5 secrets for the best potato salad

When summer picnic season rolls around, potato salad is king in our house. But not just any potato salad. The constant request from my husband is for this one Creamy Potato Salad recipe in particular (see below) because of, he says, the secret ingredient: pickles.

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The pickles (capers too) really are a genius addition, but there are some other tricks to the secret sauce beyond pickles that take potato salad to the next level. The best part is that the same tricks the EatingWell Test Kitchen devised to make your potato salad taste delicious also make it much healthier than classic versions. People will ask you for this recipe. I guarantee it. Happy picnicking!

Related: Summer BBQ Picnic Foods Made Healthier

5 Must-Have Potato Salad Secrets:

  1. Use waxy potatoes (i.e., fingerlings, red potatoes, Yukon Golds) instead of floury potatoes (i.e., russet) if you want them to hold their shape better when you toss the potatoes with the dressing.
  2. Lighten up the dressing by using a mixture of reduced-fat mayo and low-fat yogurt. The yogurt gives the salad a nice tang.
  3. Toss potatoes with a little good vinegar while they are still warm to infuse them with flavor.
  4. Add great flavor without fat: onions, chives, capers and gherkins add a lasting piquant finish.
  5. Sneak in some veggies: red bell pepper and celery are naturally low in calories and will give your salad an appealing crunch and color.

More Test Kitchen Tips:
7 Secrets for Cutting Calories and Fat
12 Tricks Every Home Cook Should Know

Creamy Potato Salad
Active time: 30 minutes | Total: 1 1/4 hours (including 1/2 hour chilling time) | To make ahead: the salad will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

2 large eggs
1 1/2 pounds fingerling or other small waxy thin-skinned potatoes (about 10), scrubbed
1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise or soy mayonnaise
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped celery (1-2 stalks)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons diced gherkin pickles
2 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1. Hard-cook eggs (see tip). Peel eggs and chop coarsely.
2. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with lightly salted water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain; let cool for about 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, oil, anchovy paste and pepper in a small bowl until smooth.
4. Cut potatoes into cubes and place in a large bowl. Add vinegar and salt; toss gently to coat. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, parsley, gherkins, capers, chives, chopped eggs and the mayonnaise mixture; toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes.

Makes 12 servings, 1/2 cup each.

Per serving: 119 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 40 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 1 g fiber; 321 mg sodium; 97 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (70% daily value), Vitamin A (20% dv).

To Make Hard-Cooked Eggs
Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at the barest simmer for 10 minutes. Pour off hot water and run cold water over the eggs until completely cooled. To peel, crack the shell, then roll egg between your palms to loosen shell. Peel, starting at the large end. Rinse under cold water or dip in water to remove bits of shell.

What's your secret for amazing potato salad?

Penelope is a web producer and writer for social & interactive media at EatingWell.com. When she's not busy geeking out at the computer, she loves cooking and trying new recipes on her friends. Some of her favorite foods are dark chocolate, coffee, apples, sweet potatoes and cheese.

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