Southwestern Potato Salad ♥
Weight Watchers Friendly Potato Salad

Southwestern Potato Salad
Today's recipe: A new take on potato salad, laced with southwestern-style flavors such as chipotle, lime and cilantro. Dramatically lightened with my new technique for mayonnaise-based salads, the addition of buttermilk. Weight Watchers, you'll love this potato salad, it adds up to just 1 or points, down from 4 points in the inspiring recipe.

Survey a potluck table and one ingredient will stand out: mayonnaise.

Potato salad. Cole slaw. Broccoli salad. Pasta salad. Seven-Layer Salad. So many favorite summer salads are dressed in mayonnaise. To my taste, this makes them all taste the same: like mayonnaise. To my taste, a mayonnaise dressing is too thick, too gloppy. Plus, we all know the calorie implications of heavy mayonnaise salads.

I loved the idea of a potato salad with southwestern flavors, I even thought about roasting some poblanos and roasting some corn, akin to Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle. (One reader made it over Memorial Day weekend and called it 'wonderful'!)

But instead, I decided to lighten the dressing. The recipe called for a cup of mayonnaise, I used only 1/3 cup of mayonnaise but then — this worked brilliantly — stirred in an equal measure of buttermilk. This made the dressing more liquid, so it would distribute more evenly. It also added 'tang' and removed some of that too-distinctive commercial mayonnaise taste. (Yes, I could have made my own mayonnaise. But ...) This is a technique I'll use again, for sure. UPDATE: And so I have, see the yummy Cold Shrimp in Creamy Dill Sauce with Capers!


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes but improves if left to sit for at least a couple of hours
Makes about 8 cups

Water to cover plus 1 tablespoon table salt
2 pounds potatoes, cleaned well, left whole (see TIPS)

1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons good mustard such as Dijon
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped jalepeño
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest and juice of a lime (about 2 tablespoons juice)
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder

1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

POTATOES Set up the water and salt to boil, add the potatoes as they're prepped (the water need not be boiling) and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a good simmer, cover and let cook until the potatoes are cooked through, the actual time will vary based on the size of the potatoes. Drain and let cool until cool enough to handle. Cut into bite-size pieces, leaving the skins on if you like or slipping off if you prefer.

DRESSING Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.

COMBINE Fold the still-warm potatoes into the dressing, turning well to coat evenly. Stir in the tomato and cilantro. Serve immediately to serve slightly warm or cover and refrigerate to serve cold later.

For potatoes, I used tiny new red potatoes and cooked them whole, then cut into halves and quarters for bite-size pieces. When I make potato salad with Yukon gold or large red potatoes, I leave the skins on, scrub them well, then cut into cubes for fast and even cooking. Plus there's no need to handle hot potatoes before stirring into the dressing, a good thing!
For mayonnaise, my choice is always Hellman's (Best Foods in the western part of the U.S.) and always the low-fat version. I'm not a fan of either the non-fat version or the full-fat version.
Update: My cousin Sharon just wrote to say that she is nixing Costco potato salad for this recipe for a wedding rehearsal dinner in July. This got me to thinking about how to make this salad ahead of time for a small crowd, maximizing make-ahead convenience with freshness. If it were me, I would cook the potatoes the day before, mix the dressing the day before (except I'd leave out the onion), then a couple of hours before serving, I would combine the potatoes, dressing, onion, tomato and cilantro.

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~ Mom's Potato Salad ~
~ Classic Seven-Layer Salad ~
~ Summer Orzo ~
~ more potato salad recipes ~
~ more cole slaw recipes ~
~ more jello salad recipes ~
~ more pasta salad recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ more Favorite Summer Salad Recipes ~
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~ Quinoa & Black Bean Salad ~
~ Greek Pasta Salad ~
~ more salad recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2010
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. This sounds light and tasty - a perfect accompaniment to a grilled piece of chicken, or even ribs!

  2. I have been making other salads with little mayo for years - substituting a good creamy, low-fat, plain yogurt. Just one spoonful of mayo is enough.
    But somehow potato salad was always full mayo. This is the push I needed to modify the potato salad as well - and it includes all my favorite flavors (chili, cilantro, lemon...). How can it not be delicious!

  3. Karen, Miami FLJune 08, 2010

    My MIL makes the best potato salad, and uses a mayo/sour cream mix for the dressing. It can be successfully lightened with non-fat Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream ... similar concept to yours, if there's no buttermilk handy.

  4. what a wonderful idea! Almost like a ranch - totally wonderful, can't wait to try it!

  5. Excellent! I will try this method with my mom's potato salad. I love it so much and have never tried lightening it up. Thanks!

  6. I have been using mostly non-fat Greek-style yogurt and a bit of good mayo for years. I like it much better than full mayo dressing and my dh, who fears yogurt, can't tell the difference.

  7. I use the Greek yogurt trick, too. I like the tang it adds to the potato salad.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna