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Pesto potato salad is a delightful twist on the traditional dish, combining earthy and comforting flavors. The delicious combination of roasted rosemary potatoes with vibrant fresh basil pesto, creamy goat cheese, crunchy pecans, and sweet cherry tomatoes creates the most satisfying dish to add to your go-to summer salads. 

​My family has been enjoying this salad for many years, and we never tire of it! It tastes incredible, is so easy to make, and, if I am being honest, it just looks beautiful! It also tastes just as good the next day, making it great to make ahead. That is also why it is one of my go-to side dishes when we host dinner or salads to bring to a potluck! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

pesto potato salad in an antique bowl on a cutting board in

Why We Love This Recipe

Ok… where do I start! This pesto potato salad recipe uses roasted rosemary potatoes, which provide a crispy and hearty base and add a touch of aromatic flavor. Rosemary potatoes paired with a generous dollop of pesto, well, the two meld seamlessly, creating the most mouth-watering taste.

Oh and it’s healthy! Yup you read it, this salad uses healthy ingredients. This healthy potato salad uses roasted potatoes which are a great source of carbohydrates for energy, while pesto adds a boost of flavor without excessive calories. Goat cheese serves as a rich, calcium-packed addition and pairs well with the dish’s other flavors. Pecans provide protein and healthy fats, and cherry tomatoes contain vitamin C.

It is also SO easy to make, is the perfect side dish, and tastes fantastic the next day. It can be whipped up quickly with just a few simple ingredients, making it ideal for summer cookouts! The versatility and ability to customize the flavors with different varieties of pesto or by incorporating additional elements also make it one of our absolute favorites.

Lastly, it just tastes amazing! The flavorful combination of this easy pesto potato salad’s ingredients is hard to resist. Savory roasted rosemary potatoes blend seamlessly with the herby, garlicky flavor of the pesto. Balanced by the tangy goat cheese and the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, every bite bursts with flavor.

pesto potato salad

Ingredient Substitutes

 When making a pesto potato salad, several ingredient substitutes can be used to cater to different dietary restrictions or preferences. I have been making this delicious salad for many years, and each time I make it, I change up the recipe to include whatever I have in the fridge at the time. The following alternatives can help personalize your pesto potato salad while keeping the essence of its flavors.

  • Try replacing goat cheese with feta cheese, blue cheese, or parmesan cheese. These options will still give the dish a tangy and savory touch.
  •  Walnuts are an excellent substitute for pecans. They will provide a similar crunch and nutty flavor, making a perfect choice for adding texture and taste to your pesto potato salad.
  •  If you’d like to experiment with the vegetables in the salad, add bite-size chopped red pepper or colorful bell peppers instead of cherry tomatoes. They can bring the dish a bright, crunchy, and slightly sweet dimension.
  •  You could switch out the basil pesto with a parsley pesto or even try a spinach pesto. Arugula pesto would be delicious too!
ingredients to make pesto potato salad

How to Make Pesto Potato Salad

Equipment

Ingredients

For the Potato Salad

  • 1.5 lbs of potatoes, bite-size pieces, or baby potatoes halved.
  •  1/2 cup basil pesto, Homemade pesto (try my basil pesto recipe) is best, but store-bought pesto will work.
  •  1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  •  1/4 cup goat cheese, chunked
  •  1/4 cup pecans, raw
  •  1/2 tsp kosher salt
  •  1/4 tsp black pepper
  •  Optional: basil for garnish

For Fresh Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 fresh lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

Roast The Potatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). 
  2.  Begin by thoroughly washing your potatoes. Once clean, cut them into 1-inch cubes or halves if you use baby potatoes, which I recommend. 
cutting potatoes to make pesto potato salad
  1.  Place the potatoes into a large bowl and toss with olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper.
baby potatoes ready to be roasted for pesto potato salad
  1.  Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet or stone baking tray (recommended) and lightly cover with oil to ensure the potatoes don’t stick. Layer the potatoes on the baking tray in a single layer to ensure they roast evenly. Cook until they are fork-tender, browned, and crispy on the outside. It takes approximately 35 minutes or so. 
transferring baby potatoes to a baking tray to roast

Prepare The Pesto

  1. If you are using premade pesto, then disregard the next steps. If you are going to try making pesto at home, use my fresh basil pesto recipe.
  1. While the potatoes are baking, prepare the pesto by combining the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and grated parmesan in a food processor if you are making it from scratch. Blend until finely chopped. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the processor is running. Blend until smooth, and set aside.
  2.  When the potatoes are fully cooked, remove the baking tray from the oven and allow the potatoes to cool completely.

Mix The Salad

roasted baby potatoes on a baking tray to make pesto potato salad with toasted pecans and a lemon.
  1. Once the potatoes are cooled, drain them thoroughly and place them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the prepared pesto, cherry tomatoes, and pecans together in the bowl with the potatoes. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning as desired.
toasted pecans, cherry tomatoes that are yellow and red and roasted baby potatoes to make pesto potatoe salad
  1. Gently fold in the pesto mixture until the potatoes are evenly coated. 
adding pesto to make pesto potato salad
  1. Add the goat cheese. Keep your cheese in large clumps to keep the added texture and flavor.
adding goat cheese to pesto potato salad
  1. Garnish your pesto potato salad with a dollop of pesto and some fresh basil if desired. This dish is perfect for a summer BBQ or a savory side dish at any gathering. Enjoy!

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Tips and Tricks

When making a pesto potato salad, there are key tips and tricks to follow. 

  • Use fresh basil leaves if you are making the pesto from scratch! Find fresh basil at any local grocery store or farmers market.
  •  Be sure to roast the potatoes in an extra hot oven, around 400°F (200°C), to ensure they develop a crispy exterior and tender interior. If you have an air fryer, try roasting them in there for an extra crispy variation.
  •  Place the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet for even roasting.
  •  To further enhance the flavor of your salad, consider grilling the cherry tomatoes. Follow my smoked tomato recipe or place them on skewers or in a grill basket to avoid losing them between the grates. Grilling gives the tomatoes a delicious smoky taste that pairs beautifully with the pesto. You could try sundried tomatoes too!
  •  Try adding toasted pecans to provide it with a delightful, nutty flavor. Toast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until fragrant, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Cool them down before mixing them into the pesto salad.
  •  When assembling the salad, toss the warm potatoes with the pesto dressing while still warm. It will allow the flavors to meld together better and ensures that each bite is bursting with taste.
  •  Consider garnishing your pesto potato salad with nutritional yeast or fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or chives. The spices add color and freshness to the dish, making it even more visually appealing, and the nutritional yeast will give you the best flavor!
pesto potato salad with Caprese baked chicken on a stoneware plate

How to Store

If you have leftover pesto potato salad, don’t worry! It tastes almost better the next day! Sometimes I make extras of this one to have it the day after!

For short-term storage, place the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The salad will keep well for up to five days when refrigerated. Allow the salad to cool to room temperature and do not leave it out for more than two hours, as this will encourage bacteria growth and spoilage.

If you intend to store the salad longer, consider freezing it. Place the airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Remember that some ingredients’ textures, such as cherry tomatoes and goat cheese, may change slightly upon thawing. To maintain the salad’s original texture and taste, add these ingredients after thawing the frozen salad.

Frequently Asked

What is pesto potato salad?

Pesto potato salad is a flavorful dish that combines roasted potatoes with pesto sauce, goat cheese, pecans, and cherry tomatoes. It’s a delicious alternative to traditional potato salad and can be enjoyed at picnics, potlucks, or as a side dish for dinner.

How do you make pesto potato salad?

Roast the potatoes: Toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then spread them out on a baking sheet. Roast at 400°F (200°C) for 30-40 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
Prepare the pesto: Combine basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine the roasted potatoes, pesto sauce, goat cheese, pecans, and cherry tomatoes. Toss gently to evenly coat the potatoes and ingredients.

Can you make pesto potato salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can make pesto potato salad ahead of time. Roast the potatoes and prepare the pesto the night before or a few hours before serving. Keep them refrigerated separately. Assemble the salad just before serving to maintain the freshness and texture of the ingredients.

Can pesto potato salad be served warm or cold?

Pesto potato salad can be served warm or cold. If you prefer it warm, assemble the salad right after roasting the potatoes. For a cold salad, allow the roasted potatoes to cool completely before combining with the other ingredients.

Are there any common substitutions for ingredients in pesto potato salad?

Goat cheese can be replaced with feta cheese or blue cheese.
Pecans can be substituted with walnuts, almonds, or other nuts of your choice.
If you’re not a fan of cherry tomatoes, try diced red or yellow bell peppers, steamed green beans, or grilled asparagus.
To make it vegan or dairy-free, use a dairy-free cheese alternative and a vegan pesto sauce made without Parmesan cheese.

More Easy Salads

I would love to hear if you try this salad, be sure to rate it below and leave me a comment as well. Don’t forget to pin this one for later.

pesto potato salad in an antique bowl on a cutting board in

Pesto Potato Salad (Healthy and Easy)

The delicious combination of roasted rosemary potatoes with vibrant fresh basil pesto, creamy goat cheese, crunchy pecans, and sweet cherry tomatoes creates the most satisfying dish to add to your go-to summer salads. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: food & recipes, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caprese salad, how to make pesto potato salad, pesto potato salad, pesto recipe, potato salad
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 222kcal
Cost: 15

Equipment

  • 1 Baking tray or stone cooking sheet
  • 1 Large mixing bowl
  • 1 Sharp Chef's Knife

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs potatoes bite-size pieces, or baby potatoes halved. 
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto Homemade pesto is best, but store-bought pesto will work. 
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese chunked
  • 1/4 cup pecans toasted
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Pesto

  • 2 cups basil fresh
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic whole cloves
  • 1 lemon fresh (zest and juice)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

Roast The Rosemary Potatoes

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).  
  • Begin by thoroughly washing your potatoes. Once clean, cut them into 1-inch cubes or halves if you use baby potatoes, which I recommend. 
    cutting potatoes to make pesto potato salad
  • Place the potatoes into a large bowl and toss with olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper.
    baby potatoes ready to be roasted for pesto potato salad

Prepare The Basil Pesto

  • If you are using premade pesto, then disregard the next steps. If you are going to try making pesto at home, use my fresh basil pesto recipe.
    pesto prepared in a food processor by scratch
  • While the potatoes are baking, prepare the pesto by combining the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and grated parmesan in a food processor if you are making it from scratch. Blend until finely chopped. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the processor is running. Blend until smooth, and set aside.
    basil pest recipe
  • When the potatoes are fully cooked, remove the baking tray from the oven and allow the potatoes to cool completely.
    roasted baby potatoes on a baking tray to make pesto potato salad with toasted pecans and a lemon.

Mix The Salad

  • Once the potatoes are cooled, drain them thoroughly and place them in a large bowl.
    toasted pecans, cherry tomatoes that are yellow and red and roasted baby potatoes to make pesto potatoe salad
  • Add the prepared pesto, cherry tomatoes, and pecans together in the bowl with the potatoes. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning as desired.
  • Gently fold in the pesto mixture until the potatoes are evenly coated. 
    adding pesto to make pesto potato salad
  •  Add the goat cheese. Keep your cheese in large clumps to keep the added texture and flavor.
    adding goat cheese to pesto potato salad
  •  Garnish your pesto potato salad with a dollop of pesto and some fresh basil if desired. This dish is perfect for a summer BBQ or a savory side dish at any gathering. Enjoy!
    pesto potato salad in an antique bowl on a cutting board in

Notes

  • Be sure to roast the potatoes in an extra hot oven, around 400°F (200°C), to ensure they develop a crispy exterior and tender interior.
  • Place the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet for even roasting.
  • Try substituting other nuts for the pecans, like walnuts or pine nuts.
  • Toast the pecans for a lovely flavor option

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 429mg | Potassium: 511mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 550IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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