This mayo-free Warm Potato Salad is tossed with a flavorful kale pesto and bacon for a unique side dish!

Though I have a place in my heart for a classic cold Potato Salad, potatoes have a much better texture when they’re served warm.

Warm Potato Salad with Kale Pesto and Bacon in Green Bowl 

They retain their fluffy, soft texture and don’t get the mealiness that often happens when you chill potatoes.

While you can certainly prepare a mayo-based potato salad warm, warm mayonnaise dressing is not my favorite.

It’s the perfect time to go with another type of dressing!

This Kale Pesto is absolutely wonderful with the potatoes, and it’s healthy, hearty, and suitable to different types of diets.

And bacon always helps, with all the flavor it adds. Let’s get cooking!

How to Make Warm Potato Salad with Kale Pesto:

To start, cut up a bunch of russet potatoes, then cover with cold water, and bring to a boil:

Russet Potato Chunks in Water in Pot

You may also use red or yukon gold potatoes, if you wish.

While the potatoes cook, it’s time to make the pesto.

How to Make Kale Pesto:

Place some blanched kale leaves into a food processor along with a pinch of salt:

Kale and Salt in the Food Processor

Blend that up, then add your favorite nut for pesto (sometimes I do walnuts or almonds instead of pine nuts), as well as some smashed garlic:

Almond Slices and Garlic Added to Pureed Kale

Blend that up until nicely chopped:

Kale Pesto Grinding in Food Processor Bowl

Add in olive oil, and process until smooth:

Kale Pesto in Food Processor Bowl

At the very end, pulse in some parmigiano reggiano cheese:

Grated Parmesan Cheese Added to Food Processor Bowl

When the potatoes are fork tender, drain them, then immediately toss with the kale pesto while still warm:

Kale Pesto On Top of Cooked Potato in Bowl

This ensures that the potatoes absorb the flavors of the pesto.

Finally, add crispy bacon to the party:

Warm Potato Salad with Bacon - in Green Bowl on Board

It really does tie it together in an essential way.

Here’s a post on How to Cook Bacon in the Oven, which is my preferred method for making big batches of bacon for recipes like this.


Warm Potato Salad with Kale Pesto and Bacon in Green Bowl

Warm Potato Salad with Kale Pesto and Bacon

This mayo-free warm potato salad is tossed with a flavorful kale pesto and bacon for a unique side dish! 

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  • 3 lbs russet potatoes scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • 1 bunch kale leaves blanched*
  • salt
  • 1 cup sliced almonds or pine nuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic smashed
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil**
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 10 strips cooked bacon crumbled


  • Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add a couple large pinches of salt, place over high heat to bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • In the meantime, make the kale pesto. Place the kale leaves in a food processor, and add a big pinch of salt. Process until finely chopped, then add the almonds and garlic. Process until finely chopped. With the machine running, add the olive oil, and mix until incorporated. Finally, pulse in the parmesan cheese. Taste the kale pesto and make any necessary seasoning adjustments.
  • Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain in a colander. Immediately dress the warm potatoes with the kale pesto, and toss in the crumbled bacon. Serve warm. Enjoy!


*I blanch the kale leaves in boiling water for 45-60 seconds, until bright green. This takes the bitterness away and also ensures a bright color.
** Add 1/2 cup of oil for a more traditional pesto consistency.


Calories: 368kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 280mg, Potassium: 891mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 50IU, Vitamin C: 9.7mg, Calcium: 143mg, Iron: 2.3mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Post updated in April 2019. Originally published November 2014.