Consider the Vegetarian…(at Your Next Cookout) & Grown Up Potato Salad (with Vinaigrette and Olives)

This past Sunday we had a barbecue to celebrate Jake’s birthday…the first of many over this season, I’m sure.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cookout season, but in my many years of experience on the subject, I have come to the astounding conclusion that it is often really. freaking. difficult. to be a vegetarian at a barbecue.  The focus is always on the meat and everything else (except for the booze, mind you) is merely an afterthought.  There is always meat on the grill, which makes grilling veggies or a veggie burger without contaminating them damn near impossible.  Yes…it totally grosses me out to have my veggie burger touch meat on the grill.  Don’t tell me to get over it.  I won’t.

So what I would like all of my omnivorous readers to glean from this ranting is this:  I guarantee that if on the day of your cookout you show even a little bit of forethought and throw some veggies (eggplant, portobello mushrooms & zucchini are all good choices) on the grill before loading the heaping mounds of flesh upon it, and if you could think about making a valiant attempt to keep a small part of the grill as free from meat as humanly possible in the chance that your vegetarian guest wants to grill a veggie burger, your consideration will go neither unnoticed nor unrewarded.

The potato salad that follows was my contribution to the culinary mayhem that took place in my home on Sunday.  I feel like this post is Part 2 of the Pasta Salad post from a few weeks ago.  I have NEVER liked “traditional” (although whose tradition it is and why it’s never been phased out, I’m not really sure) “Potato Salad”.  Mayo and onions…gag…two of my absolute least favorite things in the universe….and it just always looks and feels so unsophisticated and bland to me (plus dangerous if you’re leaving it outside for an extended period of time)!  The Mark Bittman approach to potato salad is right up my alley, but there were still onions, and I cannot abide by that.  Vinaigrette and Black Beldi olives though…that I can do.  So, without further ado, I present to you what I like to call…

Grown Up Potato Salad with Vinaigrette and Olives

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian App


*3 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes (I left them unpeeled and it was delicious!)

*40 Black Beldi olives (pitted and halved)

*Champagne Vinaigrette (Mix 1 heaping tbsp of good mustard with approx. 3 tbsp of champagne vinegar.  Stream 1/4 cup of olive oil into the mixture while whisking steadily.  Salt and pepper to taste)

To Make:

*Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and put them in a pot with a pinch of salt and enough water to cover them.

*Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a lively simmer.

*Cook the potatoes until they are tender, but still firm.  (15 minutes or so)

*Drain and then rinse in cold water.

*Toss the (still-warm) potatoes with the olives.

*Add the vinaigrette little by little until everything is dressed as you like.

*Add salt, pepper (and maybe even some red pepper flakes) to taste!


Survey Says:

I love this potato salad!!  The combination of the potatoes, olives, and vinaigrette is one that will not disappoint.  My version of the vinaigrette is a little lighter on oil than is usually specified, but this was really the perfect ratio for this recipe:  oily enough to coat everything but not enough to drown out the flavors.  I’m honestly not sure what anyone else thought of it because I forgot to ask in the chaos of cooking and opening and consuming champagne!  I’m pretty sure that I ate most of it both on the day of the party and the next day.  I did, however,let Gemma share the leftovers with me and she loved it!  She ate both the potatoes and the olives with much enthusiasm.  I am so proud of my little eater!

I bid you all a truly happy and successful cookout season and I would LOVE to hear about any other vegetarian sides or solutions that you’ve come up with for your grilling endeavors!!


6 responses to this post.

  1. I hear you! I vacillated between veganism and vegetarianism for several years when I was a teenager, and barbecues were the worst. I often resorted to bringing my own food.


  2. We have a lot of bbq’s, and oddly, we don’t have any vegetarian friends. But, I will most definitely remember this if we do have vegetarians over … only makes sense to reserve part of the grill for non-meat items.


  3. The potato salad looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing on Sensational Sunday!


  4. Looks delicious for so many occasions! Thanks for posting 🙂


  5. Posted by mysoulforsale on June 2, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    This looks delightful. Don’t even get me started on barbeques… they’re one of many events that contributed to my beautiful anti-social tendencies of late. Less people = more peace.


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