The Unexpected Swap To Make Potato Salad In Half The Time

Creamy, comforting, and perfect for every occasion from barbecues to picnics, everyone loves a potato salad. And it's a dish that has almost limitless variations. You can keep things simple with mayo and herbs, add chopped hard-boiled eggs or crunchy celery, or trade mayo for a boozy substitution with Ina Garten's French potato salad, which transforms the dish with a splash of dry white wine.

But there's no getting away from the fact that making a potato salad takes time and effort. The potatoes need peeling, boiling, chopping, and cooling, and that's before you even get to assemble the actual dish. Even the best basic potato salad recipe is time-consuming. Luckily, there is a much quicker way to make a potato salad, and it doesn't involve any peeling or chopping of potatoes at all. It just involves a clever ingredient swap, replacing the traditional potatoes with gnocchi.

Smooth and pillowy, potato gnocchi makes a great base for a potato salad, which can be leveled up with a number of different dressings and ingredients. And even better, it's a fast shortcut that makes the whole process much quicker as well as easier.

Gnocchi potato salad is quick to make, with great texture

Made predominantly from mashed potatoes with a little flour, potato gnocchi have a plump yet slightly squishy texture that makes them a great ingredient switch in a potato salad. They're soft and springy enough to give just the right amount of chewiness, plus they retain their shape when cooked and hold a dressing well.

While making your own potato gnocchi from scratch is not especially tricky — you can even make easy gnocchi with just two ingredients — using store-bought is, of course, much faster when it comes to making a speedy potato salad. Plus it means you don't need to prep and cook the potatoes; you can just get going straight away with a packet of ready-made potato gnocchi.

Cooking potato gnocchi in a pan of salted water takes just a few minutes, with the little dumplings floating to the top once they're ready. Then, you can drain and rinse them while you make the dressing. They work equally well with a mayo or an oil and vinegar-based dressing. And, like a traditional potato salad, you can easily elevate the dish with just a few additional ingredients.

Take gnocchi potato salad to the next level

When making a potato gnocchi salad, the easiest way to add a new dimension of flavor is to switch up the dressing. Try stirring in some pesto for a tasty Italian twist, or add hot sauce, dill pickle, and bell pepper for a spicy, crunchy treat. If you've got a bit of extra time and fancy more textural contrast, try sauteing or roasting the potato gnocchi rather than boiling, for a firmer, slightly crispy texture. 

Or try adding different ingredients for a new take on the dish. Mixing the cooked, cooled gnocchi with chopped tomatoes, torn fresh basil, and creamy fresh mozzarella gives a caprese-style gnocchi potato salad. Give the gnocchi potato salad a Greek flavor with tangy feta cheese, salty olives, and a squeeze of zesty lemon. Or go German-style with bacon, onions, and a mustardy dressing.

You could even mix up the gnocchi, opting for gnocchi made with kale, sweet potato, or ricotta, for a variety of tastes, colors, and textures. But however you choose to make the salad, switching to gnocchi is a winning swap. Like a cross between a potato salad and a pasta salad, it essentially takes two classic dishes and makes them an entirely new one. And you don't need to tell anyone just how quick and easy it was.