Coated young potatoes in pesto for Pesto Potato Salad

Pesto Potato Salad

September 25
3 min read

Summer Potatoes + Pesto – A Tasty Match!

When another BBQ with traditional potato salad just wont do, I like to turn to this mayo-free recipe that uses a versatile basil pesto to that is great as a side dish during the summer. Or preserve summer basil and enjoy it year-round to recreate those warm-season memories.

The Modern Potager Kitchen Garden

The joy of the modern potager is getting to expand your culinary skills and make restaurant-quality meals at home. Picking fresh ingredients from the garden and turning them into something that awakens your tastebuds and thrills is really what life is all about.

Mix of red and yukon gold potatoes ready to be boiled for Pesto Potato Salad
Tossing boiled red and yukon gold potatoes for Pesto Potato Salad

While potatoes have been eaten for many ages, they were not the most popular vegetable throughout many cultures until more recent history. Today the potato is the fifth most important crop worldwide, after wheat, corn, rice and sugar cane.

The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C. Spanish Conquistadors in Peru discovered the flavors of the potato and transported them to Europe. At first, the vegetable was not widely accepted. Sir Walter Raleigh introduced potatoes to Ireland in 1589, but it took nearly four decades for the potato to spread to the rest of Europe.

In the U.S., potatoes slowly spread throughout the northern colonies in limited quantities, and did not become widely accepted until they received an aristocratic seal of approval from Thomas Jefferson, who served them to guests at the White House.

Today there are over a thousand types of potatoes and have subsequently become an integral ingredient to many of the world’s cuisines.

Basil Pesto in a bowl for Pesto Potato Salad
Coated young potatoes in pesto for Pesto Potato Salad

Lemon Basil Pesto Potato Salad

Serves 4-6

Inspired by Royal Potato Salad from Plenty


2 lbs new potatoes, mix of red, purple, and gold, rinsed but not peeled
1/2 cup scallion greens, thinly sliced
1 cup petite peas, fresh or frozen (optional)
1 cup basil leaves, plus small handful for garnish
1/2 cup parsley leaves, plus small handful for garnish
1/2 cup pine nuts, *or use pistachios, almonds, or walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 garlic cloves, smashed  *I love to use our garlic confit*
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Small bunch of basil (or mint) leaves
Sea salt + freshly ground black pepper

1) Place eggs in a sauce pan and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 7 minutes for a perfectly soft boiled egg, or 10 minutes for a hard-boiled egg (your preference). Once cooked, transfer to an ice bath and let cool. Peel once chilled.

2) Blanch peas in boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Transfer to an ice bath and let cool. Once chilled, drain and set aside.

3) In a large pot of boiling water, cook young potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until just cooked through (but not falling apart!).

4) While potatoes are cooking, add basil, parsley, nuts, Parmesan, and garlic into a high-speed blender or food processor. Blitz until a paste forms. Add oil and pulse until you get a runny pesto. Pour into a large mixing bowl adding lemon juice and lemon zest.

5) Drain potatoes, and slice in half as soon as they are cool enough to handle (but still warm). Add to the bowl with the pesto. Gently toss to coat all potatoes with pesto mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Add reserved basil and peas (if using) mixing gently with potatoes. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and sprig of basil leaves.


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