Pesto Potato Salad

$5.31 recipe / $0.89 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 4 votes
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I could pretty much live off of potato salad, especially when there are so many different varieties out there to choose from. I’m leaning heavily on potatoes lately because they’re filling and cheap, so I whipped up a quick budget-friendly parsley pesto to turn my potatoes into a creamy and vibrant Pesto Potato Salad. Bonus, we roasted up the leftover potatoes the next day and they turned into a deliciously crispy side dish for dinner! (More on that below.)

Originally posted 3-30-3014, updated 7-16-2022.

Overhead view of parsley pesto potato salad in a bowl.

Budget-Friendly Homemade Pesto

To keep this recipe affordable AND super flavorful, I made my own homemade parsley pesto. Parsley is a fraction of the price of fresh basil, and I skipped the pinenuts to make it even more affordable. Even without basil or pinenuts, this pesto is super flavorful and the most beautiful vibrant green color you’ve ever seen. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget and want to add some other nuts, you can try adding some walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds.

What Type of Potatoes to Use

Because I made such big budget cuts with my pesto, I decided to splurge a little and go with baby gold potatoes. These cute little potatoes are tender and smooth, and hold their shape well, making for a very pretty potato salad. That being said, you can swap in virtually any type of potato, so go with whatever variety fits your budget. If you’re using a larger variety potato, just cut them into smaller pieces before boiling so the cook time doesn’t increase too much.

Make it Creamy or Not

The original version of this recipe was just roasted potatoes drenched in the parsley pesto itself, but this time I wanted to go for a slightly more creamy and moist potato salad. So I boiled the potatoes rather than roasting them and I mixed a little mayonnaise into the pesto to make a creamy-pesto dressing. But the mayo is totally optional! If you want to do the pesto on its own, this salad will still be amazing and fully flavored.

Repurpose the Leftovers!

We had a little fun with the leftovers of this potato salad. We smashed the potatoes on a lined baking sheet and roasted at 400ºF for 20-30 minutes, or until they were deliciously crispy on the edges. That mayo-pesto combo made the potatoes super crispy and the flavor was just SU-PERB.

Side view of a bowl of pesto potato salad.

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Pesto Potato Salad

5 from 4 votes
Parsley Pesto Potato Salad is an inexpensive, filling, and vibrantly flavored side dish that's perfect for any summer meal.
Overhead view of parsley potato salad in a bowl.
Servings 6
Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs. potatoes ($3.65)
  • 1/2 bunch Italian parsley ($0.70)
  • 1 clove garlic ($0.08)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.36)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.04)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise ($0.15)

Instructions 

  • Add the potatoes to a pot and cover with water. Add about a tablespoon of salt to the water, cover the pot, and bring the water to a boil.
  • Boil the potatoes until they can be easily pierced with a fork (the total time will depend on the size of your potatoes). Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool.
  • While the potatoes are boiling, make the pesto. Add the parsley, garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil to a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients form a slightly chunky paste.
  • Taste the pesto and adjust the salt or lemon to your liking, keeping in mind that the flavor will mellow some once the mayonnaise is added and the pesto is mixed with the potatoes, so you want it to be strongly flavored.
  • Stir the mayonnaise into the pesto to create the creamy pesto dressing.
  • Once the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, slice them in half (or cut them into 1-inch pieces if using larger potatoes).
  • Add the potatoes and dressing to a bowl and stir until the potatoes are well coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 181kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 4gFat: 9gSodium: 161mgFiber: 3g
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How to Make Pesto Potato Salad – Step by Step Photos

Baby potatoes in a pot with water.

Add 1.5 lbs. potatoes to a pot and cover with water. Add a tablespoon of salt to help flavor the potatoes. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Continue to boil the potatoes until they can be easily pierced with a fork (the total time will depend on the size of your potatoes). Drain the cooked potatoes and allow them to cool.

Pesto ingredients in the food processor.

While the potatoes are cooling, make the pesto. Add ½ bunch of parsley to a food processor along with 1 clove of garlic, ¼ cup grated Parmesan, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, ⅛  tsp salt, and 2 Tbsp olive oil. You can make a double batch of pesto, if desired, and freeze half!

Finished parsley pesto in a food processor.

Pulse the mixture until it forms a slightly chunky paste.

close up of parsley pesto on a spatula.

Taste the pesto and adjust the salt or lemon to your liking, keeping in mind that it will mellow a bit with the mayonnaise and once spread once mixed with the potatoes.

Mayonnaise added to the pesto in a bowl with a spatula.

Stir 2 Tbsp mayonnaise into the pesto to create a creamy pesto dressing for the potato salad.

Sliced potatoes on a cutting board.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them in half (or cut into 1-inch pieces if using a larger potato).

Creamy pesto dressing added to the potatoes in a bowl.

Add the creamy pesto dressing to the potatoes in a bowl…

Finished parsley pesto potato salad in a bowl with a spatula.

And then stir until everything is coated and you’re done! Enjoy your potato salad with any of your summer meals.

Overhead view of parsley potato salad in a bowl.

Love Potato Salad? Try These Potato Salad Recipes:

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Comments

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    1. Hi Thom, it makes a half cup of pesto with an additional 2 tablespoons of mayo. XOXO -Monti

  1. I already have some pesto on hand.  Roughly how much does the recipe make with the listed ingredients?

    1. It’s 1.5 pounds of potatoes. Six servings. You will find this info at the top of the recipe card. Happy cooking! XOXO -Monti

  2. WOW! – WOW! – WOW! This potato salad was phenomenal! Will definitely be making this again and again! Thank you! :)

  3. This looks amazing and I plan to try it although I’ve never liked a potato salad other than the way my mom taught me to make it. I’m thinking of using the little red potatoes and basil pesto would also be great. Thanks for this and all the wonderful recipes you share!

  4. Beth, do you think this pesto recipe would still be good if I roasted the garlic first instead of using it raw?

    1. Personally I think the bite of raw garlic is one of the characteristic flavors of pesto, but if you prefer a more mild, sweet flavor, it might work for you. :) I think it just boils down to personal preference.

  5. Has anyone tried coating the potatoes in pesto BEFORE roasting them? I’m looking at another similar recipe that does it in this order, and I’m curious if it weakens the pesto flavor too much.

    I’m not sure which order I’ll use, but I’m going to make these Sunday with perilla leaf pesto :-D

    1. Update: I put the pesto on the potatoes BEFORE putting them in the oven after all, and it was truly delicious.

      1. Awesome. My plan tonight. My nephew is a chef (multi city, 4 seasons, Michael Mina, etc,). He taught me to par boil, ice bath, then dry off in a towel before roasting or frying–whatever the cut or type potato.
        He’s gone to Hawaii. Sniff. Miss my Monday nights with Nate (his only day off).

  6. These are so amazingly delicious! Serving them with a steelhead trout tonight, yummyyyy

  7. I made this tonight to go with some flank steak and a salad. The potatoes were fabulous. So much so, the boyfriend had to be banned from the kitchen, he was seriously in danger of eating them all before the rest of the meal was ready!! It made about 3/4 cup of pesto total, and I used 1/2 cup on the potatoes. So there’s still some left to play with. Can’t wait to experiment!!

  8. OMG Beth, this parsley pesto is stellar.
    I didn’t go the potato route; we had it on top of grilled skirt steak and ended up with it on the asparagus. And on the couscous. Basically slathered it over my entire plate. I will definitely be making again.

    I did it in a NutriBullet for anyone curious about non-foodprocessor options.