Rather than mayonnaise and chopped egg, this potato salad relies on vegetables, herbs and vinaigrette for its flavor and texture. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

A creamy potato salad with chopped boiled egg, plenty of salt and pepper, and unabashed use of mayonnaise in it comforts us like little else. You might decide that’s all we need heading into summer.

On the other hand, a bunch of other vegetables embedded in potato salad provides a colorful side dish that gives us a wholesome serving of vegetables, and stands in for two or three other side dishes.

Start with boiled potatoes drained and liberally sprinkled while they cool with rice, cider, or white wine vinegar to brighten the salad’s flavor. You can substitute cauliflower for some of the potatoes if you want to ratchet back the carb content.

Add a green veggie — or two or three — like snap peas, green beans, broccoli cut small or fresh peas, all preferably blanched for a minute. You’ll need an allium like red onion, mild sweet onion, scallions or a big handful of chives. It’s good to include something pickled, like dilly beans or chopped dill pickle or any other vinegary, herby pickle.

Add celery or cucumbers for a fresh raw vegetable. You might enjoy a bit of fresh chopped red pepper for color, if you have any. Those who like capsicums, but not me, might welcome fresh chopped jalapenos.  

Parsley, dill, chives or tarragon, if you like any of them, add a pleasant freshness.

You might be fond of salad dressing for your potato salad, or simply mayonnaise. I usually add Dijon-style mustard to mayonnaise and thin it with a bit of rice vinegar and olive oil. It spreads really well and coats all the vegetables.

How to decide how much is enough? I count out one potato for each person, bearing in mind that a hollow-legged teen or burly big eater gets a large one and a small eater gets a small potato. After that, sometimes just a handful of each add-in suffices. One or two ribs of celery, a small red onion, a cup of peas, five dilly beans and so on. After all, this salad of yours is still potato salad and all additions ought to be to your taste and that of your household.

Offhand, I’d say, there is no right or wrong way to make it as long as you keep it fairly fresh and crunchy.

Fully Loaded Potato Salad

1 boiled potato per diner

Assorted fresh vegetables, lightly blanched, cut small, such as peas, green beans, broccoli or cauliflower

Assorted fresh raw vegetables, chopped, such as celery, cucumber, red or green peppers

Assorted pickled vegetables, chopped, such as dill pickles or dilly beans

Chopped onions or scallions

A sprinkle of chopped herbs, such as parsley, dill, tarragon or cilantro

Salad dressing, vinaigrette or creamy, to taste

Salt and pepper

Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and put into a bowl.

Add the rest of the vegetables and herbs, using more less according to your taste and preference for potato and vegetable balance.

Add the salad dressing and stir to coat.

Sample and add more dressing or salt and pepper, if desired.

Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...