I eat a lot more salads in the summer, even when the weather is bleugh. 
Sometimes we have a salad like this smashed potato salad or a pasta salad for dinner (like we did last night), for lunch it might be a couscous salad and at other meals you will often find salad on the side. 

In fact I think we eat more salad vegetables than any other type at this time of year. Salads are so quick and easy and a lot less cooking too.

Best Summer Pasta Salad
This smashed potato salad came about after I got a new grill. My George Foreman grill died and instead of splashing out on another one, I got a much cheaper and smaller grill and it was pretty useless. When I was making toasties I had to stand a can on top of it for some extra weight so the toasties would brown and they were still disappointing. Luckily my next grill was much more substantial and had more weight to it.

You get what you pay for

Do you ever do that? Go for a cheaper option when one of your kitchen gadgets dies and instantly regret it? 

I should have known better than to buy cheap. You would think I had learned that lesson over the years. I’d hate to add up the money I have wasted buying a bargain.

Seriously, when you buy kitchen gadgets you need to spend a bit of money if you want something that will do the job well. I have wasted money on cheap blenders, bread makers, grills and even handheld hoovers and I now know the truth that buying cheap is not a saving but a waste of money. I recently made the same mistake with the aforementioned hand held hoover. 

Will I ever learn?

My recommendations

  1. Blender – Optimum 9400  (a powerful beast with a hand dial for extra precision and a small jug for things like pesto, hummus and nut butters)
  2. Bread MakerSage Custom Loaf Pro (easy to use, lots of settings, a dispenser for adding nuts, seeds and fruit during proving and no big whole in the bottom of the bread. Oh and the loaves are easy to remove.)
  3. GrillTefal Optigrill + (It has a good weight to it, different temperatures, is easy to use and the plates pop off to wash in the dishwasher.)
  4. Handheld HooverDyson  (choose any of them, they are powerful, hold a good charge, are easy to clean with no bags. Just don’t throw yours away if it dies, apparently the repair them. Wish I’d known that!)
Smashed Potato Salad with Dairy-Free Pesto Dressing

Back to the recipe

Well I totally got distracted from my recipe with my little rant there, didn’t I? This didn’t start out as a sales post, but some things really irritate me!

So back to the salad. After grilling vegetables in my new grill, I had the idea for smashed potatoes. I lightly boiled potatoes, then popped them into my grill and pressed down with the lid, effectively smooshing them. The outside was crisp with those pleasing grilled stripes, but I used no oil so lower fat and calorie than roast potatoes. Now lets face it, you can’t beat roast potatoes, but these make a quicker and healthier substitute and turned my salad into a more substantial meal.

I also grilled some sliced carrot and courgette, teamed it with fresh salad and  dressed it with some pesto that was thinned down with a little olive oil. 


print recipe

Smashed Potato Salad with Pesto Dressing.

Smashed Potato Salad with Pesto Dressing

A grilled potato salad with grilled vegetables and fresh salad, dressed with dairy-free pesto dressing.


  • 6 baby potatoes (not the teeny ones), boiled or steamed until cooked but firm
  • 1 small courgettes, sliced
  • ½ medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 100g salad leaves
  • ¼ cucumber, sliced
  • 6 tbsp dairy-free pesto (or your favourite pesto)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a good grinding of black pepper


1. Heat your grill. 2. Grill the carrot and courgette slices until soft and set aside. 3. Next grill the potatoes, pressing down on the grill to smoosh the potatoes.4. While the potatoes are grilling, fill two plates with salad leaves, then top with cucumber and the grilled vegetables.5. Mix the pesto with the olive oil and season with pepper.6. Add the grilled potatoes to the salad and drizzle with the dressing.7.Enjoy!


Total time:
Yield: Makes 2 main course salads


Smashed Potato Salad with Pesto Dressing

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