Chive Pesto Potato Salad

Ready or not, here comes summer! You know it’s time when you reach for short sleeves more often than not and start to notice everything around you turning an even greener shade of green. We have already had more than a few beautiful days, to garden, hike, fish, or do whatever nature tells us to. But you know it’s really here when the breeze shouts the smoky aroma of grilling wafting over every backyard fence.

Memorial Day, the official, unofficial start to the summer is here. It’s time for the first big cookout of the season, and it’s your chance to fill the grill with all the meaty and otherwise mains – burgers, brats and hot dogs, or whatever else your heart desires. Flame-broil and grill as you please, but don’t forget about those all important sides. The thrill of the grill is just so much better with a full plate. 

Bring your best to the barbecue with this Chive Pesto Potato Salad. Dressed in a lemony olive oil pesto, it’s bright and delicious. With snappy green beans and asparagus and fork-tender potatoes, it’s a do it all dish that lets you serve your potatoes and your vegetables together. And it just tastes like the first bite of summer. Plant-based, gluten- and dairy-free, you can make it ahead. Serve it at room temp, but it’s also good warm. Or chilled. It keeps well for several days and continues to look every bit as perky as it did when you first made it. This is a recipe you will want to make all summer long. 

Cut your potatoes into similar-size chunks so that they will all cook the same. Depending on the size and shape of your potatoes, you may have to quarter, rather than halve, some of them. You can use either asparagus or green beans in this recipe, but I always use both. Cook extra, so that you can add as much as you like to your salad and refrigerate the rest to use for other meals. I used a 12-ounce microwaveable package of haricot verts from Trader Joe’s, microwaving the bag for 3 minutes, then transferring the beans into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them crisp and green. 

I make all sorts of changes with this recipe. I add more vegetables, so it’s not all about the potatoes. I skip the pine nuts altogether, but if nut allergies aren’t an issue for you, you could try other kinds of nuts, like walnuts, almonds or pistachios if you like. Seeds would work here, too, like pepitas or sunflower, if you want to try that.  I forgot the cheese once. It was still delicious. No mater what you do to this, it still comes out spectacular. 

Pour the dressing over the warm veggies, adjusting the amount as needed. You might find that you don’t need all of the dressing and can keep some refrigerated to dress another salad or some other vegetables. Try it with any vegetable on hand; peas, corn and broccoli florets are all good alternatives. Once you discover how easy, versatile, and downright delicious it is, you’ll be making it again and again. 

Dish out all the sides a red, white and blue paper plate can hold. Remembering and honoring all those who served. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

Chive Pesto Potato Salad

  • 2 pounds baby potatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces green beans
  • 8 ounces asparagus
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup packed parsley leaves
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

In a large pot, combine potatoes with enough salted water to cover by 2 inches; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to brisk simmer and cook until potatoes pierce easily with a fork and are tender in the center, about 8 to 12 minutes. Drain, then return potatoes to the pot and let rest until very dry, about 2 minutes. 

While potatoes cook, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Microwave green beans on high for 3 minutes, or until they are cooked but still somewhat crisp; transfer beans to ice water. Microwave asparagus with 1 tablespoon of water on high for 3 minutes; transfer asparagus to water with green beans, adding more ice if needed. 

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse pine nuts and garlic until finely chopped. Add parsley and pulse, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl until well combined. With machine running, drizzle in olive oil and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; mix well. 

Drizzle pesto over warm potatoes, using a rubber spatula to gently stir. Drain green beans and asparagus. Cut vegetables into 1-inch pieces for the salad, reserving any remaining vegetables for  another use. Add cut asparagus and green beans to potatoes, along with cheese, chives and lemon juice. Stir again, adding more pesto if needed. Taste and adjust with more salt and pepper. Mix well. Salad can be made ahead and kept refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and toss well before serving. 

-adapted from recipe by Kay Chun

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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