Cookout? Potluck? You need this Rainbow Potato Salad with Cilantro- Olive Vinaigrette on the table. What makes it a rainbow? Sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, colorful peppers, red onions, and cilantro. And it is filled with flavor!
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The mix of purple potatoes and orange sweet potatoes makes the table bright and cheery. The whole family will be eager to dive in.
The Cilantro- Olive Vinaigrette is a staple dressing in our house. We use it on everything, but mainly this rainbow potato salad. So delish! Sweet, salty, and savory. It is my BBQ side dish go-to.
Because the dish doesn’t need to be chilled it also makes for a great picnic side dish. I almost always serve it with a green salad and our spice crusted grilled flank steak. Absolutely divine and totally simple.
Ingredients and Substitutions
This recipe might seem like it has a lot of ingredients but they are all probably things you have on hand. And if not, we have provided a few substitution options.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Purple Potatoes- These can be hard to find in certain areas. If you can't find them yellow waxy potatoes like Yukon potatoes are good substitutes.
- Bell Pepper- Any color works but we like to use a combination of red and yellow.
- Red Onion
- Kalamata Olives- You could also substitute Nicoise olives.
- Cilantro- Not a cilantro fan? Substitute parsley.
- Olive Oil- Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Kalamata Olives- You could also substitute Nicoise olives
- Cilantro- Still not a cilantro fan? Substitute parsley.
- Honey- Want to keep this potato salad vegan? Substitute coconut sugar or regular sugar. Start with 2 teaspoons and go from there.
- Dijon Mustard
- Garlic- Fresh minced
Start with boiling the potatoes, be sure to salt the water! They typically take 12 to 15 minutes to be just barely soft.
While the potatoes are boiling you can grill your peppers and onions. I pretty much always grill the vegetables. Yes, in the winter I oven roast. But nothing beats the charcoal char flavor of summer.
Chop up the vegetables and toss with the drained potatoes and olives. Add half the olive vinaigrette and taste. Add more dressing as needed. Garnish with extra cilantro.
Tips and Tricks
- The potato salad dressing can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to a week. But I do find bringing it up to room temperature helps it coat the potatoes evenly.
- When boiling the potatoes in salted water you can mix. But I prefer to ensure no color transfer so I typically boil in separate pots, water always salted.
- For the roasted veggies, don’t salt. I know, strange. I find it hard to control the saltiness of the end dish. Olives vary in their saltiness and you don’t want to throw it off.
- Make it spicy by adding a grilled whole jalapeno.
We love side dish that are full of color. Eat the rainbow! Here are a few of our favorite vibrant and delicious side dishes.
Cherry Tomato Salad
Spicy Avocado Coleslaw
Pickled Watermelon Radishes
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Rainbow Potato Salad
- Grill, gas or charcoal
- 1 lb purple potatoes, cut into 1 in pieces
- 1 lb sweet potatoes, cut into 1 in pieces
- 1 red pepper, quartered and seeded
- 1 yellow pepper, quartered and seeded
- 1 red onion, sliced into large rounds
- 3 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil (melted)
- ½ c kalamata olives, halved
- cilantro, for garnish
- kosher salt and pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅛ cup balsamic vinegar
- 8 kalamata olives
- 3 tablespoon cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, cooking until just soft. Drain and cool to room temperature.
- While the potatoes are cooking, roast the peppers and onion. Brush with olive oil. OPTION 1: grill on medium for 12-14 minutes until charred, turning often. OPTION 2: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roast on a sheet pan until charred, 20 minutes. Allow peppers and onion to cool to room temperature and then dice.
- Combine potatoes, peppers, onions, and olives large bowl. Drizzle with the Olive & Cilantro Vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To prevent a transfer of color you can boil the purple and sweet potatoes separately.
- I do not salt the peppers and onions for roasting as the dressing can be rather salty depending on your olives. Salt and pepper at the end, if needed.
- The peppers and onions can be made ahead, so I typically grill them when I have the grill on for other things.
I love the bright beautiful colors in this salad. It is hearty, and delicious too. A perfect side dish, or I had it as a main course!
This is the prettiest potato salad I’ve ever seen! It’s so vibrant/ looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it!
Jessica Formicola says
I love everything about this salad! SO many delicious colors and flavors!
I love potato salad and this is definitely something I can't wait to try. I love that you used different types of potatoes. I bet it taste amazing.
I love the flavor the roasted veggies give this! It might just become my new go-to side dish. Loved it!