Side Dish

Beet and Potato Salad

beet salad

Over the summer, my family was on a vacation to Puerto Vallarta. Upon our first afternoon relaxing between the Pacific Ocean and the pool, we were contemplating lunch. We were at an all inclusive so I knew there would be an abundance of good food and good drink. Then we noticed on the bridgetop they were starting to grill. So, not to be food shy, I found my way over to see what deliciousness I was going to find. I discovered they were grilling fresh fish or beef tacos and they had some great sides like rice with carrots and corn and a pink salad. Pink salad, what? So of course I scooped that onto my plate to try.

After one bite and I was already strategizing my second helping. So I quickly started dissecting the salad. Here was what I could identify before I hit up the Google: potatoes, peas, boiled egg, onion, mayonnaise. I have zero experience eating beets, but from what I have been exposed to either watching cooking shows or IG photos, I could make a good guess that the beautiful magenta cube was a beet and the beet is also what gives the salad such a beautiful pink hue.

So now I wanted to know what else was in this dish and how I can recreate it. So I typed in the search box (don’t laugh) ‘Pink Salad’. Hey, did I tell you it was 90° and nearly 90% humidity? And I had a few ‘pool drinks’ by now. But guess what I was led to a few recipes that were very similar to what I was eating.  So I book marked those and went on to my relaxing vacation.

When I got home I went to the store and made my very first Beet purchase.  I worked with different variations of additions (and deletions – buh bye onions!).  I played around with the dressing until I liked what I tasted (and got positive feedback).

The taste slightly reminded me of a favorite salad I make called pea salad which is mostly green peas, cheese, bacon, water chestnuts all mixed with a mayo/sugar dressing.  I wanted to bring a little of this flavor to this new (to me) salad, so I thought I would add in water chestnuts. The crunchy and sweetness of the water chestnuts just compliments the sweet, earthy flavor so well.

It’s late September as I write this and we just got back from a local farm where I was able to find a late harvest of beets.  I picked up a bunch and am planning a similar salad, but changing up the ingredients to make it a little more of fall and Oktoberfest flavors.  Check your are when local beets are in season.

Panamanian Style Beet and Potato Salad

Prepare your beets by peeling 2 large red beets while a pot of water is set to boil. When water starts to boil, reduce heat and add beets.  Simmer for 40 minutes.  Check after 30 minutes with a sharp knife. Slightly pierce beet; beet is done with knife easily slips into beet.


While the beets are simmering, peel and dice your potatoes. In a small sauce pan, add enough water that will eventually cover diced potatoes.  Add salt and bring to boil.  Once water is boiling, add diced potatoes.  These will quickly cook up in 2 – 3 minutes since they are so nicely diced.

Meanwhile, begin to dice your carrots, celery, the water chestnuts and if you insist, your red onion!

Here is a little tip I enjoy: When using frozen peas in a salad, place amount (in this case 1/2 cup) into a large colander.  Once potatoes (sometimes it’s pasta) is cooked, pour into prepared colander.  The hot water and now cooked food will quickly thaw out the peas!

Mix yogurt, lemon juice and vinegar in small bowl.  In a large bowl, mix potatoes, beets and veggies. Scoop the mixture on top and with a rubber spatula, gently fold mixture into salad.  Chop some cilantro or parsely and sprinkle on top.

beet salad

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours and until ready to serve.

Beet and Potato Salad

Print Recipe


  • 2 large beets, peeled, boiled and diced
  • 1 pound of potatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen petite peas
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion, *if desired
  • 1/4 cup diced water chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (or mayo, sour cream or any combo)
  • 1 TBSP red cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (or parsley, depending on your taste)

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