June 24th, 2011

{recipe} Potato Salad with Tomato & Quick-Pickled Red Onion

Potato Tomato Quick-Pickled Red Onion Salad

I can hear my mom now. “There’s plenty to eat. Hard boiled eggs. A can of sardines. Some feta cheese and tomatoes.” This was her reply on many tired nights, after long days of work on her feet, when I’d complain, “There’s nothing for dinner!”

I was a young teen by the time my mom was pointing me to canned sardines for dinner (sardines?!) and, in her eyes, fit to cobble together sustenance when she simply didn’t have the energy to do it for me. Though she grew up differently, with a mom who cooked all the time, the sentiment was true to how she’d grown up in a Greek village. When they had to, kids took care of themselves and each other, and cheese, vegetables, bread and sardines composed a perfectly acceptable meal. Though I can’t imagine my yiayia would have pointed me to a can of fish had I complained to her, I get where my mom was coming from. It was her experience filtered through working-single-motherhood.

She didn’t always leave me to my own devices. There were times when my mother took care to feed me more deliberately. And there were dishes that defined some of those times. A version of this potato salad is one of them. It was something that, when she or I had a craving, she made with care, no matter how tired she was.

Maybe that’s why I love it so much.

This potato salad is an easy recipe. Not fussy or fancy—just simple boiled potatoes, fresh tomatoes and red onion tossed with oil and vinegar instead of mayo—and boy is it good! I love German potato salad for its use of vinaigrette over creamy mayonnaise, but it tends to be heavy which is why I like it in fall and winter. This Greek-style potato salad, on the other hand, is light. Maybe it’s the bigger chunks of potato, the perfectly ripe summer tomatoes, or crisp, vinegar laced red onions. Whatever it is makes this my go-to summer salad.

My mother’s version uses raw red onion; with tomatoes and potatoes, it’s the classic combo. When I have time, though, I substitute quick-pickled red onion. Sometimes my mom adds hunks of steamed zucchini.

Check out my recipe for Potato Salad with Tomato & Quick-Pickled Red Onion (can be adapted for kids 6+ mos)* at Momtastic. And keep the Quick-Pickled Red Onion recipe on hand for other dishes, too. They are easy to make and taste great with grilled meat, in pork tacos, alongside roasted chicken and more!

What dish did your Hungry Mama or Papa always make for you, with love, no matter what?

*Note: This salad’s mild vinaigrette is kid-friendly even for beginner eaters. You can mash dressed potatoes alone or with some tomato for kids still eating purees (thin the mash with water if neccessary). Otherwise, cut the veggies in age-apporpriate bite sizes and serve!

9 Responses

  1. miri leigh says:

    This is perfect for summer…I love that it doesn’t have mayo! Thanks!

  2. Ruthie says:

    DId I miss something? Where’s the recipe??

  3. Ruthie: follow the link right about the box w/ my question about what your mama (or papa) always made for you. The full recipe is on Momtastic, a fab parenting site to which I’m a regular contributor.

  4. Robin Sokol says:

    Glad someone else asked . . . “Did I miss something? Where’ the recipe?” This site in definitely not clear to users. I might try to find it . . . if the link is quick and easy.

  5. hi robin,
    sorry you feel the site isn’t clear! perhaps the confusion (which i’ve never had before!) comes from the fact that i put a box around the question. anyway, as i already pointed out, the title of the recipe right above the box is a live link that leads directly to the recipe. enjoy.

  6. CarinaKristiane says:

    This is GREAT!! And if you have the pickled onions ready it goes sooo fast to make. And the taste is awesome!! Already written up in my recipe book, it’s a keeper for sure. Thank you hungry mama!!

  7. Chea says:

    I came across your blog on 31 days of Vegetarian Recipes (although I’ve been vegetarian now for 4+ years) and I’m always looking for new recipes and love the fact that your blog specifies age groups for infants. I have an 11 month old and I feel like I’m having a difficult time finding finger foods for her to keep her interested and well..nutritionally balanced.
    Thanks!

  8. Thanks, carina and welcome, chea! xo

  9. Ann Han says:

    My homemade salad is different. It consist of blanched tomato and cucumber, cooked potatoes(we put them in the steam and well… steam cooked them), and egg white from hard boiled eggs. We are not fond of salad dressing, so we replace it by the egg yolks of the hard boiled egg, we add salt and hot oil and mash them together as dressing. And it is also delicious.

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