Michael Natkin's Potato and Green Bean Salad with Arugula Pesto

Michael Natkin's Potato and Green Bean Salad with Arugula Pesto

The following recipe is from the May 23 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!

[Photograph: Michael Natkin]

It is officially potato salad season. And while we're all for the all-American mayo dressed version, sometimes we like to mix up our picnics and barbecues with something a little different. Adapted from Michael Natkin's Herbivoracious, this Potato and Green Bean Salad with Arugula Pesto is gorgeous and green, with snappy green beans and tender new potatoes tossed in a peppery pesto.

It's one of those great warm weather sides that feels exactly the way it should: bright, sunny, and satisfying without being overly heavy. And it's that lightness that makes it the ideal accompaniment for a day full of meaty grillables.

What Worked: Not your average potato salad, this one dresses up new potatoes and green beans with a bright, lightly peppery arugula pesto, and it tastes like summer.

What Didn't: Nada, this potato salad is a keeper.

Suggested Tweaks: We're going to make a double batch of the arugula pesto next time to keep on hand for saucing pasta.

Reprinted with permission from Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin. Copyright © 2012. Published by Harvard Common Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:1 hour


  • For the vegetables:
  • 1 pound small, waxy potatoes, such as red-skinned
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved
  • For the arugula pesto:
  • 2 ounces baby arugula (about 3 cups loosely packed leaves)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (use the larger amount if you are a garlic lover)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ounce Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • To complete the salad:
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces (optional)


  1. 1.

    For the vegetables: Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold water with the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. When the potatoes are fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes (depending on size), transfer them to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the green beans to the water and boil for 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer the green beans to a separate bowl. Rinse both vegetables in cold water until cool; drain well. Cut the potatoes in half if they are much larger than bite-size. Set aside.

  2. 2.

    For the arugula pesto: Combine the arugula, mint, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cheese in a mini food processor. Process until the mixture forms a fairly smooth paste with some texture left. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender, or a regular blender if you make a double batch. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

  3. 3.

    To complete the salad: Toss the potatoes and green beans with the arugula pesto, several grinds of black pepper, and the walnut pieces, if using. Taste, add more salt if needed, and serve.