishes, and potato salad is one of my personal favorites.

I make several different potato salads, from the Southern-style one I grew up with that incorporates diced sweet pickles to a tangy mustard-dill version to an herb version that’s flavored with basil pesto and a dash of dill. I made some of the latter today and had a friend taste-test it for an objective opinion. He liked it, he really liked it (smile)!

Here’s the recipe:

Potato salad with pesto and dill
(makes four 1/2-cup servings)
Ingredients: 1 lb. small Yukon gold potatoes, 2 hard-boiled eggs, 1/8-cup finely chopped red onion, 1/8-cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper, 1/2-cup spicy mayo, 1/4-cup regular mayo, 1 tbsp. chopped dill, 2 tbsp. basil pesto, 1/2 tsp. honey, pinch of dry mustard, garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation: Wash and scrub potatoes, place in pot and cover with water. Turn heat on high under pot and set timer for 20 mins. Add eggs to potatoes in pot and boil for an additional 15 mins. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 mins. Pour off hot water and add cold tap water to cover potatoes and eggs, then immediately pour off and add more cold water to cover. Let potatoes and eggs sit in water for 10 mins. to cool. Drain, let dry and then chop potatoes in chunks (no need to remove skin); peel and dice eggs. Mix mayos, pesto, honey, onion, bell pepper, dill and dry mustard, together in large bowl. Fold in potato and egg, add salt and pepper to taste, then refrigerate for at least two hours (flavor is better if you leave it overnight) and be sure to keep it in the cooler at outdoor barbecues. Enjoy!

[Note: I make my own basil pesto, but you can purchase a pre-prepared version from the grocers. Use herbs from your garden when ready for harvest (mine aren’t yet), or buy fresh packaged herbs for this dish as I did.]

I’d love to hear how you spice up your summer picnics by making dishes using ingredients from your garden, so please leave a comment with your kitchen tips.


  lailablogs wrote @

Looks really delicious .. Laila ..

  Stephanie wrote @

Yummy potato salad 😉 I will keep and cook this recipe for a party. I like the fact that you cook both potatoes and eggs in the same pot. Happy Memorial Day!

  cindeesgarden wrote @

I love potato salad too.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I had to hop over and see yours too!(-: Have a great weekend!

  Maureen wrote @

This sounds absolutely delicious… now you know that if I actually COOKED, I’d be all over this. I love basil and pesto and potato salad, so I surely would love this! Maureen

  Kathleen wrote @

So funny to read this post. I made potato salad yesterday for the first time since last summer! I boil my eggs & potatoes together too. I did not add anything from my garden (it’s just getting going) but it was still delicious and definitely made it feel like summer just eating it. It didn’t feel very summery outside tho ~ it’s been a cool, overcast, rainy Memorial Day for us in Colorado.

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