Picnic Perfect Recipe for Red and Sweet Potato Salad

I can say that the Fourth of July is my hands-down favorite holiday of the year. It’s smack dab in the middle of summer and everyone is happy. It’s a good-time vibe all day, and usually all weekend when the holiday doesn’t fall on a Wednesday.

Like most Americans, I love the food aspect of these patriotic celebrations. Picnic food has got to be some of the best, but it tends to be some of the worst for us. Just like I had to rethink my go-to beef burgers and swap them for a pretty tasty turkey burger, I had to rethink my sides. Particularly potato salad.

I love potato salad! I used to day dream about that big yellow dollop on my plate. Now I kind of shudder when I see that pail of mayo-mustard mess. I felt like I owed it to myself and my guests to come up with something better, and so I did.

I started with ingredients that I love – red skin potatoes, fresh rosemary, a lemon, a crisp red bell pepper, and a little mustard. And then I added a sweet potato, one of the healthiest foods you can eat. That alone ridded me of some of my guilt. Using fresh, whole ingredients got rid of the rest of it.

The cup or so of mayonnaise was replaced with a single tablespoon and 0% fat Greek yogurt. I also added freshly chopped rosemary and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, which blended well with the paprika and cumin.

While I prepared the dressing the cubed potatoes were set to boil until tender but not falling part. A great nutrition rule is to only eat brightly colored foods, and this potato salad fit the bill. The rich pop of orange from the sweet potatoes and the dusty red of the new potatoes meant I was serving a lot of vitamins and fiber.

Finally, I drained the potatoes and gave them time to cool completely (sitting in an ice bath in the freezer will expedite the process if you’re crunched for time). The potatoes were gently tossed with the dressing and a new potato salad was born!

Even the most adverse to healthy food at our recent picnic were praising this potato salad. It had a very fresh, light flavor that was tangy and naturally sweet thanks to the sweet potatoes and lemon, not added sugars or relish. And it had a bit of a crisp bite thanks to the bright red bell peppers.

Red and Sweet Potato Salad


  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 pound red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 Tbsp low-fat mayo
  • 2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Kosher salt and cracked pepper
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin


1. Add the potatoes to boiling water and cook until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Test with a fork; you want them to be soft and give but not falling apart.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, add all other ingredients to a large bowl to make the dressing.

3. Drain the potatoes and let cool completely, then add to the dressing. Toss thoroughly, folding the potatoes in to the dressing, not stirring to avoid breaking them.


A traditional homemade potato salad has 150 calories and almost 9 grams of fat compared to the 92 calories and .3 grams of fat in our potato salad! That’s a huge savings that allows you to indulge in this summer favorite.

3.7 ounce serving size: 92 calories, .3g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 17mg sodium, 21.1g carbohydrates, 3.1g fiber, 1.1g sugar, 1.8g protein

Also Try These July 4th Recipes:

Red, White, and Blue Sangria

Triple Berry Sparklers

Fourth of July Celebration Cake

Red, White, and Blueberry Turkey Burger Sliders

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burgers


all images by Dana Shultz

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