Day Ten: One Potato, Two Potato….Salads, That Is!

We had a good hike this morning–one with a rather steep gradual incline, and we’re going for a paddle in the kayak later today, so this afternoon, I was looking for something healthy, but substantial for dinner.

I have a bag of those fabulous little thin-skinned red potatoes I’ve been dying to use, so I was looking for a recipe that includes them. I had high hopes for this recipe from FatFreeVegan, which sounds delicious (and also has quite a few very high reviews).

wpid-20150803_130400.jpgAccording to the recipe, you just brown the potatoes in a pan sprayed with cooking oil for about ten minutes, then toss in some chickpeas for a few more minutes….


Then toss in the rest of the ingredients, followed by a handful of spinach (though I used Swiss chard because my spinach isn’t harvestable yet.


Sounds great, right?

wpid-20150803_133201.jpgThe problem is that…even with cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, fresh rosemary and basil…it was kind of dry and not super tasty.

What it needed was some freakin’ dressing.

Now, I happened to have three (recently made) vegan dressings in the fridge, so I tried an experiment and tossed a bit of the hot salad with a bit of each of the three dressings:

wpid-20150803_133728.jpgThe Caesar Chavez dressing (left) kind of overpowered all the other flavours; the cashew cream (right) was actually pretty good, but the clear winner was the vegan ranch dressing I made a few days ago!

I tossed the rest of the warm potato salad with a couple of tablespoons of the vegan ranch dressing while it was still in the pan. The dressing warmed up a bit and the result is really delicious!


Obviously, the recipe is no longer fat free (which is the point of the recipes on FatFreeVegan), but the vegan ranch dressing is low-fat, and I used only enough to coat the salad very lightly.

So…here’s my adapted recipe:

Warm Potato and Chickpea Salad tossed with Vegan Ranch Dressing

Ingredients (Doubled and slightly adjusted from the original recipe)

8 ounces unpeeled red nugget potatoes, cubed into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup cooked canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup red pepper, chopped small

2 Tbsp red onion, chopped

4 crimini mushrooms, chopped (optional)

a couple of handfuls of Swiss chard

cooking spray

1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. cayenne

salt, pepper to taste

Directions (these are taken directly from the original recipe):

1. Heat up a heavy-bottomed nonstick pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Once the pan is hot, add cubed potatoes, spray them with some more cooking spray, stir with a spatula to distribute them evenly over the pan, and cover with a lid. Cook for 8-10 min, stirring every 2-3 min to prevent the pieces from sticking to the pan. Meanwhile, chop onions, pepper and mushrooms.

2. The potatoes are going to be almost done when they form a nice brown crust, and slide easily across the pan. If you pierce a piece with a fork, it should go in easily. Once the potatoes reach this point, add chickpeas, cover with a lid, and cook 2 min more.

3. Remove the lid, add onions, peppers, mushrooms, salt and all of the spices. Continue to cook another 2 min, stirring often.

4. Stir in a handful of spinach [or Swiss chard!] leaves. As soon as they begin to wilt, take the pan off the heat. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped fresh basil leaves [I didn’t think the basil added to the flavour, so I didn’t include it.

Now, back to my adjustments: toss the salad with a few tablespoons of vegan ranch dressing/dip (just enough to coat):

Vegan Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup low-fat Veganaise
1/2 cup almond milk
juice from half a lemon
handful of fresh chives
handful of fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup white onion
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Blend all that up in the bullet. It’s better if left in the fridge overnight. This recipe makes a cup and a half and the dressing is about 15 calories a tablespoon (about 28 calories per liquid ounce), so it’s not that bad at all.


Plus, it tastes SUPER rich and delicious (almost like the Keg salad-bar dressing used to taste in the seventies)!!

So….the verdict for the hot potato salad–post adjustments–is 6.5/10.

To be honest, it occurred to me as I was tasting this adapted version that the dressing would likely taste even better on a regular, cold potato salad (which J loves). So I boiled up about a pound of the little nugget potatoes, chopped four green onions, and three celery stalks and mixed it all up with about a half cup of the vegan ranch dressing. Then I topped it with a sprinkling of paprika (just like mom used to do).


I served a bit of both on a bed of freshly picked butter lettuce, but neither of us ate the hot version. As for the cold version–yum–8/10…would do again!

And now the wind’s come up, so it looks like we’ll have to postpone our paddle (or risk being soaked and tipped!!). 😦

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