Fall Cookbook Series, Week 1: Avocado Lover’s Potato Salad

Welcome to the very first post in my Fall Cookbook Series! I’ll be making and posting about a new recipe each week from the vegetarian cookbook I’ve selected for the months of September, October, and November. Each recipe will be from a different section of the book and range from salad all the way to dessert. I’ll be following the recipe as closely as I can, modifying it here and there if I need to, then giving it an honest review. Here’s the book I grabbed from the shelf for this series:

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It’s one of the best ones on my shelf because the author really nails the family aspect of the recipes. Each one can be modified to be more kid friendly, and he even includes opinions from his own children. Not one recipe in here is so ridiculously obscure that I can’t find the ingredients at one of my local grocery stores. I can’t say the same for some other veggie/vegan books on my shelf! So here we go.

September has arrived. We’re in our final days of summer, and now is the time to say our farewell to the avocado for a while. Okay, not really! But cold dishes like this one do belong in the summertime, and this is probably the first and last time I whipped it up for the rest of 2015.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 pound small red potatoes

Avocado Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • a few drops of hot sauce
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • small handful cilantro (optional)
  • water to thin (optional)

Assembly

  • 2-3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • small handful fresh parsley
  • fresh lettuce leaves

This recipe ended up being very similar to the avocado pesto I make for a favorite pasta of ours, so I felt very much in my comfort zone here. Plus, all of the ingredients were things I already had or at least regularly use.

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The first step is to rinse, scrub, and chop the potatoes. I chose not to peel mine since this was an optional step that didn’t seem worth the effort. Boil the potatoes for 20-30 minutes or until they are tender and easy to pierce with a fork.

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In the meantime, make the dressing. I simply added all the ingredients to a bowl, including the cubed up avocado, and smashed it all together. The book indicated that blending the ingredients would make for a more “mayonnaise-like” consistency which didn’t seem worth the effort of washing our blender (see how I like to cut corners?). I generally prefer sauces with a chunkier texture anyway, but if you’re up for it, blending the ingredients together works too.

I finished the dressing with time to spare, so I also started the plate assembly. The book says to serve the potato salad on a bed of lettuce. I chose fresh spinach instead. I not only prefer the taste of spinach, but it has much better nutritional value than lettuce, which I hardly ever purchase. I also omitted the parsley simply because my own plant had withered, and I wanted to save a few bucks.

When the potatoes are done boiling, rinse them in cold water and let them cool. Toss with the dressing and pour the potato salad over the spinach/lettuce bed. Slice up your second tomato and place the slices on top as garnish. Voila!

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Thoughts?

Awesome. I loved it. Again, it’s pretty similar to my avocado pesto, but I thought it was even better and I’ll probably use this recipe to tweak my own. I think this potato salad (minus the lettuce and garnish) would be an awesome alternative to bring to a gathering, as long as it can be kept cold of course! Levi was also a big fan. Isaac tried a bite then spit it out. Too flavorful for my 2 year old, which I was a little surprised by since he loves my avocado pesto. Speaking of cooking with a 2 year old at your feet, here’s how you do it:

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Since a potato salad is more of a side than a main dish, I served it with homemade garlic bread and corn on the side. It is still summer in Iowa after all! Here’s how I make my simple garlic bread:

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  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic per slice, spread thin and evenly over bread
  • TJ’s olive oil spray, light coating
  • Tuscan Italian (salt free) seasoning from Penzey’s Spices

I toss the bread in the oven at 385 for about 8 minutes for slightly crispy slices. How do you prepare your garlic bread?

Folks, please DO try this recipe at home! But don’t wait too long – summer is slipping away. Get ready for some fall-appropriate recipes coming your way in the coming weeks of this series!

Laura

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