Roasted Pepper Pesto Potato Salad

by Heather on June 8, 2011

Say that title 3 times as fast as you can. I dare you.

When it comes to potato salad I have mixed feelings.  I mean, I like it because it has potatoes and traditionally has mustard and pickles.  I like that.


But, as Jessica said, mayo is of the devil (and thank goodness she inspired the roasting-the-potatoes-part of this salad!). Granted she didn’t really say exactly that and I might be over-exaggerating, but the truth of the matter is that most people make traditional potato salad with WAY too much mayo and not nearly enough mustard.  Or other flavor at all for that matter.


Except for my mom.  I guess 18 years of a kid griping about too much mayo in the potato salad can grate on your nerves enough to put a little less in there.  Who knows.  Or maybe it’s just because everything mom makes is always better.  Probably more like that.

Besides being a mayo-hater, I’m also what you could call a pesto snob.  Some people (read: restaurants) just don’t make it right!  There’s too much oil, not enough cheese, practically no basil, or – horror of horrors – it ends up tasting somewhat like mayo.  GASP!  Trust me, I’ve tasted basil pesto that tastes like someone mixed mayo in there.  No idea how that happens, but it’s enough to force me to make my own.


So.  I made my own.  And I am shocked at how crazy good it was!  I mean, I knew it would be good…you can’t go wrong with good ingredients…but I didn’t realize that I would eat almost 2 pounds of red potato salad on my own because I couldn’t put the fork down.  OK OK fine, I didn’t eat that much.  But judging by the food baby in my tummy last night you would’ve thought it was 10!


  • 2 lbs red potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 Vidalia onion, sliced (you could really use any onion, but Vidalias are magical)
  • 6 mini bell peppers or 2 regular sized bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • salt (about 2 tsp)

Turn your oven on to broil.  Spray a cooking sheet with nonstick spray and place all of the peppers on it.  Roast the peppers under the broiler for about 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, until the outsides are slightly charred and starting to wrinkle.  Carefully move them onto a plate and let sit.  Reduce the heat to 400.  Mix the potatoes, onion slices, and 2 Tbsp of olive oil and spread evenly on the same pan.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt.  Roast at 400 for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the potatoes start to brown and the onions caramelize.  Make sure you use a fork to check for doneness!  Meanwhile cut off the tops of the bell peppers and jalapeno, trying to keep as much of the juice as you can (this is what helps us not use so much olive oil.  I also like to keep the skin on because it adds so much flavor).  Make sure you do remove as many seeds as you can, especially with the jalapeno.  Place in a food processor with the walnuts, cheese, garlic, and the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Process until thick and smooth, pulsing when you need to.  Place the pesto in the bottom of a bowl and dump the potatoes and onions on top.  Stir until combined!  Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold, but just make sure you serve it!

And whaddaya know, it’s vegan too!  See, mayo-less potato salad is killer with no mayo.  Just ask my still-full stomach.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Salah@myhealthiestlifestyle June 8, 2011

yummmm! Pepper pesto? Sounds awesome to me!


2 Jessica @ How Sweet June 8, 2011

My mouth is watering… this looks fabulous friend! Thanks for the shout out too. :)


3 Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg June 8, 2011

This looks so good!!! I love that first pepper pic (haha) too :-)


4 Gina@Running to the kitchen June 8, 2011

this looks awesome! cool spin on potato salad!


5 Mama Pea June 8, 2011

How about I say, “Yum, yum, yum” as fast as I can?


6 Emily @ A Cambridge Story June 8, 2011

Yuuum!! What a great way to freshen and spice up potato salad (but, btw, is it vegan with the parmesan cheese?!)


7 Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery June 8, 2011

OOoooooooh man. That looks so good.


8 dana @ my little celebration June 8, 2011

Yum! Looks so amazing! And I love how the pepper picture at the top matches the colors in your header :D.


9 Lesley Lifting Life June 8, 2011

This sounds fabulous! Definitely going to be bookmarking this one … yum!


10 Lisa June 8, 2011

haha I’m a mayo hater too! People think I’m weird because I make my tuna with mustard instead of mayo! :-D


11 The Teenage Taste June 8, 2011

This looks fabulous! Coming from a fellow mayo-hater…thank you! :-D


12 Melinda @ cooking al[a] mel June 8, 2011

Yum!! I love roasted red peppers..and I hate mayo, too! This could be a potato salad I could fall in love with..must try it!


13 Rachael June 9, 2011

That looks spectacular! You’ve just fixed my lunch menu for today. :)


14 Kathy - Panini Happy June 9, 2011

While I don’t mind mayo, great flavor trumps everything and it sounds like this potato salad has tons of it!


15 Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum June 9, 2011

This looks like THE PERFECT balance of creamy and not creamy… I love just imagining the taste of the red pepper pesto and roasted potatoes and mustard. Heavenly!


16 Summer June 9, 2011

Fellow mayo hater, right here! I make an awesome potato salad with Greek yogurt, heavy on the mustard and pickles. But this looks uh-mazing—I’ll have to check it out!


17 Meagan June 14, 2011

I made this last night and it was AMAZING!!! Thanks for sharing so many great recipes!


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