Roasted Potato Salad: Spicy, Smoky, and Mayo-Free!

Friends, cooks, eaters, lend me your ears. For today, on this holiday Monday – the last hurrah to summer – I have excellent news, nearly worthy of that pseudo-Shakespearean introduction. You see, I have devised for you a potato salad that is everything a potato salad should be – saucy, creamy and packed with green things – and yet manages at the same time to be mayonnaise-free. Good news, for anyone who’s wary of the store-bought stuff’s jiggly quality and who lacks the masterful whisking skills needed to make the stuff from scratch (I am one of you!). 

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The salad is simple stuff: bite-sized pieces of potato are roasted while a simple sauce made from garlic, tomato puree and a few spices bubbles away on the stove. Once the potatoes are ready to go, they’re topped with the sauce, along with a handful of cilantro, green onions and creamy goat cheese. Stirred together, you’ve got the essence of a summer staple, transformed to be fall-ready: creamy and fresh, but warm, smoky, sweet and spicy too. 

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And so we have it: a potato salad that’s free of jiggle and that, dare I say, appoaches the realm of healthyShakespeare, it’s not. But it sure is good. 
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Roasted Potato Salad
Inspired by bad potato salads
Makes ~4 cups

Ingredients
6 medium potatoes, peeled (if necessary) and diced into 1-inch pieces (4 cups in total)
1 tbsp olive oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh-ground pepper

1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and squashed
1½ tsp hot, smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup tomato puree
½ tsp granulated sugar

½ cup sliced green onions
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
⅓ cup crumbled soft white cheese (I used goat cheese, but mild feta would work!)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place potato pieces on an oiled baking tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are golden on the outside and fluffy on the inside, stirring every 10 minutes. 

Step_1.jpg2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook until golden, 5 minutes or so. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the paprika and cayenne, cooking until fragrant, 30 seconds or so. Stir in tomato puree and sugar, cooking over low until sauce has thickened slightly (5-10 minutes). Turn off heat.

Step_2.jpg3. Once potatoes are cooked, sprinkle them with a big pinch of salt, then pop them into a large bowl. Top potatoes with the hot, smoky tomato sauce. Top again with green onions, cilantro and cheese. Toss to coat and serve steamy!   

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