I happen to be a member of the traditional potato salad fan club (I love mine creamy), but am empathetic to those who aren’t so enthusiastic about the classic, mayonnaise-based side dish. Regardless of your preference, it’s fair to say that the potato salad is a summertime essential. After all, is a BBQ even a BBQ if you don’t have potato salad?
People who hate traditional potato salad may have a point: It can be quite rich. Especially when paired with something like a thick, juicy cheeseburger, a bucket of crispy fried chicken, or a big T-bone steak, a heaping scoop of something extra creamy and extra carby on the side can sometimes complicate the meal rather than complement it (especially if you’re eating poolside).
To make a potato salad that’s a little lighter, a LOT brighter, and completely mayo-free, a vinegar-based, German-style potato salad is a solid choice. But to give my vinegary, mayo-hater tater salad a much needed twist, I reach for an everyday ingredient many of us probably have chillin’ in our fridges right now: a jar of dill pickles.
The pickles are a double-duty ingredient here. There are chopped pickles in the salad, but the dressing begins with a splash of pickle brine. A little vinegar, olive oil, and yellow mustard (trust me on this) are whisked together to complete the extra pungent dressing. And, along with the chopped pickles, a bit of diced white onion and crunchy celery get tossed in with the salty, boiled potatoes.
Besides appealing to the mayo haters, this one’s also for the pickle-obsessed—the people who eat dill pickles straight out of the jar, straight out of the fridge (oh, is that just me?).
TO GO WITH
Additionally: The salty, sour pickles (and their juice), when paired with robust, sharp yellow mustard and crunchy white onions like this, taste like a trip to the drive-thru.
“It tastes like a Big Mac!” my editor Eric tells me.
Because of this, you may find that this potato salad ends up tasting so similar to a classic burger, you can almost smell the fries. The flavor profiles are all there (pickles, mustard, onions, potatoes of course)—and they’re all delicious. My Happy Meal–inspired potato salad might not come with a toy, but it does come with extra pickles. And though it may be a departure from the creamy classic, it’s a really big dill in its own right.
- 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup pickle juice
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup dill pickles, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup white onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
Mayo or no mayo in your potato salad? Let us know in the comments below.