Archives for posts with tag: picnic

This title might make it sound like I have a vendetta against mayonnaise.  It’s just a temporary “bye-bye.”  Actually, mayo and I are fine, except for the fact that I like to dollop mayo on fries like it’s no one’s business.  But other than that, I have little qualms with it.  I do like the classic potato salad.  Hmmm, let me rephrase that.  I do like the classic potato salad, if it’s made with red potatoes, tons of tarragon and other yummy herbs.  See, I don’t have any hang-ups.  You all must know of the classic potato salad, that is white, made with regular potatoes, vinegar, and mayo, I think.  I have not ventured into making that version, because of the no herbs thing, which does not fly in my books.  Just letting you all know (if you didn’t already).

In my mayo-less version, there are of course potatoes, baby new potatoes that were roasted rather than boiled for extra flavor and caramelized goodness.  By the way, this potato salad was in no way a planned recipe.  It was the outcome of hunger and a fridge raid.  Back to the ingredients, spring asparagus is EVERYWHERE, so rather than just roasting it and serving it as a side, I thought to make it part of this potato salad.  Then, I started thinking of Salad Nicoise, minus the boiled eggs, minus the tuna or salmon, and minus the haricots verts.  Essentially, I just conceptualized Kalamata olives and potatoes together in some form and did not have all the ingredients for Salad Nicoise.  Thus, the olives went in too.  The next biggest decision would be which herbs I would use.  Mint and chives are staples of mine and always in my fridge (along with parsley, thyme, and cilantro).  I crumbled in some feta and sliced in red onion, but leave these out if you do not care for them.  I love the purple pop the onion adds to the dish.

Through this, a new version of potato salad was born.  I imagine it would be great on a picnic. I would have rather been on a picnic while eating it.  Alas, the kitchen table had to suffice.  I will be making this potato salad again.  A new recipe, to my repertoire and it was so easy to come up with.  This makes me very happy.

The Bye-Bye Mayo Potato Salad with Asparagus, Kalamatas, Chives, and Mint

Serves 4 (as a side)


1 1/2 pounds of baby new potatoes, washed and dried

1 small bunch of asparagus

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted (or as many as you would like)

1/2 a small red onion, sliced finely

1/4 cup crumbled feta, optional (good quality)

10-15 springs of chives, chopped

handful of mint, chopped

1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil + extra for coating the potatoes and asparagus (good quality)

juice of 1 lemon

1 clove of garlic, minced and mashed

salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Season the potatoes and asparagus with salt and pepper.  Lay the potatoes on a sheet tray and put them into the heated oven for about 45 minutes or until fork tender.  When there are 10 minutes left on the cooking time of the potatoes add the asparagus to the oven.  In the meantime, whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice with salt, pepper, garlic, chives, and mint, set aside.  When the potatoes and asparagus have cooled slightly, cut the asparagus on an angle into 1 1/2″ pieces.  Next, toss the potatoes, asparagus, red onion, Kalamata olives with the lemon/herb dressing.  You may not have to use all of it.  Add in the crumbled feta on top.  You may add more chives and mint on top.  Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.


Slaws are usually associated with summer and barbecues, but they do not have to be.  This one is easily prepared with almost anything out of your pantry.  There are no set rules that you have to use what I used.  To be honest, I alternate the ingredients in this slaw all the time based on what I have on hand and what is in season.  Of course, there are a few holy grail items that I always include; black beans, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, chives, nuts, apples.  But, other than that use your imagination and your taste-buds (that goes without saying).  This slaw packs great nutritional value as well.  After a long workout you feel nourished and revived if you eat this.  Food for your soul, if you will.

This is great for a luncheon, or a potluck.  It holds up quite well at room temperature.  I love all the vibrant flavors and colors.  I swear, I should just make the move to Mexico.  I am so drawn to cilantro, jalapenos, and limes.  I will have nothing in my fridge but all of those items will most definitely be there.  It might be my Pakistani background that attracts me to these bright and bold flavors.  Whatever it is, I can never get enough.

Another plus to this slaw is that it requires hardly any effort.  I take my handy mini-food processor and the dressing is done in seconds.  The chopping is not at all exhaustive and is done in 5 minutes.  A quick toss and you have a cheerful and delicious dish.

Black Bean Slaw

Serves 3-4


2 cups blacks beans, soaked overnight and cooked (canned is fine too, but wash and rinse)

2 cups broccoli slaw

1/2 a red onion, chopped (omit or use less if you do not like the raw onion flavor, another option would be scallions)

1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1 apple, diced (leave the skin on)

1/2 an English cucumber or 2 Lebanese cucumbers, diced (leave the skin on)

handful dried cranberries

1/2 a cup on dried apricots, diced

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (or more, if you would like)

salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

For the dressing

1 clove of garlic

15 sprigs of chives

handful of cilantro leaves

1/2 a jalapeno, seeded

juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon light sour cream or yogurt

1 teaspoon light mayo

1 tablespoon of honey

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste


Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl with some salt and black pepper.  Toss in the dressing a little at a time, so that is becomes the consistency you like (it should not too runny).  You may not have to use all of the dressing.

For the dressing:  Put all the ingredients into a mini-food processor and pulse until everything is uniform.  If you do not have a mini-food processor, use a blender.  If using a blender, put all the ingredients into the blender except the olive oil and stream in the olive oil while the blender is running.