A bright and zesty arugula pesto potato salad! This is spring in a bowl – crispy roasted potatoes, caramelized spring onions, radishes, arugula, and a vibrant arugula & basil pesto to toss everything in. It’s simple, seasonal, and you truly cannot beat the flavor of the nutty, lemony pesto.
arugula pesto potato salad – the details
The best part of this arugula pesto potato salad is how simple it comes together, yet how much flavor is packed in because of the pesto.
Instead of a regular cold, boiled potato salad, you’ll roast the potatoes until they’re golden and crisp with some spring onions. A generous amount of olive oil, salt, and freshly cracked pepper is all you need to season them up and create extremely flavorful potatoes.
I like to cool them for 10 minutes or so and toss the salad when they’re warm or at room temperature. I found that I didn’t love the potato salad after it sat in the fridge. So I’d say if you’re looking to make this ahead of time, prep the pesto and have all of the ingredients ready, and then throw the potatoes in at the last minute. Toss everything together right before serving.
The star of this potato salad is the arugula pesto. It’s got plenty of basil in there, too, but the arugula gives it a nice peppery bite. I like to add a little honey to complement it, plus chives for an onion bite, your classic garlic + pine nuts + pecorino (you can use parmesan as well), lemon zest, and lemon juice.
It’s bright, zippy, herby, and seriously just SO good. Instead of blending the olive oil with the rest of the ingredients, I pulsed everything up in the food processor and then stirred the olive oil in at the end…kind of like making chimichurri. This leaves more texture in the pesto which is so delicious in the potato salad.
Add this on to any spring meal (we’ll definitely be making it for Easter) as a delicious side dish that everyone will love. I even like to make it for an easy weeknight dinner with some roast chicken or steak alongside!
If you’re looking for more spring side dishes, here are a few favorites:
Blistered Snap Peas with Burrata & Breadcrumbs
Roasted Spring Vegetables with Tarragon Mustard Vinaigrette
Spring Pea Risotto
Arugula Pesto Potato Salad
roasted potato salad with spring onions and radishes, tossed in a basil arugula pesto
- 2 lbs “pee wee” potatoes, halved*
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 red spring onions, thinly sliced*
- 2 cups packed arugula
- 6 radishes, thinly shaved on a mandolin
for the arugula pesto…
- 2 cups packed arugula
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- 1 small handful chives
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
- ⅓ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp honey
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Add the potatoes to a half sheet pan. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread the potatoes into one even layer, cut-side down. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Arrange the slices of spring onion (the red/white bulb section only) over the potatoes. Continue to roast for 25 more minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown and tender. Let cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before tossing the salad.
- Add the arugula, radishes, and the remaining green spring onion stems to a large salad bowl.
- For the pesto, combine the arugula, basil, chives, garlic, pine nuts, pecorino romano cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer this mixture to a bowl. Stir in the olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Add the potatoes and onions to the salad bowl. Add enough pesto to your liking, tossing to combine, and reserve any extra for another use.
- Serve the potato salad warm or at room temperature, with more black pepper over top.
*Potatoes: If you can’t find pee wee potatoes, you can use fingerling potatoes cut in half. Follow the same process, but depending on the thickness of the potatoes, the roast time may vary.
*Red Spring Onions: This variety of spring onion (shown in photos) is seasonal and sometimes hard to find. The red bulb portion of the onion is typically larger than that of a standard green onion. If you can’t find them, use a thinly sliced shallot for step 2 (over the potatoes) and two sliced green onions for step 3 (in the salad).
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