What To Serve With Potato Salad? [Yummy Side Dishes, Desserts and More]

What’s a summer gathering without a potluck? Those wonderful summer traditions where everyone brings one dish for a mix and match buffet.  And what’s a summer potluck without potato salad?  That classic festive crowd-pleaser of sliced, steamed, and seasoned potatoes.

But potato salad at home is a different consideration. Unlike a potluck, you also need to make the main course.  And if you’re like me, it’s hard to think beyond the typical summer BBQ fare of hamburgers, hotdogs, and ribs. So I’ve put together a variety of main course dishes to serve with potato salad that are quick, healthy, and go with every season.

Potato salad is unexpectedly easy to pair with main courses if you begin to think of it simply as a potato side dish, not an iconic summer fare. And since you can choose between mayonnaise-based and vinegar-based potato salads, you have a lot of options for pairing.

All your favorite grilled dishes of fish, meats, and vegetables are suitable pairings for Summertime potato salad. For Fall, crisp lettuce salads and flatbreads nicely round out a meal.

During those chilly Winter months, roast chicken, beef, and pork are excellent accompaniments along with roasted vegetables.  And in the Springtime, it’s fun to be creative and add ham and peas, or sometimes even serve potato salad as the main course.

Types Potato Salads: German, French, Japanese, and American

 In the US, there are four popular types of potato salad, and it’s primarily defined by the form of dressing used.  German potato salads are vinegar-based. French ones also have vinegar as well as wine and mustard. 

 Japanese potato salads include mayonnaise and vegetables but no vinegar. And American potato salads, combining the best of both, has mayonnaise and vinegar.

 Of course, every family has its favorite recipe with unique ingredients, but these are the main generalities of each type.

Ideal Time To Eat Potato Salad 

 Potato salad is ideal for summer because the new potatoes, harvested just eight weeks after planting, are readily available in stores. These young potatoes are the best type for potato salad and are the main reason why it always tastes so good at your summer picnic.  

But you can make potato salad all year round, and when you pair it with seasonal foods, your meals will have that same peak of the season flavor.

Best Main Course To Server With Potato Salad 

1.Grilled Meats and Blue Cheese

 To go with these pick-of-the-season root vegetables, grilled meats of all types are a perfect Summertime choice.  

 With vinegar-based potato salads, I like grilled fish and chicken. You can add a simple butter sauce to your meat or just season it with your favorite herbs.

 With mayonnaise-based salads, try grilling a heartier meat, like lamb kebabs or pork tenderloin. There’s no need for a sauce; the robust flavors will be enough.

 Both types of potato salads would pair nicely with my favorite grilled summertime dish; steak topped with Roquefort. Just season the steak, grill it, and place some French Roquefort cheese on the warm steak and let it soften. For an even more decadent touch, you can even add a little Roquefort to your potato salad.

2.Ham and Corned Beef

Springtime is when I like to be more creative with my potato salads. With longer days, I want to branch out a little in the kitchen combining flavors in interesting new ways.

 One of my favorites is to make potato salad into a main dish. I have a post-St. Patrick’s Day tradition of using some leftover corned beef and adding it to a fresh batch of potato salad. With a crisp lettuce salad, dinner is ready in no time.

3.Sunday Roast and Baked Beans

If you think of potato salad as a typical potato side dish, you’ll find that it pairs nicely together with many of your routine winter dishes. A Sunday chicken roast or a weeknight pork tenderloin would be sure to get the approval of the entire table when served with potato salad.

I especially like vinegar-based potato salads with roasted meats because I’ll serve them warm or at room temperature. And these salads go well with another easy to serve crowd-pleaser of baked beans. Homemade or otherwise, you’ll have enough protein for the whole family.

4.Crisp Lettuce Salads

Autumn is an exciting time with many changes, making the dinner time preparation a little more challenging.  Because you can make potato salad and it will last in the refrigerator for a few days, be sure to have it in your repertoire.

During Autumn, I like to focus on quick and easy dishes that my family enjoys and use the abundance of fresh Fall vegetables from the fields.  

Lettuce and other salad greens thrive in the cool temperatures of Fall.  There are so many varieties of salad greens, from arugula to baby kale to romaine, that you can experiment and find which one is your family’s favorite. You’ll find that fresh, crisp lettuce flawlessly complements the creamier texture of the potatoes.

Best Sides To Server With Potato Salad 

5.Flatbreads

 And for a little more substance, you can include a lightly toasted flatbread. Many supermarkets sell ready-to-heat flatbreads in the deli section, and you can add a handful of roasted vegetables on top for added color and flavor. 

6.Peas & Green Beans

And Springtime is overflowing with sweet green vegetables. By adding peas or green beans, you’ll never make the same recipe twice.  

Take a look at your market this time of year, and you’ll find fresh sugar snap, snow peas, and French haricot vert green beans. Just steam them and add these to your salad. At a minimum, try defrosted sweet French petit pois.  Though located in your frozen food aisle, these small sweet peas will freshen up any springtime salad. 

For a special meal, combine both peas and ham.  A quick weeknight dinner is ready in moments.

7.Boiled Eggs

Hard-boiled, sliced, or chopped eggs are a perfect addition to potato salad, and you can even serve it as a main course gluten-free meal.

Toppings and Add-ins

Bacon

With a little sprinkling of bacon on top, it hardly resembles its chilled summertime cousin.  You can add bacon to all types of potato salad recipes.

Herbs and Condiments 

There are so many possibilities: olives, pickled carrots, corn, herbs like basil, and even poppy seeds would be delicious in either vinegar or mayonnaise-based potato salad. Try them all and see which ones you like best.

Spice

For an international flair, try a sprinkling of Indian Curry.  The turmeric will give the potatoes a gentle yellow hue and a soothing earthy taste. 

Desserts: Fruits, Sorbets, and Brownies

If your household is like mine, desserts are not seasonal.  If I’d let them, they’d have dessert 365 days a year (and an extra one for leap-year!) Because potatoes are quite filling, I would choose to pair lighter desserts.  

Summertime fruits like watermelon or peaches (maybe even lightly toasted on the grill) would make a lovely ending on a warm night.

 With the Autumn apple harvest, try one of my favorites, a baked apple. Just core and fill a ripe apple with nuts, raisins, and brown sugar and bake until it’s soft and scrumptious.

For a wintertime pairing with roasted meats, I would undoubtedly make a crisp. And if you add cinnamon or candied ginger to your crisps, you’ll get the added benefits of pleasing fragrances wafting through your house.  

Lemon sorbet would be a perfect ending with both types of potato salads for a bright spring day.  

And all year-round, you can’t fail to please with a batch of brownies. Just a square of this rich, sweet, chocolatey goodness is all you need to feel satisfied.

Vegan, Vegetarian & Gluten-free

Potato salad is a good starting point for those choosing a Vegan or Vegetarian lifestyle or are gluten-free. Potatoes do not have any gluten, and a vinegar dressing can be entirely plant-based.

It will depend on the additions as to whether your potato salad will be Vegan and vegetarian. Still, most steamed or roasted vegetables are ideal, and you can include other steamed root vegetables like rutabaga, turnip, and sweet potatoes for an even more substantial meal. 

Which Potatoes are Best for Potato Salad?

Potatoes come in two types, waxy and floury. The waxy potatoes like red, blue, purple, and fingerling potatoes are best for boiling and steaming. They hold their shape after they are cooked yet still have a creamy texture.

Floury or starchy potatoes, like russets, have a nuttier flavor and are best for baking, mashing, and frying.  When cooked, they readily absorb liquids like milk and butter.

Waxy potatoes are the best choice for potato salad. It’s crucial that the cooked potatoes in a salad stay in uniform shapes and not meld into a cold mashed soup.

Final Words

Potato salad is more than just for summer picnics or a supporting actor for backyard BBQs. With so many types to choose from and an endless variety of main dishes, you can include potato salads in your menus all year long.

For the warmer months, grilled dishes of fish, meats, and vegetables complement all types of potato salad. For the cooler months, crisp lettuce salads and flatbreads would make any potato salad the star of your show.

However, springtime potato salads are my favorite because you can pair them with meats like ham or corned beef. And I can be creative and mix in a cornucopia of vegetables and herbs.

But whatever time of year you are serving potato salad, and whether it’s German, French, Japanese, or American, don’t forget a little sweet dessert. It will be appreciated by everyone and just might become a family tradition.

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