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Healthy Potato Salad Recipes That Ditch the Mayo

Ah, potato salad. It's a must-have at a summer barbecue, but many traditional recipes are a no-no for your diet. Why? Because they contain gobs of mayo—which can rack up the calories and fat rather quickly. (FYI, one cup of regular mayo has 1,496 calories, 165 grams of fat, and 26 grams of artery clogging saturated fat!)

But you don't have to avoid this delish dish—just use these tips to help build a healthier and more flavorful potato salad. (While you’re at it, whip up one of these healthy and flavorful 10 Slaw Side Dishes That Put Coleslaw to Shame.)

The Potatoes: To make a potato salad, you need the key ingredient—potatoes. There are many types you can use, including the traditional russet or Yukon gold, red-skinned, or purple potatoes. You can also go the sweeter route by using sweet potatoes. To pack in more fiber, leave the skin on—except for Yukon gold (the skin can get tough, so you’re better off peeling it beforehand).

Potatoes are a starchy veggie, which means they do provide more calories over other non-starchy vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower). If you want to cut calories and add flavor at the same time, you can replace part of the potatoes with a lower calorie vegetable like parsnips or cauliflower.

The Add-ins: If you bulk up your potato salad with colorful veggies, you don’t need as many potatoes. Traditional potato salads call for green beans and peas, but you can add anything you like or that’s in season like radishes, carrots, red or yellow bell pepper, and broccoli. Fresh herbs can also punch up the flavor and color, plus they contain a handful of vitamins and minerals. If you choose to add in a high-calorie ingredient, like bacon and cheese, that’s okay too, but keep portions very small. High-fat ingredients can lend a ton of flavor, so you only need a very small amount.

The Dressing: Mayo-based dressings are typical in traditional potato salads. Most recipes call for loads of mayo (like one cup) which drowns the delicious flavor of fresh veggies. The first thing you can do to cut calories? Decrease the dressing amount by half. Then, slash calories even further by using a 50:50 combo of non-fat plain Greek yogurt and light mayo. Mayo-based dressings aren’t your only option, however. You can use a balsamic vinaigrette, pesto sauce, tahini, or Asian-inspired dressing to flavor your potato salad. Vinaigrettes, especially, have fewer calories than creamier dressings. When dressing your salad, aim for two tablespoons per serving. (Try one of these 10 Homemade Salad Dressings Way Tastier Than Store-Bought Drizzles.)

Recipes to Try: Here are five recipes to get you started. Once you get the hang of it, you can start creating your own just the way you like it.

Roasted Fingerling, Green Bean & Feta Salad with Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette


This potato salad uses small fingerling potatoes and a touch of feta to add flavor. It is dressed in a light vinaigrette that coats, but doesn't drown, the salad.

Tahini-Celeriac Potato Salad


Sesame seed paste (tahini) is a delicious way to dress this potato salad. Hearty celeriac root is used to complement the potatoes, and helps cut calories too.

Grilled Sweet Potato Salad


This sweet potato salad recipe combines sweet potatoes with a spicy oil-based dressing, forgoing calorie-laden mayo for a light, yet flavorful kick. It also calls for black beans, which add fiber, calcium, and protein.

Italian Potato Salad with Swiss Chard


Leafy greens like Swiss chard are a crisp, nutrient-dense addition to traditional potato salad. This Italian potato salad is dressed in a small amount of homemade vinaigrette—packed with flavor and much lower in calories than a mayo-based topper.

Warm Potato Salad with Bacon and Butter Sauce


Although the title of this recipe may make you question how healthy it is, the warm bacon salad uses such small amounts of both bacon and butter that the calories come in at under 300 per serving.

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