Potato Salad Gets a Healthy Modern Makeover



Remember potato salad? The thick, creamy mayo coated stuff at church potlucks, summer picnics, and family reunions, back before “healthy lifestyle” became synonymous with reducing carbs? Bob Harper’s blockbuster “The Skinny Rules” specifically bans white potatoes – that’s rule # 11 – as do the Paleo and Whole30 programs. Poor potatoes. We loved them long and hard and then we completely abandoned them.

I’ll begrudgingly admit that my waistline stays a lot trimmer when I avoid high carbohydrate foods, but I think I’ve come to a place in my journey toward a healthy lifestyle at which I am unwilling to ban entire food groups. Grains, pastas, and potatoes are to be enjoyed – sparingly in my case  because that’s what’s right for me.

I took a look at the potato salad of my youth – much like this decadent Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad (possibly the best recipe name ever) from Blair Hobbs in Oxford, Mississippi, published by Southern Living. As much as I want to be so moved by a potluck dish that I drop to my knees, throw my hands up and  shout hallelujah, I  wanted to create something lighter, healthier, and more sustainable.

I’d been thinking about potato salad for a few days when I spotted indigo frisee at my local farmers’ market on Sunday. I went straight into kitchen nerd mode because of the frisee’s deep purple color and purported (on a hand-lettered sign) SPICY! taste. It is  is a kind of chicory, a peppery tasting Mediterranean herb known as blue sailor in North America. It looks like a ball of haphazard ball of whispy lettuce, and right away I thought about using it as a base for a grilled potato salad, with the  the fairy-like texture of the frisee balancing out the substantial salad ingredients.

This recipe is very loosely adapted from one by Bobby Flay, except for the method for grilling potatoes, which I borrowed from SkinnyTaste because it’s just about foolproof.  Ironically, Gina Homulka, the  author, photographer, and recipe developer for SkinnyTaste, could take Bobby Flay to grilling school when it comes to these potatoes. Trust me.

What appealed to me about the original recipe is the combination of the salty smoked trout with a sort of modern potato salad, complete with a mayonnaise-based, mustardy dill dressing. To keep the dressing reasonably healthy, just drizzle it with a light hand along the edges of the plate and dip each bite of salad in the drizzle. For an even lower calorie option, try leaving the mayo out of the dressing altogether. I tested the recipe without it and it still worked beautifully.

I bought the smoked trout we used in this salad from my local fish vendor, but you can smoke your own if that’s your thing. Smoked salmon, more widely available in some areas – would also be a viable substitute for the trout.

Grilled Potato Salad with Smoked Trout, Indigo Frisee, and Mustard Dill
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
In this lower calorie, modern version of potato salad, salty smoked trout and grilled potatoes rest on bed of indigo frisee. Mustard dill dressing is drizzled along the edges of the plate for dipping.
Recipe type: Salads
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
For the Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (omit for a lighter option)
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
For the Grilled Potatoes
  • 6-7 small waxy yellow potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon dill
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Salad
  • 3 ounces indigo frisee
  • Grilled potatoes
  • 8 oz. smoked trout, pulled apart into bite sized pieces
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced thin
  • Dressing
  1. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  3. Cut potatoes into ¼-inch thick slices.
  4. Toss the potatoes with olive oil. Add dill, salt, and pepper to your taste.
  5. Reduce heat on the grill to medium and lay the potatoes slices straight onto the grill, toward the front side to keep the slices from cooking too quickly. Close the lid.
  6. Cook until the potatoes are golden on one side, about 6 minutes, making sure they don't burn and adjusting flame accordingly. Turn and cook until tender inside when pierced with a fork, but slightly crisp and golden brown on the outside. Remove from grill, and serve immediately.
  7. Evenly divide the frisee among four plates.
  8. Arrange the potato slices on top of the frisee.
  9. Top the potatoes with the smoked trout and red onion slices.
  10. With a teaspoon, drizzle dressing along the edge of the plate for dipping.


  1. says

    Elizabeth I love each of the components of this salad individually, and I bet the flavors are amazing when combined. I typically prefer a peppered mackerel to smoked trout if I’ve got choices, and I think that would also go well here.
    Now that I’ve got a real grill I’m delighted to try potatoes. Thanks!

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