Potato salad and summer barbecue parties go together like peanut butter and jelly, and I love a good classic recipe. But sometimes it’s fun to change things up. Do you agree? If so, I think you’ll love my new Bacon-Avocado Egg-Free Potato Salad recipe.
I’m answering some common questions about potato salad below, but before I get to that, I want to give you a few quick highlights about this Bacon-Avocado Egg-Free Potato Salad recipe:
- It uses only 6 non-pantry ingredients! (and the pantry ingredients it needs are olive oil, salt and pepper – you’ve got those, right?)
- There are no eggs (which means no mayonnaise!), making it the perfect salad to make if you are serving people who can’t eat eggs. Plus, it means you don’t have to peel hard-cooked eggs!
- If you’ve never eaten bacon and potatoes together, you simply must try this potato salad! Bacon and potatoes go together MAYBE better than peanut butter and jelly. And then there’s avocado in the mix, which makes it simply irresistible!
Now, let’s get to some of the most common questions about potato salad, shall we?
What are the Best Potatoes to use for Potato Salad?
While any type of potato will work FINE in a potato salad, there is a characteristic of some types of potatoes that makes them PERFECT for potato salad.
In a potato salad, the goal is to have perfectly tender pieces of potato that don’t break apart when mixing the salad together. We don’t want MASHED potato salad, right? Using russet potatoes will more likely result in more of a mashed consistency, so it’s best to save the russets for mashed potatoes.
Certain potatoes are considered more “waxy” and these are the perfect potatoes to use for potato salad because they will hold their shape even after they are cooked. Here are a few potato varieties that are ideal for making potato salad:
- Red Potatoes
- Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Fingerling Potatoes (although these are usually smaller in size, which will make the prep time longer if you plan to peel the potatoes for your salad)
What do I do if my Potato Salad Looks Dry?
Because potatoes are a starchy vegetable, they soak up liquid well, which means they can take on a lot of flavor from whatever dressing (or sauce) you are adding to them. That’s a good thing when it comes to making potato salad, however, if you plan to make the potato salad ahead of time, it can mean that the potato salad can look a bit dry after it has chilled for a day or two.
Besides the potatoes soaking up all the dressing, the potato salad can also look dry because the dressing has firmed up in the refrigerator.
There are a couple things you can do if you feel the potato salad looks too dry when you’re ready to serve it:
- Let the potato salad stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. This will allow the salad to warm up just a smidge, and the dressing will soften and become runnier. Then give the salad a stir and it should look less dry.
- If the salad still looks too dry after letting it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, add a splash of olive oil and cider vinegar to the salad and stir to mix in the extra liquid.
How Long Can Potato Salad Sit at Room Temperature?
I know how summer barbecues usually go…everyone arrives and gets to chatting and having a beverage or two, and eating isn’t always on the top of everyone’s mind. So, the food may sit out for a while before everyone gets around to eating.
Potato salad tends to be the most common villain when it comes to foods that cause food poisoning, making it important to know how long the potato salad has been sitting at room temperature.
After all, no one wants to get sick from eating and having a great time at a summer barbecue, right?
The short answer to the question is that prepared potato salad can sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it should no longer be eaten. There’s a little more to the answer, though, so keep the following in mind:
- Harmful bacteria that can make you sick will develop more quickly if the salad warms up more quickly. So, if the potato salad is sitting OUTSIDE in the heat of summer, it will not be safe to eat for the full 2 hours. The USDA recommends food be discarded after sitting out for more than 1 hour if it’s sitting in a temperature of 90F or higher.
- Once the salad has been sitting at room temperature for 2 hours, it needs to be thrown away. The salad will not cool back down quickly enough if put back in the refrigerator after sitting out 2 hours, so be on the safe side and toss the salad (in the garbage, that is!).
How Far Ahead Can I Make Potato Salad?
Once potato salad has been fully prepared, it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
P.S. Now that you know the answers to some common questions about potato salad, what other cooking questions can I answer for you? Leave a comment below with your question(s), and then get to your kitchen and make this Bacon-Avocado Egg-Free Potato Salad!
Bacon-Avocado Egg-Free Potato Salad
- 2 large green onions
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar
- 3 pounds red or Yukon gold potatoes (about 5 large potatoes)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons coarse mustard
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika, ground black pepper, or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 slices uncured smoked bacon, crisp-cooked and chopped
- 1 medium avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
- Thinly slice green onions, keeping white bottoms separate from green tops. Place green tops in a bowl; cover and chill until needed in step In a medium bowl combine sliced white bottoms and vinegar. Cover; chill for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
- Meanwhile, scrub potatoes. Cut out any bad spots. Cut potatoes into 2- to 3-inch pieces. In a 6-quart pot, cook potato pieces in enough boiling salted water to cover for 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Drain; rinse potatoes with cold water. Drain again; set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Peel potatoes. Cut potatoes into ¾- to 1-inch pieces. Place potato pieces in a large bowl. Add oil, mustard, salt, and paprika to onion and vinegar mixture. Whisk until well combined. Add to potatoes in bowl; toss to combine. Stir in bacon. Cover; chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours*.
- To serve, add avocado and green onion tops to potato salad. Stir gently to mix. Serve immediately.