The Powerhouse Ingredients Rachael Ray Uses Instead Of Mayo In Potato Salad

Chef and TV personality Rachael Ray is known for her quick and easy meals that use flavorful ingredients to save time. Her potato salad recipe (per Food Network) is no exception. While many home cooks get bogged down in the mayo versus vinegar dressing debate, Ray forgoes mayo altogether and takes her dish in a different direction with bold add-ins like extra virgin olive oil, horseradish, and white wine vinegar that build in more flavor.

Ray mixes the three star ingredients with sugar, scallions, and celery to create a zippy dressing as the first step for the dish; making the dressing first allows for the flavors to meld as you boil the spuds for the perfect fluffy potato salad. White wine vinegar has a fruity taste without being overbearingly sour, and is perfect for pairing with spicy horseradish and sweet sugar, which balances it all out. 

Her potato salad recipe also uses both the white and green part of the scallions. Doing so provides the crunch of the white parts, without the overwhelming taste that raw onions might add, and the specks of green offer a pop of color and herbaceous flavor. Celery's naturally crisp texture is also welcome to perfectly contrast the soft potatoes.

Ray's other tips for the ultimate potato salad

Rachael Ray also has a few other tricks up her sleeve for her potato salad recipe. First, she boils the spuds in either pork or chicken stock. This infuses them with flavor from the inside out. In the same manner, you could easily swap in your favorite homemade stock or heavily seasoned water to give your potato salad a leg up on taste. Just be sure to use the right potatoes for boiling

Ray also recommends tossing the potatoes into the dressing while the tubers are still warm, as they will absorb the flavors easier than chilled potatoes would. However, this tip works best with oil- and vinegar-based dressings like Ray's; contrarily, when hot potatoes are combined with mayonnaise-based mixtures, it often separates to create a greasy texture.

When you're cutting your potatoes, you'll also want to cube them slightly larger than you want in the finished dish. Once they're boiled and mixed, the pieces will typically lose some of their edges, making them smaller during the process. And, if you're worried about overcooking your potatoes, add in a tablespoon of white vinegar to the boiling liquid. This will give your spuds a firmer exterior and prevent them from becoming waterlogged.

More worthy potato salad mix-ins

In Rachael Ray's potato salad, the dish is finished off by mixing in fresh dill, some crunchy celery seeds, and salt and pepper to taste. But you don't have to stop there. Other ingredients with different textures and colors can help break up the sometimes monotonous mouthfeel and appearance of potato salad, too.

Freshly vegetables are always a welcome addition. Try colorful bell peppers, refreshing cucumbers, thinly sliced radishes, or red onions for a bit of bite. If you're tossing together your potato salad while warm, as Ray does, just keep out any vegetable add-ins that might get too soggy with the heat, such as cucumbers (rather, mix them in once the dish has reached room temperature).

The easiest way to add a boost of flavor to your potato salad is with briny ingredients. A handful of capers or chopped olives can make for an ultra savory final dish. Diced pickles are a fun addition too, but don't limit yourself to just pickled cucumbers. Pickled cauliflower, beets, and even jalapeños can brighten up a basic potato salad.

If you miss the creaminess in Ray's potato salad, there are some simple additions to punch it up. A dollop of sour cream or even unsweetened Greek yogurt creates extra richness along with a tangy flavor. However you aren't restricted to dairy — hummus can be a deliciously creamy mix-in that just so happens to be vegan. Want even more boldness? Try a flavored hummus variety.