IMG_4135This is a dish that is perfect for all of the endless “end-of-school-year” pot luck dinners or for BBQs all summer long: Oven Roasted Potato and Green Bean Salad with Skinny Basil “Pesto.”

Real pesto–which is made with basil and garlic but also loads of oil, nuts and cheese–is delicious…but also very calorie dense. (The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe costs you 430 calories for a 1/2 cup serving.)


IMG_4104But by using more herbs, calorie free lemon juice and Dijon mustard, less cheese and oil and skipping the nuts altogether…this skinny “pesto-ish” dressing has just 120 calories but still packs a flavorful punch and a toothsome texture.

And by using an equal amount of green beans (40 calories a cup) as potatoes (140 calories a cup), you can have the sensation of a pesto potato salad with less than half of the calories!

Even the choice of potatoes–a mix of organic fingerlings, white, red and purple potatoes– makes a healthy difference in this recipe. Purple potatoes, while having about the same calories as russet potatoes, have 4 times the amount of antioxidants and are more effective in regulating blood pressure than regular potatoes.

IMG_4110And almost as important as the nutritional value, is how easy this dish is…

Instead of using fresh beans (which need to be blanched), well thawed frozen haricot vert work just as well, if not better.  And by oven roasting the potatoes and mixing everything together on the baking sheet you skip the mess and clean up involved with traditional potato salads.

So next time you want a potato salad on your summer buffet or to take to a pot luck dinner, try this colorful and skinny alternative… which will save you time, clean up and calories!



1 lb. potatoes (fingerlings, red skinned and purple)

IMG_34771 lb frozen Haricot Vert (also called Petite Green Beans or French Green Beans) well thawed and towel dried.

1/2 c Skinny Basil Pesto (recipe below)


Preheat oven to 425.

Let frozen beans thaw in the bag on the counter for a few hours, rinse in a colander and pat dry.  (If pressed for time, put the frozen ones in a colander, rinse with cool water and pop them in the oven on a separate baking sheet for a few minutes until thawed. But pull IMG_4193them out while still bright green and dry them on paper towels before adding to potatoes!)

Cut the potatoes into quarters or eights so that each piece is about 2 inches.  Spray a non- stick baking sheet with oil, add the potatoes and toss with a liberal amount of salt and pepper.

Roast at 425 for about 25 minutes, flipping with a spatula halfway through so you get some nice browning on at least two sides.

While potatoes are roasting, quickly whirl together your “pesto.”


IMG_41221/2 c (packed) roughly chopped basil leaves

1-2 T chopped garlic  (depending on how much you like garlic!)

2 t olive oil

2 T Dijon mustard (or brown grainy mustard of your choice)

IMG_41262-4 T lemon juice  (It’s a matter of taste. I like more lemon, my kids like less.)

2 T roughly grated Parmesan Cheese

Place all in a food processor and whirl.  (Don’t over-process…You want the herbs finely minced but the Parmesan to still be in tiny chunks to mimic the sensation of nuts.)

IMG_4108When potatoes are done, pull from the oven and use a spatula to flip them so they don’t stick. Pour the “pesto” on top and toss well.

Add the well thawed and towel-dried green beans and toss again.  (If you’ve done the quick method and warmed the beans in the oven to thaw, make sure you towel dry them before adding to the potatoes.)

IMG_4113Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.


If serving dishes with lots of basil at that meal, you can use fresh dill in place of the basil for the “pesto.”

If you’d like to add a vegetarian protein to the dish, boil a few eggs and add some chopped egg whites to the dish. Or shower the dish with a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped nuts. Roasted Marcona Almonds with Rosemary from Trader Joe’s and salted and seasoned pistachios or pine nuts are some of my favorites…


This is one of those dishes that is great as a left over.  If taking a salad to work, or packing lunch for the kids, this holds up beautifully.  Fill a container with salad greens, add a few slices of leftover Buttermilk Herb Chicken with tiny tomatoes, a few potatoes and green beans and you have a delish lunch!

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