Adapting favourite recipes to be allergen-friendly for yourself or friends and family with allergies or ingredient sensitivities can be daunting – if you don’t know where to start!
Each month FBC member and nutritionist, Sondi Bruner, will take a favourite dish and show you how to adapt it to be allergen-friendly, as well as delicious and healthy. She’ll even toss in some vegetarian or vegan options. Today she shows us how to remix another summer classic - potato salad. Combine that with her burger and ice cream remixes and you've got a perfect summer meal that anyone can enjoy!
I was one of those weird kids who didn’t like hamburgers or pizza or anything that came along with a sauce. Needless to say, I was not the easier child to feed.
However, I don’t think you can blame me for turning up my nose at potato salads. The white, goopy dressing, the mushy potatoes, the green-gray hardboiled eggs – yuck! Potato salad was one of those dishes inevitably brought to the barbecues of my childhood and no one ever ate it, except maybe the flies.
Foodies today are reinventing the potato salad and creating versions that we all actually want to eat. Still, there are some allergy minefields with potato salad, mainly eggs and dairy.
A classic potato salad has some of the following ingredients:
- White Potatoes
- Mayonnaise, Sour Cream or Yogurt
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Green Onion
- Dill Pickles
Let’s talk about some ways that we can remove the allergens, and make potato salad a healthier choice, too.
Ditch the Mayo
My favourite egg-free, dairy-free dressing swap for potato salad are vinaigrettes. Whisk up a few tablespoons of olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and sea salt and toss it over your potatoes; herbs like basil, dill, chives and rosemary also add oomph and complexity. Vinaigrettes create a lighter dish, plus they won’t spoil as easily if they’re sitting out in the sun for awhile.
However, sometimes you simply want a thick, creamy dressing on your potatoes. If nut allergies aren’t an issue, try using a cashew cream. Soak one cup of cashews in water, then drain and rinse them in a strainer. Add the nuts to a blender, along with ¼ cup water, 2 tbsp lemon juice, garlic and salt to taste. You’ll end up with a thick, creamy, mayonnaise-like condiment that is the perfect replacement for mayo or sour cream (this trick also works with seeds like sunflower or sesame).
Plain non-dairy yogurt also mimics the consistency of mayo. There are plenty of store-bought options made from coconut, almonds, rice and soy, or you could try making your own.
Swap out the White Potatoes
Many of us eat a lot of white, refined foods like potatoes, bread, rice and pasta that disrupt our blood sugar levels. Why not switch things up and use another vegetable as the base for your potato salad?
Yams or sweet potatoes, despite their name, are lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes, and they contain double the amount of fibre. Yams are high in Vitamin C as well as beta-carotene, which is a phytochemical our bodies convert into Vitamin A for wound healing, vision and immunity.
You could also try cooked cubes of butternut squash, celery root, or rutabaga – or go for variety and use a mix!
Add More Veggies
There’s nothing wrong with adding celery, green onions or pickles to your potato salad. However, summer is a peak time of the year to revel in fresh vegetables, so let’s take advantage of the delicious flavours, as well as the extra vitamins and minerals.
Cherry tomatoes, radishes, cucumber, shredded zucchini, peas and finely chopped greens are great additions to potato salads, as are blanched or roasted vegetables like asparagus, eggplant, cauliflower and broccoli.
And let’s not forget the herbs, like parsley, dill, chives, oregano, tarragon, mint and more. Go wherever inspiration takes you!
Spice it Up
Dried spices add zip and zing to potato salads. Try curry powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin and coriander, chilli powder or Italian seasoning for an alternative to the customary potato salad flavours.
What’s your favourite potato salad? Share the recipe (or a link to the recipe) in the comments!
- 4 large yams or sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 tbsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 limes
- 2-3 green onions, chopped
- 2 handfuls of spinach, finely chopped
- Olive oil, for roasting the yams
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Drizzle the yams or sweet potatoes with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread the cubes onto two baking sheets and roast for 40 minutes, or until they are tender and golden.
- Remove the sheets from the oven and scatter the spinach over the potatoes, and toss so the greens wilt. Allow the vegetables to cool.
- Put the potatoes into a large bowl and add the chilli powder, salt, the juice of the limes, and green onions. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.