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A healthy (and creamy) potato salad for summer

ALISON LADMAN, For The Associated Press

Publication: The Day

Published May 23. 2012 4:00AM
Creamy potato salad with artichokes and herbs.

So you're having a barbecue and you want to keep it at least a little healthy.

You've got the lean chicken breasts marinating and ready for the grill. You've got a colorful tossed salad filled with the season's bounty. You've got corn on the cob for grilling and fresh watermelon and strawberries for nibbling. That's a good start.

But you also know that no American summer barbecue is complete without a creamy and rich potato salad. Except you also know just how unhealthy a potato salad smothered in mayonnaise can be. The good news is that you can enjoy a great potato salad without sacrificing your commitment to healthy eating.

Here are our tips for making that happen.

First, make sure you leave the skins on the potatoes. Potato skins contain much of the potatoes' fiber, as well heaps of vitamins and minerals, including a crazy amount of potassium (even more than bananas).

Second, replace the commonly added hard-boiled egg. While eggs do add plenty of protein, if you're barbecuing it's unlikely that protein deprivation is your problem. And egg yolks also add plenty of unnecessary fat. So we replaced the egg with chopped canned artichoke hearts, which have a similar texture and a wonderfully subtle flavor that complements the potatoes.

Third, and possibly most important, you need to overhaul the mayonnaise dressing. Adding just 1/2 cup of regular mayonnaise can add 800 calories and 90 grams of fat to the salad. And really, who stops at just 1/2 cup? You certainly could dress a potato salad in a light vinaigrette, but we wanted to stick to the traditional creamy salad for this recipe.

So we reached for one of our favorite no-fat creamy dairy products, Greek yogurt. It is a versatile, healthy ingredient that adds significant creamy flavor and texture. We finished with a handful of fresh herbs and some tangy vinegar to punch up the flavor.

CREAMY POTATO SALAD WITH ARTICHOKES AND HERBS

Start to finish: 1 hour (20 minutes active). Serves 6.

2 pounds red potatoes, cubed

Salt

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

5.3-ounce container fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup low-fat sour cream

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons minced fresh dill

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Ground black pepper

4-ounce jar chopped pimentos

14-ounce can artichoke bottoms, drained

2 ribs celery, diced

Place the potatoes in a large pot, then add enough cool water to cover by 1 inch. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, then bring to a boil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until just tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with the vinegar and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sour cream, scallions, mustard, dill, thyme and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the pimentos, artichoke bottoms and celery. Once the potatoes have cooled, gently stir in until thoroughly coated. Chill until ready to serve.

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