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Pesto Potato Salad

Basil is better than basic any day.

I remember making a bowl of pesto pasta long ago at my mother-in-law’s house and when she saw how much pesto I had scooped out of the tub, she told me, “You know, you only need like a spoonful of that.” On this, we’ll agree to disagree. The thing about pesto is that I can’t get enough of it. I love basil — even just the smell of it — so when it’s packed into a sauce with pine nuts, rich olive oil, and nutty parm, it’s a dream come true. That’s why I love this potato salad — it has more than enough pesto to go around.

Could you buy a jar of pesto and toss it with some boiled potatoes and call it a day? I mean, you could. But here’s the thing — jarred pesto never ever truly compares to one you make on your own with fresh and bright fragrant basil. And it only takes a few minutes, so why not?

And this one you can make while your potatoes boil, so it’s not like it’s adding any extra time. Just take some basil, pine nuts, parm, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil and zhoosh it together until it’s nice and saucy. Then, toss it with the tender potatoes, a little bit of mayo to make things creamier, and some sunny lemon zest. Easy!

Easy and delicious. As far as I’m concerned, this blows basic potato salad right out of the water. I’d rather have this pesto version at every potluck and picnic I attend, which just gives me good reason to make it all the time!

Serves 6

10m prep time

20m cook time

Rated 5 out of 5
Rated by 1 reviewers
  • 2 lbs baby or new potatoes, halved
  • 2 cups fresh basil, divided
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts, divided
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot of salted cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender, 15-20 minutes.
  2. While potatoes boil, make the pesto by adding the 1/12 cups of the basil, 1/3 cup of the pine nuts, parmesan, lemon, garlic and a pinch of salt to a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped.
  3. Then, drizzle in oil while blending constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Drain potatoes and add to a large serving bowl. Add pesto, mayonnaise, and lemon zest and gently stir to coat potatoes in sauce.
  5. Adjust seasoning as needed and serve with remaining basil leaves (torn) and pine nuts. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cupful of Kale.

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