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This mayo-free grilled potato salad is tossed in a homemade scallion pesto. It's herby, full of flavor, and perfect for the summer grilling season. It's easy to make and it's ready in just 45 minutes!
This recipe was originally published in 2015. We've updated the post with some new photos and more information and made the recipe a little easier to make.
This is not your average potato salad recipe. Don't get us wrong, there's definitely a time and place for the classic creamy, eggy traditional potato salad. This is not that time and place.
This grilled version using a homemade scallion pesto takes potato salad to a whole new level. If you've never tried grilled potato salad, you're going to love it. It's one of those straightforward yet super delicious summer side dishes you'll want to make again and again.
It's easy to make, too. Simply boil the potatoes until tender. While they're boiling, make the scallion pesto. Add the potatoes and onion to the grill until charred and then toss them with pesto and basil. It's delicious served warm but it's also a great salad to make ahead of time because it tastes great right out of the fridge, too!
Why you'll love it
- It's easy to make
- It's super flavorful – grilling the potatoes and onions adds lots of delicious charred flavor
- It's healthier than traditional potato salad (no mayo or unwanted ingredients!)
- It's perfect for the grilling season
Grilled potato salad ingredients
Here's everything you'll need to make this grilled potato salad recipe:
- Potatoes – small or baby red potatoes are what we used for this recipe. No need to peel them, we always opt to keep the skins on for the health benefits (lots of fiber and nutrients) and a rustic feel.
- Red onion – red onion is a bit sweeter and more flavorful than regular cooking onion and grilling it makes it even sweeter.
- Oil – a neutral cooking oil will coat the veggies and prevent them from sticking to the grill.
- Sea salt – a flavor enhancer to make everything pop.
- Basil leaves – we love the classic taste of basil but you can use other fresh herbs that you love or have on hand.
Here's what you'll need for the scallion pesto:
- Olive oil – helps to unify the flavors and ingredients. A good quality olive oil can also add citrus, floral, or nutty notes.
- Green onions – we use the green parts only for a milder tasting pesto.
- Basil leaves – basil is a classic pesto ingredient and tastes lovely but you can also use a mix of herbs like parsley, cilantro, dill, or mint.
- Lemon juice – a squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds brightness and balance to pesto.
- Parmesan cheese – a small amount of this bold cheese adds lots of flavor and creaminess.
- Garlic – add more or less garlic to your desired taste.
How to make grilled potato salad
It's easy to make grilled potato salad by following a few simple steps:
- Start by boiling the potatoes then move on to preparing the pesto. Combine the pesto ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blend until it's smooth.
- Now, preheat your barbecue, quarter the boiled potatoes, and mix them with the red onion, oil, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the pesto.
- Next, grill potatoes and onions until they begin to char.
- Transfer the cooked potatoes and onions to a large bowl and toss with the rest of the pesto and some basil. Sometimes we like to add a few grinds of fresh black pepper for an extra kick.
What kind of potatoes work best?
We love the taste and creamy texture of red-skinned potatoes but you can use any small potatoes that are available to you.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Definitely! This is one of those salads you can eat warm or cold. It keeps well in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
Can I make it dairy free?
Yes! To make it dairy free, simply swap the parmesan cheese for a dairy-free alternative, or use our dairy-free pesto recipe instead.
Can I add bacon?
For sure! Bacon would add a lot of flavor and some extra protein. Cook the bacon in strips and once it's cool enough to touch, crumble it into the salad before giving it all a stir.
What goes with grilled potato salad?
Grilled potato salad is the ultimate salad to serve at backyard barbecues or picnics. Serve it with any other grilled foods like burgers, grilled meats or seafood, ribs, corn on the cob, and other veggies. Here are some of our favorite summer grilling recipes:
- 2 lb small potatoes
- 1 medium red onion (thickly sliced)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup sliced basil leaves
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped green onions (green parts only)
- ¼ cup basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best)
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic
- Place the potatoes in a medium-size pot, add enough cold water to cover them, then bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, or until they can be pierced with a toothpick. Remove them from the heat, drain, and set them aside to cool.2 lb small potatoes
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the pesto. Combine the pesto ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blend on medium speed until mostly smooth. Taste and salt as needed.½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup chopped green onions, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, 1 clove garlic, ¼ cup basil leaves
- Preheat your BBQ to medium-high heat. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and put them into a medium-sized bowl. Add the red onion, oil, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the pesto and toss to coat.1 medium red onion, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Grill the potatoes and onions for about 5 minutes, until they begin to char.
- Transfer the potatoes and onions to a bowl and toss with the scallion pesto and sliced basil leaves.¼ cup sliced basil leaves
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.