Sides for a picnic, done right

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4D

So you're having a barbecue and you want to keep it at least a little healthy.

You've got the lean chicken breasts marinating and ready for the grill. You've got a colorful tossed salad filled with the season's bounty. You've got corn on the cob for grilling, and fresh watermelon and strawberries for nibbling.

But you also know that no American summer barbecue is complete without a creamy and rich potato salad. Except you also know just how unhealthy a potato salad smothered in mayonnaise can be.

The good news is that you can enjoy a great potato salad without sacrificing your commitment to healthy eating. Here are our tips for making that happen.

First, make sure you leave the skins on the potatoes. Potato skins contain much of the potatoes' fiber, as well as heaps of vitamins and minerals, including a crazy amount of potassium.

Second, replace the commonly added hard-boiled egg. While eggs do add plenty of protein, if you're barbecuing it's unlikely that protein deprivation is your problem. We replaced the egg with chopped canned artichoke hearts, which have a similar texture and a wonderfully subtle flavor that complements the potatoes.

Third, and possibly most important, you need to overhaul the mayonnaise dressing. Adding just 1/2 cup of regular mayonnaise can add 800 calories and 90 grams of fat to the salad. And really, who stops at just 1/2 cup? So we reached for one of our favorite no-fat creamy dairy products, Greek yogurt. It is a versatile, healthy ingredient that adds significant creamy flavor and texture.

Creamy potato salad with artichokes and herbs

Start to finish: 1 hour (20 minutes active)

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds red potatoes, cubed

Salt

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

One 5.3-ounce container fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup low-fat sour cream

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons minced fresh dill

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Ground black pepper

One 4-ounce jar chopped pimentos

One 14-ounce can artichoke bottoms, drained

2 ribs celery, diced

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the potatoes in a large pot, then add enough cool water to cover by 1 inch. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, then bring to a boil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until just tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with the vinegar and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sour cream, scallions, mustard, dill, thyme and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the pimentos, artichoke bottoms and celery. Once the potatoes have cooled, gently stir in until thoroughly coated. Chill until ready to serve.

Per serving: 190 calories; 10 calories from fat (5 percent of total calories); 1 g fat (0.5 g sat; 0 g trans fats); 5 mg chol.; 38 g carb.; 7 g pro.; 7 g fiber; 670 mg sodium.

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Read more articles by Alison Ladman



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