This type of food is my favourite thing about this time of year. Those recipes that are so quick to put together on a weeknight so you can sit outside and enjoy your dinner as the sun juuuust starts to set (although lets be real I’m probably sneezing 20% of the time because of all the pollen but OH WELL). Simple ingredients put together to make one delicious, perfect meal.
This salad features one of my favourite carb-elements ever – sautéed potatoes. Is anyone else obsessed with them like I am!? They’re crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside a bit like a roasted potato but a) faster to make and b) less dry, I find. The perfect addition to a salad like this in place of something like croutons to show you that potatoes are more than a bit on the side! Because hey, white potatoes get a bit of a bad rap in the ‘wellness world’ as people seem to demonise any carb which is white. But hello did you know they’re a source of fibre, especially if you leave the skins on as I always do! They’re also high in vitamin C and Potassium which are essential micronutrients. Potatoes themselves are naturally fat free so if you need to control your fat intake, they’re a great option. Something else people tend to overlook is that potatoes are very cheap so when you’re on a budget they’re a super accessible source of nutrition including the all-important carbohydrates that your body needs. Plus they’re locally grown in the UK & Ireland which is always a win!
At the moment I’m loving them for dinner either par-boiled & sautéed like this (where I use floury baking potatoes) or boiled and cooled (where I’d use waxy/new potatoes). Toss them into a salad with a delicious vinaigrette, some pulses, seasonal veg & some leafiness. I’m not a fan of regular potato salad (too much mayo, not a fan), and I find that using differently flavoured vinaigrettes makes things more interesting anyway. I like to add different spices/fragrant ingredients to give the meal a Mexican/Italian/Japanese… twist without having to change much else.
This recipe is a slightly more jazzy version of a standard tomato/basil/mozzarella salad. I’ve bulked it up with the crispy sautéed potatoes and cannellini beans so the dish holds it’s own as a meal. I drizzled in pesto and sprinkled on za’atar plus fresh basil for pumped up flavour. Lastly the burrata which, if you’ve never had it before, is basically a ball of mozzarella with cream inside so when you cut into it, you get a kind of creamy drizzle over the salad. If you can’t source burrata/it’s too expensive (I’ve bought it for £4-5 per large ball from an Italian deli), just get yourself a nice large ball of mozzarella, tear it up and dot it over the salad; If you’ve got a splash of cream on hand, drizzle a tablespoon or two over as well!
- ~500 g potatoes (floury are best here), skin on
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil or another neutral oil
- 2 handfuls rocket (arugula) leaves
- 1x 400 g can cannellini beans, drained
- 4 tbsp basil pesto
- 4-5 tbsp pitted, sliced olives
- ~400 g cherry tomatoes (halved) or heritage tomatoes (sliced)
- 300 g ball of burrata cheese (see notes)
- 2 tsp za'atar mix (see notes)
- a few basil leaves, torn
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil. Wash the potatoes well then cut into ~3cm chunks. Drop them into the boiling water, bring the water back up to the boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and drain the potatoes.
- Over a medium-high heat, heat a large frying pan with enough oil to coat the base of the pan well. Once the oil is hot add the potatoes to the pan and season with some salt - you don't want to crowd it too much so you may need to fry in 2 batches, depending on the size of your frying pan.
- Cook the potatoes until they start to turn golden underneath then turn them so all the sides become golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- On a serving plate, lay down the rocket leaves. Mix the cannellini beans, pesto and olives together in a small bowl and distribute over the leaves. Lay on the tomatoes and warm potatoes. Place the burrata in the centre and sprinkle with the za'atar and basil leaves. Serve.
- Za'atar is a herb mix containing dried oregano, sumac, sesame seeds and sallt. If you can't source it (I get it from the Middle Eastern grocers in London/Leeds) you can sprinkle on dried oregano instead or leave it out.
- if you can't find burrata, use a large ball of mozzarella cheese, tear it up and scatter that over the salad. If you've got some cream on hand, drizzle 1-2 tablespoons over the salad too.