In my high school biology class, we did a unit on the human digestive system, and for the unit test, we had to describe the digestive process for various types of foods: fats, carbohydrates, etc. I still remember that test: it read, “Sam eats a spoonful of mayonnaise. Describe how he digests it.” My first thought was, He doesn’t. He barfs it back up because that’s DISGUSTING. I mean, really, how many of you are gagging at the thought?
This is all basically my way of explaining that I’m not a big fan of mayonnaise, and I know I’m in good company. I’m fine with mayo in potato salad as long as there’s more potato than mayo, but nevertheless, I wanted to try out a completely mayo-less potato salad. This jalapeño ranch potato salad uses a homemade ranch dressing* in place of mayo, and I added some pureed jalapeños to the dressing to spice things up a bit. I removed the seeds from the jalapeños, but if you’re craving something picante, feel free to include them! This isn’t your classic American potato salad (if that’s what you’re looking for, I’ve got you covered!), but it’s damn tasty: with tangy homemade ranch, sweet corn, and smoky bacon, you really can’t go wrong!
* I originally wanted to use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in the dressing, but I ruined all of the yogurt in a ranch dressing experiment that went so awry that one whiff could have cleared your sinuses. Luckily, I had some sour cream on hand, so that’s what I used in my second, far more successful attempt. If you try this with Greek yogurt, let me know how it goes!
- 3 pounds gold or yellow potatoes
- 6 ounces bacon (I use turkey bacon)
- 1 cup corn
- 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 cup low fat sour cream
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 jalapeños
- Place the potatoes in a large pot and fill the pot with water (there should be about 1 1/2 inches of water above the tops of the potatoes). Bring the water to a boil. Once it boils, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a knife.
- While the potatoes are cooking, fry the bacon until crispy. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.
- Prepare the jalapeño ranch: in a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, milk, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Take 2 jalapeños and chop them roughly (include as many or as few seeds as you like), then place them in a food processor and pulse until they resemble a coarse “sauce.” Stir this “sauce” into the sour cream mixture.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a large bowl of ice water. Once they are cool enough to touch, peel off the skins with your fingers. Cut the peeled potatoes into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
- Add the jalapeño ranch to the potatoes and stir until the potatoes are coated. Add the bacon, corn, and the remaining 1 jalapeño (finely chopped), along with the remaining ingredients: chives, red wine vinegar, salt, seasoned salt, paprika, and chili powder. Stir until combined. Refrigerate the potato salad until you are ready to serve it. Note: I recommend letting the potato salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours before serving, to let the flavors mingle.
- I slightly overcooked the potatoes when I made the batch pictured, so when I mixed everything together, small pieces broke off and took on the consistency of mashed potatoes, making the salad creamier overall. If you’d like to replicate this (I found that I liked it quite a bit), I suggest crushing a few of the cooked potatoes with a wooden spoon.