Mediterranean potato and fava bean salad with arugula and lemon pesto

Over my years as a salad-maker, there has been one vegetable that I’ve continually neglected - the humble potato.

Truth is, I LOVE potatoes. But then again, who doesn’t? It is universally agreed that they are delicious. My kids’ favourite dinner is jacket potato, which I usually fill with black bean chilli and top with melty cheese.

Potato and I haven’t always had such a fractious relationship. My potato famine started during the final weeks of my third pregnancy, when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was put on a low carb, low GI diet in order to control my insulin levels. I had no choice but to divorce bread, pasta and potatoes immediately – citing irreconcilable differences, of course! Lettuce quickly became my best friend. With a family history of diabetes, and a slightly obsessive personality, I committed to a life sans bread, pasta, potatoes and all that other yummy high GI stuff. After the birth of Huck, my insulin levels returned to normal, but my diet didn’t. It took me years to eat any bread other than sourdough. A trip to France restored my faith in white bread. Pasta is now a sometimes-food for me and I’ve since found some excellent gluten-free alternatives to satiate my pasta fantasies. But potatoes, they have actually been the hardest carb to welcome back onto my plate.

This week, potatoes and I are officially reuniting. We are back together and we are delirious about it. To celebrate, I’m feeling pretty damn excited to share with you THE most delicious potato salad recipe I have ever tasted. It’s not my recipe but that of my uber talented friend, Meike Peters of the blog Eat in My Kitchen. This potato salad is the modern way to eat this classic dish, a lighter variation featuring two delicious pestos – one spicy, one zesty – and topped with creamy fava beans. I’m proud to say that this salad is the start of my potato-led Happily Ever After.

This recipe is from Meike Peters's gorgeous new book Eat in My Kitchen. Culturally rich, this book presents fresh and seasonal food that is influenced by Meike’s German roots, along with a modern European attitude and delicious inspirations from her travels in Malta. I'm so looking forward to meeting Meike in-the-flesh when she visits NYC in a couple of weeks to promote her book!


Mediterranean potato and fava bean salad with arugula and lemon pesto

Serves 3-4

For the Arugula Pesto

  • 3 ounces (80g) arugula leaves
  • 1 ounce (30g) freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 ounce (30g) pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup (75ml) olive oil
  • Fine sea salt

For the Lemon Pesto

  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp fine chopped pine nuts

For the salad

  • 21 ounces (600g) scrubbed or peeled waxy potatoes, boiled
  • 7 ounces (200g) shelled and peeled fava beans (about 28 ounces [800g] in pods)
  • sea salt and black pepper

For the arugula pesto, puree the first four ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Season to taste with sea salt.

For the lemon pesto, whisk together the ingredients and use the back of a spoon to press the parmesan into the oil.

Cut the boiled potatoes into thick slices and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the peeled fava beans for about 3 minutes or until al dente. Drain and quickly rinse with cold water.

Arrange the potatoes and fava beans on plates, drizzle with the arugula pesto and the lemon pesto, and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Finish with a sprinkle of freshly grated lemon zest, and serve immediately.

If you have pesto left over, enjoy it with spaghetti or as a spread on toasted bread!