Warm Potato Salad with Kale Pesto & Bacon

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 

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:

This Warm Potato Salad Recipe is quick to make

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 Pesto 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:

Kale Pesto Recipe with Almonds is delicious and healthy

Blend that up until nicely chopped:

Kale Pesto Sauce is perfect for Warm Potato Salad

Add in olive oil, and process until smooth:

Potato Salad No Mayo is Easy and Tasty

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

Potato Salad Without Mayo is unique and really good warm

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

This Potato Salad Recipe No Mayo has an Olive Oil Based Kale Pesto Instead

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

Finally, add crispy bacon to the party:

Warm Potato Salad with Bacon is easy to make!

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.


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5 from 2 votes

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! 
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword warm potato salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 368kcal


  • 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

Post updated in April 2019. Originally published November 2014.