Almonds Are The Crunchy Mix-In To Level Up Potato Salad

Potato salad recipes can vary. Spuds might be peeled and boiled or left as-is and roasted. They can be dressed in decadently creamy dressings or tossed with fresh, zesty vinaigrette. Recipes can also include any number of flavorful add-ins, from diced onions and chopped eggs to spoonfuls of relish and crumbled bacon. Anything goes when making potato salad, so why not add in almonds for some extra crunch?

Almonds are a major asset to potato salad as they can provide a pleasant counter to the smooth and creamy consistency found in many recipes. That said, working with whole almonds is a no-go. Seek out slivered, sliced, or chopped nuts to avoid an unpleasant textural contrast that's hard on the jaw — you could even opt for ground almonds to impart flavor with minimal crunch. However, deciding between blanched or unblanched is up to you, and the same goes for the kind of nut you use. Stick with standard Nonpareil almonds or experiment with other types like a sweet and buttery Marcona.

While the flavor of almonds can range between fruity and earthy, if you've ever tasted a raw, unroasted almond you know that they can be quite neutral. This is why we recommend always toasting your nuts. Unlocking a warm and woodsy quality, toasted or smoked almonds enhance the nuttiness, making them a more impressive addition to potato salad. Likewise, you can also candy or spice them. But, that's not the only way you can elevate almonds for this spud-centric dish.

Unique ways to work almonds into potato salad

When it comes to introducing almonds into potato salad, we suggest getting creative! There's nothing wrong with sprinkling toasted slices of almonds into recipes like a fruity Waldorf-inspired salad or roasted sweet potato and Brussels sprout salad. However, there are so many other interesting ways you could use them.

Sauces are a great way to add almonds to potato salad without detracting from the rest of the ingredients. For example, almond pesto can give the salad a fresh and vibrant twist. Just grind the nuts with your choice of greenery (basil, arugula, mint, or spinach all do the trick), along with garlic, oil, and cheese before using it to dress boiled spuds and green beans. You can also make a thick and chunky romesco sauce by puréeing toasted almonds with roasted tomatoes and red peppers. 

The zesty condiment works wonders when added to a potato salad featuring grilled eggplant and caramelized shallots. In contrast, you could even blitz almonds into a nut butter. Then, simply thin it out before adding it to your spuds. Either stir in a splash of coconut milk to craft a satay-style salad complete with charred veggies and chilis, or whisk the almond butter into a vinaigrette before tossing it with taters, dried cherries, and chopped onions. With such versatility, it's safe to say that almonds deserve a spot in your potato salad. The question is, how will you incorporate them?