Nona’s Potato Salad #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on May 17, 2014

Nona's Potato Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

When it comes to food, nothing epitomizes comfort more so than the potato. Whether mashed, hashed, home fried, deep fried, baked with or without obscene amounts of cheesy, creamy goodness, the potato reigns supreme. With picnic and barbecue season just around the corner, potato salads are prime to take center stage. So, when the Sunday Supper Movement teamed up with the Idaho Potato Commission for a potato salad extravaganza, I was all over it. I’m bringing my Nona Mary’s garlicky good potato salad, and when you scroll down below, you’ll find a total of 20 variations of that dish we all adore.


Idaho Potato Logo

In our large, Swiss-Italian family, a gathering with just my first cousins, spouses, and kids put us in the 40+ range. Far too many for a sit-down affair, so it became tradition to have a barbecue at my grandmother’s house, with all the fixin’s. Picnic tables would line the backyard, and my Uncle Joe and later his son, Joseph, would man the pit. My grandmother and aunts would prepare the sides, which almost always consisted of garlic bread, “chili” beans, one of those green/pineapple/cottage cheese jello “salad” concoctions, and Nona Mary’s potato salad.

Nona Mary

This is Nona in her early years, when 19-Teens West Marin was still considered a bit of the “Wild West.”

While it feels like a modern dish, potato salad has actually been around since about the 16th century, when potato salads were simply dressed with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Certainly my mom’s warm Italian green bean and potato salad fits that bill. Potato salad was well on its way to becoming a household staple by the later half of the 19th-century, and early Idaho settlers were already farming thousands of acres devoted to the lovable spud, forever synonymizing the potato with the state of Idaho.

Of course, potatoes are grown in all corners of the world, but the Idaho® potato remains a favorite around here. It must be something in the soil, or maybe it’s the fact that they’re GMO free. Whatever the difference, my personal favorite remains the russet, for its texture and what I consider a superior “potato” taste. This recipe calls for seven to eight spuds, which was the better part of the 5-lb sack the Idaho Potato Commission sent me.

Before we get started, here’s a quick video tutorial on how to evenly dice potatoes, courtesy of the Idaho Potato Commission.

Now let’s get cooking!

Nona's Potato Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

First, you’ll need to wash, peel, and dice the potatoes.  Transfer this to a large pot, along with some kosher salt, and just enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring this to a boil, then cook just until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork.

It’s important to make sure you have an even potato dice so that they cook evenly. Then, just be careful not to over cook (as I often do!)

Nona's Potato Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

I like to rinse the potatoes off with cold water so they stop cooking faster, then let them drain.

Nona's Potato Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Prep the rest of the veggies going into the salad.

Nona's Potato Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl, and toss with the oil and vinegar first. Then add the remaining ingredients all at once, and fold until completely blended.

Be careful not to over mix here, especially if the potatoes are more on the done side, as the stirring will start to mash them!

Nona's Potato Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

If you’re going to a picnic or barbecue, in addition to your serving bowl, bring a bowl one size larger, fill it half way with ice, then nestle your serving bowl inside. This will help keep the potato salad chilled, which is especially important with the mayo.

Nona's Potato Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Or serve it at home with a couple of your favorite spudly friends.

Nona's Potato Salad #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Whether with barbecue or sandwiches, this classic Italian potato salad is a crowd pleaser.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Nona's Potato Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Loaded with garlic and parsley, this Italian twist on the classic potato salad is Nona's favorite.
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8-10
  • 7-8 Idaho® russet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup celery hearts, finely diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper to taste*
  1. Wash and peel the potatoes, then dice into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Transfer to a large pot along with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and just enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring this to a boil over high heat, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork (but are not falling apart).
  3. Drain the potatoes and rinse with cold water to cool. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil and vinegar first, then add the remaining ingredients, and toss until completely blended.
  5. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.
*I probably added about ½ tsp to a full teaspoon of kosher salt at the end


Look at all the beautiful potato salads the rest of the crew has whipped up!

Have a recipe re-inventing breakfast potatoes that you’re itching to share? The Idaho Potato Commission along with the Food & Wine Conference are hosting an Idaho® Potato Recipe Contest, and the grand prize is $500! What are you waiting for? Sign up here before June 17, 2014.

This post is sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission. All opinions are my own.

Additional information about the Idaho Potato Commission can be found on its Web site. You can also find the Idaho Potato Commission on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.


Idaho® Potato Recipe Contest

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Renee May 18, 2014 at 2:49 am

What an awesome photo of Nona! And thanks so much for sharing her recipe. What a treasure to be able to have it here to pass along to future generations.


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers May 18, 2014 at 5:34 am

Yum! Your potato salad looks out of this world! I would love a big bowl of it!


Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) May 18, 2014 at 6:50 am

This is a gorgeous potato salad — grandmas always make the best! Mine made a mayo-based dressing too. I want a huge scoop of this for lunch today!


Constance Smith (@FoodieArmyWife) May 18, 2014 at 7:20 am

Mmmm…this looks like good, creamy potato salad. I’d probably be the first to dive into it at the next cookout! 😀


Hezzi-D May 18, 2014 at 8:29 am

Love the photo of your Nona. This potato salad looks delicious.


The Ninja Baker May 18, 2014 at 9:01 am

Red wine vinegar, mayo and garlic do dress a potato salad very nicely, Anne. But nothing is so nice as a family recipe passed on by a grandmother…My grandma was a bit of a pioneer also and was named Nona =)


Alice // Hip Foodie Mom May 18, 2014 at 9:13 am

Nona Mary’s potato salad looks soooo good! This is how I grew up eating potato salad!


Heather // girlichef May 18, 2014 at 9:30 am

I love that photo…she’s packin’ heat! 😉 And the potato salad sounds fantastic, as well.


Bea May 18, 2014 at 9:31 am

Potato salad perfection! I love the photo of your Nona 🙂


Betsy @ dessertsrequired May 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm

You are right “nothing epitomizes comfort more so than the potato”. This recipe looks amazing!!!


Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons May 18, 2014 at 2:32 pm

I am just loving the adorable photos with the Spuddy Buddy photo bombs. They make me smile! And this potato salad looks just perfect.


Carla May 18, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Nona would be very proud of this recipe! Pass me a bowl please.


susan @ the wimpy vegetarian May 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm

This looks so good – a wonderful old-fashioned potato salad. I live in Marin and loved reading about your grandmother and seeing the photo.


Alida May 18, 2014 at 5:53 pm

That photo of your Nona is priceless, as is her recipe! She would be very proud of you. This potato salad looks absolutely delicious!


Shaina May 18, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Potatoes are one of those classic comfort foods and your potato salad definitely reigns true to that…simple, traditional, and looks beautiful!


Melanie | Melanie Makes May 18, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Love that photo of Nona and how it puts a face to a name for your potato salad!


Nicole @ Or Whatever You Do May 18, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Love this, and I especially love the story behind it. Thanks for sharing!


Susan May 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I love reading your posts! The stories and the photos! Plus what a great recipe, feels like a classic potato salad that I grew up with.


Katie May 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I am with you – potatoes are the ultimate comfort food! And I love that you can have them in cold form in potato salads…this one sounds like a classic (you can’t go wrong!).


Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious May 20, 2014 at 6:02 pm

That Nona of yours…she had some good recipes! And if you ever feel like putting up her recipe for a Jell-O salad type thing, I unabashedly love those, too.


Julie Henriksen June 19, 2014 at 1:43 am

There is nothing more BBQ than a home made potato salad! I’ll try this tonight while the guys grills the meat 🙂


Anne Papina June 19, 2014 at 7:03 am

It’s certainly one of my favorite foods… enjoy!


Tanya July 1, 2014 at 10:23 am

I’m in charge of bringing the potato salad to this years 4th of July BBQ! I think I’ll try this one out. It looks so good and easy to make. Can’t wait to try it 🙂


Anne Papina July 1, 2014 at 11:19 am

It is! I hope your friends and family enjoy it as much as we do!


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