Simple Sides: Potato Salad, No Mayo!
By Dennis Linden
Competing schedules in the day-to-day lives of a busy modern family make it difficult to share a home-cooked meal together, but not impossible. In fact, with a little planning, cooking together can become a fun family event and learning opportunity. This feature will focus on providing a child or a group of children, working together under the supervision of an adult, with one uncomplicated, healthy and delicious side dish recipe. The dishes will be centered on seasonal fresh produce items; the recipes will always contain tasks will allow even the youngest kitchen helper to contribute to the family meal. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to judge the division of labor based on age and ability as well as to identify where adult attention might be especially needed.
Many of the recipes presented here will seem very basic -- this is by design. It is hoped that these simple preparations will provide the culinary foundation and confidence to inspire kids to try more challenging recipes as their experience in the kitchen develops. Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family unit at least once a week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a wonderful way to teach children some basic cooking skills and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories in all of your hearts forever.
July is potato salad season, which provides a great opportunity to teach your aspiring young cook how to prepare this iconic summer side dish. The conundrum is coming up with a recipe without all the empty calories contained in mayonnaise. Last July this feature presented two very tasty mayo-less potato salads, here’s another easy to make recipe that uses an assortment of potatoes varieties, some summertime sweet grapes and a little protein-packed yogurt to create another healthy version of this classic picnic side dish.
The recipe uses Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes, Red Potatoes and Melissa’s Gemstone® Potatoes. This assortment offers a variety of sizes, tastes and textures, plus the mix makes for a more visually interesting dish. Of course the choice of potato varieties used for this dish depends upon local availability. In fact, that choice could be made by your kitchen helpers during a group trip to the grocery store to gather all the ingredients for this dish!
A fun trick to share with your sous chefs is to hard-boil the eggs in the same pot with the boiling potatoes. Simply add them to the boil about 8 minutes into the potato cooking process for a perfect 12-minute egg. Plus teaching your helpers how to boil an egg takes that lesson off their universal bucket list of Things We All Must Know How to Do!
The recipe calls for non-fat yogurt, which works quite well and really offers a positive caloric contrast compared to mayonnaise. The flavor profile can be enriched by using either regular yogurt or the much thicker Greek yogurt, which adds more protein but at the cost of a few more calories. The point is there are many healthy and tasty options to mayo; demonstrating some of these options to your kids give them the tools to have healthier picnic for a lifetime to come!
1 pound Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes, diced
1 pound Organic Red Potatoes, diced
1 pound Gemstone® Baby Potatoes, halved
12 ounces Red Seedless Grapes, stemmed (leave grapes whole)
2 Hard Boiled Egg, peeled and diced
½ cup of Red Onion, diced
½ cup of Green Onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces of Plain Non-Fat Yogurt (for a richer, creamier texture use Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon of Fresh Thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon of Paprika
½ teaspoon of Salt
½ teaspoon of Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
What the kids can do
Measure out the salt, pepper and olive oil before starting.
Under adult supervision, cut up and measure out all the potatoes for boiling.
Remove grapes from stems, and then measure out 12 ounces, set aside.
Under adult supervision dice and sliced both kinds of onions.
Once cooled, peel and dice the hard boiled eggs.
In a large bowl, toss together the green and red onion, thyme, paprika, salt & pepper.
Add the yogurt, and then mix again until well combined.
Add all the potatoes and diced egg to the large bowl and mix together until well coated. Be careful not to mash the potatoes.
Just before serving sprinkle with additional some more fresh green onion dices and paprika.
What the supervising adult should do
Oversee all knife work if your young helpers are old enough or do it yourself and just let the kids do the measuring and mixing if too young for using a sharp edge.
In a large pot boil the potatoes until softened. This should take about 20 minutes; at the 12-minute mark put the eggs in the same pot for hard boiling. Allow all to cool completely before letting your kitchen helpers working with the eggs and potatoes. Once they have combined all ingredients in a large bowl, let chill for 2 hours before serving. Be sure that your helpers do not neglect the final garnish, as presentation should be a part of any cooking lesson.