The early summer potato crop is in, and no cookout is complete without a great potato salad. But when things heat up, sometimes I just want a light, simple potato dish that’s not mayonnaise-based.
Matt and I were introduced to Bulgarian Potato Salad a few years ago at a summer party. Matt’s uncle married a beautiful woman from Bulgaria, and her equally stunning sister brought Bulgarian style potato salad to share with everyone at the summer cookout.
It was strange at first. What, no egg? Where’s the creamy mayo, or mustard for that matter? Celery? Pickles? Nope, I see nothing.
It was like the foreign exchange student of potato salads. Very cool, intriguing, understated, and worldly. Hanging out on the buffet table as if to say, “I’ve been places. I’m super cultured. I have the souvenir buttons all over my backpack to prove it.” Or something like that.
I have only made potato salad one way in my lifetime, and mine is a very distant cousin of this version. But it was sooooo good, despite its simplicity. Or perhaps because of its simplicity!
If you’ve never had Bulgarian Potato Salad, you’ll be a little surprised at the bare bones nature of the dish. Trust me though, it’s the perfect side for any BBQ!
For starters, you can leave it out on the table and go about your business enjoying the good company without worrying about crafting the perfect ice bath to prevent mayo spoilage. (I usually bring warm dishes to pass just so I don’t have to mess with those.) Second, it doesn’t seem to weigh your stomach down like creamy, mayo-based potato salads. It has a refreshing, summery, light flavor that is sure to please.
Matt is a master with herbs and other seasonings, and recently perfected a recipe for this simple dish. He rarely follows recipes, and usually eyeballs ingredients when measuring them out. The last time he made this salad I was convinced it could not get any better, and made him write down the recipe before he forgot. The secret? He kicked it up a notch with the addition of fresh herbs we’re growing out back. It made all the difference.
Jabs-Style Bulgarian Potato Salad
- 8 medium-sized potatoes (white or red-skinned work well)
- 1 small or ½ of a medium-sized red onion, chopped into thin, one inch slices
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) – (where to buy unrefined organic olive oil)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (ACV)
- juice of ½ a lemon
- roughly 1 TBSP fresh dill, chopped
- roughly 1 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste (find high quality salt & spices here)
Wash, peel (optional – we leave skins on), and dice potatoes into uniform bite-sized pieces. (I find this is easier than waiting for whole potatoes to cool or chopping burning hot potatoes.) Boil potatoes until you can stick a fork through pieces with little resistance. Drain, put into a large bowl, and leave to cool.
In a smaller mixing bowl, wisk together the chopped onion, EVOO, ACV, lemon juice, dill, cilantro, and a little salt and pepper.
Pour over potatoes and mix gently. Taste and add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, or herbs if needed. Gently mix and serve (chill before serving if desired).
Easy summer meal addition
We’re always looking for ways to reduce our time in the kitchen during the hot months. Potato salad is a staple in our refrigerator in the summertime. We make large batches we can eat off for days. We love having it on hand to throw in a picnic, put on the table alongside grilled entrees, or eat with crackers and fruit for a fast lunch.
Have fun with this recipe by adding anything else your tastebuds desire! I’m sure there are other summer herbs that would compliment this light potato salad.
Why not try something new this summer? Have you ever had Bulgarian Potato Salad, what do you add to your recipe?