An herbed potato salad makes for a diet-friendly meal at gatherings. (Betsy Wharton/for Peninsula Daily News)

PENINSULA KITCHEN: A salad for all dietary needs

AS THE YOUNGEST of my offspring prepares to fly off into adulthood, there have been a lot of celebratory events this month: last concert, last athletic event, prom and finally graduation with the flurry of parties that goes along with it.

Everyone is celebrating all the time and there has been the need for simple buffet-style dishes that are easy to prepare, safe to set out on a buffet table and appealing to many if not all.

In my household, we are true omnivores, able to digest just about anything put in front of us, but the number of people I know with food allergies seems to grow every year.

For those who are sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat and many other grains, a buffet table loaded with hamburger buns, pasta salad and cookies can be like navigating a landmine.

Here is a recipe for all of your summer events.

I will be using this recipe this weekend as family arrives to ensure that everyone can enjoy the celebration.

Not only is it free of gluten, dairy, sugar, meat and preservatives, but it also is easy to make, seasonally flexible, safe at room temperature and absolutely delicious.

Herbed potato salad

2 pounds thin skinned potatoes, red or white, cleaned and cut into slices

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup parsley or a mixture of spring herbs, chopped

1/3 cup green onions also chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons brown mustard

2 cloves garlic minced

Fresh black pepper

Optional: chopped seasonal vegetables and fruits (may include cucumber, radish, tomato, celery, snap peas, kale, strawberries or anything you like that is generally eaten raw in salads).

In a large pot, place potatoes and salt and enough water to cover.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer for about five to six minutes until potatoes are tender (easy to pierce with the tip of a knife) being careful not to over cook.

Reserving ¼ cup of the starchy water, drain and transfer potatoes to a large bowl.

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, brown mustard, minced garlic cloves and the reserved cooking water and whisk vigorously, or use a blender if you prefer.

The small amount of starchy water will help to emulsify the dressing to make a more creamy dressing that is not prone to separating.

Add as much as 2 cups of additional chopped fruits and veggies to the dressing.

Drizzle over the potatoes and gently combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Allow the mixture to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend.

This salad keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple of days so you can make this a day or two ahead of schedule.

And because there is no mayonnaise or eggs, feel free to enjoy the leftovers after your company leaves.

________

Betsy Wharton is a Port Angeles Farmers Market vendor, Washington State University Extension food preservation information assistant and a registered nurse at First Step Family Support Center. More about her pickling enterprise can be found at www.Clallam CanningCompany.com.

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